I have used pinole, along with jerky and our modern "trail mix" as my camping and hunting staples for years. Most bushcrafters are familiar with jerky, though the pressed crap sold in stores should not have the name. Most of us also know and make some form of trail mix, which actually is an easy alternative to the Indian pemmican.
What seems little known is the use of Pinole, or parched corn.
I have taken the liberty of pasting some excerpts from the "Camping and Woodcraft" book by Horace Kephart below, to give a bit of background, and perhaps encourage some experimentation.
Pinole - parched indian corn; the travellers food of the pioneers.
[ "It is Indian corn parched in the hot ashes, the
ashes being sifted from it; it is afterwards beaten
to powder and put into a long leatherne bag trussed
at the Indian's backe like a knapsacke, out of which
they take three spoonsful a day." Roger Williams,
the founder of Rhode Island, said that a spoonful
of nocake mixed with water made him "many a
good meal." Roger did not affirm, however, that it
made him a square meal, nor did he mention the
size of his spoon.
In Virginia this preparationwas known by another
Indian name, "rockahominy" (which is not, as ouf
dictionaries assume, a synonym for plain hominy,
but a quite different thing). That most enter-
taining of our early woodcraftsmen. Colonel Byrd
of Westover, who ran the dividing line between
Virginia and North Carolina in 1728-29, speaks of it
"Rockahominyis nothing but Indian corn parched
without burning, and reduced to Powder. The Fire
drives out all the Watery Parts of the Corn, leaving
the Strength of it behind, and this being very dry,
becomes much lighter for carriage and less liable to
be Spoilt by the Moist Air. Thus half a Dozen
Pounds of this Sprightful Bread will sustain a Man
for as many Months, provided he husband it well,
and always spare it when he meets with Venison,
which, as I said before, may be Safely eaten without
any Bread at all. By what I have said, a Man needs
not encumber himself with more .than 8 or 10 Pounds
of Provision, tho' he continue half a year in the
The Moravian missionary Heckewelder, in his
History^ Manners and Customs of the Indian
Nations describes how the Lenni Lenape, or Dela-
wares, prepared and used this emergency food:
"Their Psindamooan or Tassmanane, as they call it,
is the most nourishing and durable food made out of
the Indian corn. The blue sweetish kind is the grain
which they prefer for that purpose. They parch it
in c^an hot ashes, until it bursts;, it is then sifted
and cleaned, and pounded in a mortar into a kind of
flour, and when they wish to make it very good, they
mix some sugar [i.e., maple sugar] with it. When
wanted for use, they take about a tablespoonful of
this flour in their mouths, then stooping to the river
or brook, drink water to it. If, however, they have
a cup or other small vessel at hand, they put the
flour in it and mix it with water, in the proportion
of one tablespoonful to a pint. At their camps they
will put a small quantity in a kettle with water and
let it boil down, and they will have a thick pottage.
With this food the traveler and warrior will set out
on long journeys and expeditions, and as a little of
it will serve them, for a day, they have not a heavy
load of provisions tp carry. Persons who are un-
acquainted with this' diet ought to be careful not to
take too much at a time, and not to suffer themselves
to be tempted too far by its flavor; more than one
or two spoonfuls, at most, at any one time or at one
meal is dangerous; for it is apt to swell in the
stomach or bowels, as when heated over a fire."
The best of our border hunters and warriors,
such as Boone and Kenton and Crockett, relied a
good deal upon this Indian dietary when starting
on their long hunts, or when undertaking forced
marches more formidable than any that regular
troops could have withstood. So did Lewis and
Clark on their ever-memorable expedition across the
unknown West. ]
My own version of pinole is frozen corn fromthe store or fresh corn from the garden, with the kernels lighlty roasted or parched in a cast iron skillet, I use a bit of salt in the skillet and only a tiny coat of bacon grease.
When all the kernels are parched( takes constant stirring)
I grind them in a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder when in a hurry. I add a bit of cinnamon and sugar for flavor, and place in empty mixed nut cans for storage.
This stuff is bland but palatable, filling to the stomach, and fairly nutritious, as well as being light weight and VERY long lasting in storage.
Try it if you get a chance.
Do a search on Pinole in the text copy of "Camping and Woodcraft" in our downloads section to read more on this useful trail food. (Don't bother to google it- the hits are mostly about California communities.....)