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Kentucky Bob

Pinole and Pemmican

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I was leafing through an old copy of "The Backwoodsman" magazine, and I found recipes for both pinole and pemmican.

 

Pinole, A.K.A. "Cold flour" or "coal flour," is made by parching  whole kernel corn, wheat, rye, or any of several cereal grains until the kernels swell and burst.  Using corn as an example, after the corn is parched the kernels are ground into a fine flour.  This can be bagged up and stored indefinitely.  You could add cinnamon or brown sugar for flavor, but these can settle out over time, so they could also be carried separately and mixed just before use.  From the accounts I've read, a single gallon-size freezer bag should be enough pinole to last the biggest part of a month.

 

Pinole can be consumed several different ways.  A drink can be made by adding two teaspoons or healthy pinches to a cup of water, mix it in and drink.  Second, a thick porridge can be made by boiling the pinole, which will thicken rapidly (pinole will expand when rehydrated).  It was also documented that native Americans would place a couple of pinches of pinole in their mouths and rinse it down with a couple of swallows of water.  The pinole will expand in your stomach, so it would be wise to use caution (the advantage of this method is that you can eat on the trail).

 

Pemmican (from the Cree word pi-mi-k-han, which roughly translated means "manufactured grease")  is harder to make than pinole.  A basic recipe would begin with the following:

 

1 lb jerky (your choice of species)

1/4 lb dried fruit (your choice, whatever kinds you like)

1/4 lb nuts

enough lard or vegetable shortening to cover the ingredients (a rule of thumb is to use 1.5 lbs of lard/shortening for every pound of jerky)

salt, pepper, or whatever spice you like, to taste

 

Begin by pulverizing the jerky into as small as pieces as you can or desire.  Original recipes state that the jerky was pounded into flour, but the author of the artcle stated that he didn't take it that far.  Grind the fruit and nuts, and then add everything together in a bowl.  Next, melt the grease until it's all liquid, but don't overheat to the point of actually cooking which could cause the grease to scorch.  After it has melted, allow it to cool until it just starts congealing.  When congealing begins, add as much of the jerky/fruit/nut mixture to the grease as it will absorb.  When the grease won't take anymore of the mix, and has cooled a little more, pour the mix into molds lined with wax paper to shape and cool (shape and size will depend on the type of container you have handy).  When the block is fully cooled, salt or pepper to taste.  The blocks should be placed in a cool, dry place to dry thoroughly, usually 5-6 days.  After they've dried, wrap them in wax paper and seal in a freezer bag, or vacuum seal them.  You could freeze it as well, but it's said that it isn't necessary.  Most reports state that the pemmican will last about 8 months if not exposed to heat or direct sunlight.

 

There are several ways to eat pemmican.  One is as a soup or stew called "rubbaboo" which is a lump of pemmican chopped off and dropped into boiling water, to which flour and whatever is at hand may be added.  Frying pemmican in its own fat results in what is called "rosseau", "rechaud" or "richot".  Flour or vegetables could be added for flavor.  The third method is to eat it "raw", a slow process since it dries extremely hard, but if you are on the move...   

 

Experimentation should be interesting, and I can just see the look on the wife's face when I give this a try!  :dontgetit:

 

 

By the way, here's a link to "The Backwoodsman"    www.backwoodsmanmag.com

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