How Long Does Pemmican Last (GUIDE)

In today’s age of excess, we are almost pampered with an array of goods and services readily available at our doorsteps. From supercars to designer shoes, from lavish mansions to gourmet food… Anything your heart desires can be yours in a blink of an eye, if you have the money to pay for it.

However, if and when SHTF, the situation will be completely different. The malls will close down, the supermarkets will shut their doors, and even meeting the basic needs for your survival, like finding food can become a mammoth task.

In these situations, pemmican, a superfood with an unusually long shelf life can be your best friend.

Do you know how long does pemmican last? Keep reading to find out.

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Last update on 2023-03-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Is Pemmican?

The word pemmican comes from the Cree word pimikan which literally means manufactured grease.

Pemmican is primarily made with ground up dried meat, mixed with an equal amount of rendered animal fat. It usually contains some type of dried berries like cranberries or saskatoon berries for added sweetness and flavors. The dense, concentrated mixture is then stored for future use.

Pemmican has been used as a survival food for many years. In fact, British army troops were given pemmican as ration during the Second Boer War (1899-1902).

This age old ‘protein bar’ was invented by the native people of North America many centuries ago. Traditionally, the Native Americans used bison or elk meat to make their pemmican. However, dried beef is the choice of meat for modern day pemmican. It has all the necessary nutrients to keep your body up and running for a long period of time.

As pemmican is made with mostly dried meat and animal fat, it has a really long shelf life which makes it the ultimate survival superfood.

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How Long Does Pemmican Last?

The shelf life of pemmican is an issue which is up to debate. There are many who claim that pemmican can be stored for decades. Others are not as hopeful and argue that the shelf life of pemmican can vary from a few weeks to a few years.

Although the precise shelf life of modern day pemmican is not specified, you can get an idea by looking at its ingredients.

The main ingredient in pemmican is ground up dried beef. Dried beef has a pretty long shelf life depending on the storing conditions – it can be perfectly stored for more than 20 years in the freezer. However, when SHTF, electricity will most likely be out of the equation. During your survival years, you can expect dried beef to last for 3 to 5 years at room temperature.

The next main ingredient in pemmican is animal fat, which is almost equal to the amount of dried meat present in it. Animal fat tends to get rancid much faster than dried meat. However, as the animal fat used in pemmican is mostly rendered fat, it should last much longer, as it contains less water and impurities. Having the right amount of fat can greatly affect the shelf life of your pemmican.

The last ingredient of pemmican is dried fruits, which have a really long shelf life in the freezer. They can last almost a year at the room temperature. However, as pemmican contains very little amount of dried fruits and the mixture is dense, the fruity bits do not get exposed to air that much. This, in turn, helps to prolong the shelf life of pemmican.

As you can see, by deconstructing the elements present in pemmican, we can take an educated guess at how long it can last. While it surely won’t be able to maintain its integrity for hundreds of years as some claim, it will last for a long time if you keep it in your freezer. And when the need occurs to go off the grid, your stock of pemmican should be good to go for at least 3 to 5 years if you prepared it correctly.

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How to Make Pemmican (Recipe)

The best thing about pemmican is that it’s really simple to make it at your home. Here’s a detailed recipe for you to make this ultimate survival food on your own to stock up your prepping supplies.


  • Lean Beef – 4lbs
  • Beef suet – 2 to 4 lbs (depending on the temperature of your location – higher temperature means less fat)
  • Dried Fruits / Raisins – 3 cups

Pemmican Recipe

  • Make sure that the beef is lean. Cut away any excess strips of fat present in the meat. You can also ask your butcher to grind the meat if you do not have a meat grinder at home.
  • Preheat your oven to 180ºF. Spread the meat out on a baking tray lined with a cookie sheet. Make sure the meat layer is very thin to dry it out evenly. Dehydrate the meat in the preheated oven for at least 8 hours, or until the beef becomes crispy. Keep it aside to cool down.
  • Grind the dried meat in a blender until it reaches almost a powder-like consistency.
  • Chop up the dried fruits or raisins. Mix them up with the powdered beef.
  • Melt the beef suet to a liquid and slightly cool it down. Make sure to skim away any impurities. Pour the rendered fat into the mixture of beef and dried fruits. Mix everything by hand so that it starts taking shape. Use just enough so that the mixture comes together.
  • Let it cool and then cut it into portions. Pack the portions separately, and your pemmican is ready. You’ll be able to store it in your freezer for years to come.

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Last update on 2023-03-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Now you know how long will pemmican last, and how to make this ultimate survival superfood on your own and store it for decades.

Making pemmican at home is really easy if you know what you are doing. So start making your own pemmican and take your prepping to the next level.

This centuryold ‘protein bar’ will surely help you to stay one step ahead of the game when the need occurs. Until then, stock up and be prepared!

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