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The Art of Pemmican

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Updated on Feb 08, 2012

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Culinary Science


To devise new or improved methods of preserving food without refrigeration. The goals of this project are:

  1. To follow existing preserved food recipes.
  2. To create new preserved food recipes
  3. To suggest a new or improved method of preserving food.

Research Questions:

  • How is food preserved without refrigeration?
  • What are the most commonly used recipes for preserving food?
  • How is food best packaged to preserve freshness without refrigeration?
  • How can current food-preservation methods be improved upon?

Refrigeration is relatively new to us. For thousands of years or more, people have been inventing creative ways of preserving food without the benefit of cooling. Natural food preservatives include vinegar, sugar and salt. Pemmican, a popular recipe among early Native Americans, was made by mixing dried meat, berries and animal fats. In this project we explore the many styles of preserved foods available today.


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.)
  • Store-bought samples of preserved foods (pickles, jerky, jams & jellies, vacuum-
  • packed products, etc.)
  • Preserved food recipes (see links)
  • Recipe ingredients (see links)

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay.

Experimental Procedure

  1. Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)
  2. Address all of the above terms and research questions.
  3. Search and print out interesting images relevant to your topic.
  4. Take photographs throughout the course of the experiment.
  5. Follow any of the recipes provided on the links below.
  6. Create your own original preserved food recipe.
  7. Carefully record all observations.
  8. Interpret your findings in a detailed report.
  9. Include interesting photos, diagrams and food samples in your science fair display.

Terms/Concepts: Canning; Dehydration; Preservatives; Vacuum-packed


Judee Shipman is a Bay Area Educational Consultant and professional writer of quality educational materials. Her recent writing credits include (a popular and entertaining website about states), and a book called The Portable Chess Coach (Cardoza, 2006), currently available in stores.