Nerd moments happen, and there is nothing we can do about it. For example, I was recently walking through the grocery store when I saw the newest product from Hi-Country Snacks: Pemmican Bites. If you’re like me, you’ve spent a good deal of your time reading about pemmican. It was, after all, a staple in the diet of Native Americans, and quickly adopted by anyone who ever spent any time trekking through the wilderness. Fur trappers, explorers, prospectors . . . everybody who was anybody ate pemmican. Native Americans developed pemmican by taking dried meat, berries, nuts, and seeds, pounding them, and mixing them with animal fat in a 1:1 ratio. It seems a lot like trail mix, if you put the jerky in a separate bag and replace the animal fat with chocolate (keep the ratio though). The result was a lightweight, long-lasting food source rich in proteins and carbohydrates. Pemmican turns jerky into a full meal. I can’t imagine that pemmican tasted very good, especially if it was your only food source for weeks on end, but to me there has always been something exotic, romantic, and adventurous about the idea of pemmican.
I have no doubt that by producing pemmican Hi-Country is intentionally exploiting my tendency to romanticize old-time mountain men, but I don’t really care. To produce this new, modern pemmican, Hi-Country took strips of high quality beef jerky, oats, soy flour, almonds, walnuts, dried blueberries, and dried cranberries. They mixed these ingredients with some sugar (cane, brown, and honey) and seasonings. The resulting small rectangles act very much like jerky. The consistency reminds me of very soft jerky, although there are a couple of different textures going on. In general, the bites taste a lot like jerky (the seasoning is almost exactly the same as Hi-Country’s jerky seasoning). It might just be the power of suggestion, but I am convinced that I could taste the blueberries and cranberries. There are only a few examples of pemmican on the market today, and I think that Hi-Country’s is probably the most “authentic” but between the sugar, the domestic grains, and the low fat content, I doubt it tastes much like the pemmican of yore. Did the bites boost my energy, survival ability and general manliness? I don’t know. I was saving them for a sufficiently epic adventure (or, you know, a walk around the block) but I ended up snacking on the bites whilst sitting at my desk, typing on my computer.
I like them, and think that they would make an excellent hiking snack. But the lack of chocolate means they probably won’t completely replace trail mix on my adventures.