Pemmican is a food stuff that has been used on polar expeditions for hundreds of years. The name ‘pemmican’ originally comes from a Cree (a Native American people) word for rendered fat. The aim of this activity is to understand that Arctic explorers’ food stuffs need to be light and full of energy.
Pemmican is a high-energy, highly nutritious food, and also very easy to carry. It has been the ideal food for Native American scouts, 18th Century fur traders and polar explorers.
Traditionally, pemmican is a combination of dried meat, dried fruit and fat (typically from a cow or bison). In recent years, vegetarian and non-fat based variations have been developed.
The amounts have been listed in proportions, so you can make the amount you need, depending on whether you are heading out into the wild or just want to have a small taste.
If you would like to try an alternative Arctic meal, or you are having trouble sourcing some of the ingredients for pemmican, you can try a polar sandwich. Simply take two hard biscuits, between which spread a 2cm thick layer of peanut butter and a 1cm thick layer of butter or similar spread. This will provide plenty of energy for your expeditions.
To learn more about food on polar expeditions, try the full lesson for ages 7-11, How do you eat like an Arctic Explorer?
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Cross-curricular | Ages 7-11
Based on journeys undertaken by real explorers and scientists, the Frozen Oceans (Primary) education programme is designed to introduce students to what life is like in the High Arctic.