Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Country Food: Nipku

One of my lovely co-workers recently brought in some home-made nipku for us to try after her family made a big batch. What is nipku you ask? It's caribou that has been sun-dried and naturally preserved. The only ingredients are caribou meat, sunshine and time - healthy and natural!

It's quite a treat for people when they can get it; and it's eaten as a snack the way one would eat beef jerky. I've seen people auctioning off portions of it, or asking if anyone has's a hot commodity for sure! I was lucky that I got to try some, and I saved some for Jeff as well.

Lovely Ami also took pictures of the process and I shamelessly stole them to show you here. If you're not good at handling pictures of raw meat, you may want to not click through.

From what I understand, the process is sort of set up in an assembly line. The caribou is cleaned and butchered and then portions of it are given to Ami's granny (picture on the left) to slice as thinly as possible. Wire racks are set up so the slices are lain out to dry (picture on the right). It takes a few days to completely dry under the sun, at which point the meat is hardened and looks almost like tree bark.

Here, you can see what it looks like when it's ready for consumption. The white part is the fat, and that has a hardened texture but not as hard as you'd think. It's a little softer than the meat part.

My co-workers are hams when there's a camera around. Hams that are excited to eat nipku!

So what did I think about nipku? It tastes like an extremely meaty beef jerky. Caribou has a pretty distinct taste, so it's not like beef - it smells gamey. Does that make sense? It's a very meaty taste, and the texture is a lot harder than beef jerky. For my first taste of caribou (that was raw-ish) I liked it. I was hesitant at first, but I'm glad I tried it! Jeff said the same thing when I shared my piece with him, so we're on the same page!

Oh, and if you're alarmed by my other co-worker putting on rubber gloves - we were getting ready to go outside to do a community clean-up. Nothing to do with the nipku taste test! ;)


1 comment:

  1. Tell Ami I say HI!!!

    I met her in Winnipeg the fall of 2010 at Red River College! :) It's good to see her smiling face! :) Sarah

    And Nipku is so good....