On a black bear hunt a number of years in the past, I noticed the unmistakable body of a big boar as he emerged from cowl on the far finish of an enormous grainfield. My coronary heart skipped a beat, and I headed to the adjoining farmhouse to ask for permission to hunt. A weathered Canadian farmer met me on the door. He should have been watching from the window as a result of he requested me if I used to be a bear hunter.
I informed him, that in reality I used to be, and that I’d hoped to place a stalk on the big bruin in his subject. Sadly for me, the farmer had been watching that bear for 2 weeks and hoped to reap it himself.
The farmer defined that he was the third era to farm this piece of land and that he tried to place a black bear within the freezer each fall, similar to his father and grandfather had. From there, we launched into a dialogue about black bears and the way vital they have been to early settlers in North America.
We talked concerning the worth of fats and proteins and the way important the bear had been within the days earlier than grocery shops. We expounded on the virtues of the mature bear feasting on barley in his subject. It might have a thick layer of white fats beneath its cover, storing up reserves with each chunk.
I didn’t get an opportunity to tag a bear that day, however I’m glad the farmer who did knew all about the advantages of bear fats for hunters. You must, too. We are able to begin by trying again at how the early settlers of North America used bear fats and what number of of these makes use of stay related at the moment.
Why Bear Is So Versatile
In some ways, black bear meat, fats, and bones are undervalued. Bones, for instance, make a wealthy broth and will maintain therapeutic energy. A research of bear bones in Alberta is making an attempt to unlock secrets and techniques that might lead to a cure for osteoporosis (as a result of black bears preserve bone mass via hibernation).
The black bear is a powerhouse of nutrient-rich meals. Bear meat is extremely nutritious, with 155 energy in 100 grams. The identical portion affords 20 grams of protein, 8.3 grams of fats, and 40 % of every day iron wants at 7.2 milligrams. (For reference, beef has 2.6 milligrams of iron per 100 grams).
Then there’s bear fats, which has traditionally been a vital a part of the human food regimen. It additionally has medicinal worth, can be utilized for tools upkeep, and way more.
Bear fats is available in two kinds: white fats and brown fats. Brown fats is helpful to cardiovascular well being and might scale back the chance of illnesses like diabetes. The white fats saved on a bear is loaded with power and is the gas for the bear to make it via six months of hibernation. Right here’s easy methods to put bear fats to work.
Bear Fats as Lard, Grease, or Oil
Bear lard is opulent, wealthy, and has quite a lot of qualities and makes use of. It’s typically referred to as “bear grease” or “bear oil” however it’s actually all the identical factor. How do you course of bear lard? First, you acquire fats from a bear after which dice it or grind it to assist in the rendering course of. You then render it down; cook dinner it low and gradual for one of the best outcomes and clear oil. Extra warmth will create darker oil. Pressure the recent oil via cheesecloth and into jars for storage.
Traditionally, First Nations individuals saved bear grease in deer bladders that have been scraped and dried. Settlers used jars or refilled lard tins to guard the valuable useful resource. Bear oil has a very good shelf life and doesn’t go rancid as shortly as pork lard.
Cooking with Bear Grease
Again within the day, bears have been a significant meals supply. Bear lard was a staple that may assist produce meals for a whole yr.
Bear lard was used as frying oil to sear lean imply, cook dinner fish, and fry greens, potatoes, and oatmeal desserts. Oil provides the magical style to the Maillard Response, higher generally known as browning. Most of us can not think about a food regimen of bland meals if we couldn’t fry.
The lard was typically used instead of butter. Many elderly trappers stirred some bear fats into their espresso to tackle additional energy to remain heat through the winter. It was an important ingredient in making biscuits and as a topping earlier than including preserves. We could have non-stick pans at the moment, however think about making an attempt to make pancakes in an iron pan with out some type of grease.
Pastry cooks regale the advantages of bear lard for making wealthy and flaky pastry. It’s thought of liquid gold by cooks desirous to make the absolute best dishes for particular meals or competitions.
Bear Grease for Upkeep
First Nations individuals used bear grease to situation leather-based. Clothes and drums have been made and maintained using bear fats. Fashionable sportsmen and girls can use bear grease to waterproof boots and leather-based gloves. Apart from stopping moisture from getting via the leather-based, it additionally situations it for longer life and sturdiness. Merely apply with a fabric and work it into the leather-based to the sides. Use a hairdryer to warmth the grease for higher absorption.
Leather-based or canvas scabbards could be handled with bear grease to make them waterproof and prolong their lifespan. Upland hunters who use leather-based chaps can use bear grease to maintain their leg protectors in tip-top form with out a humorous odor.
The Lewis and Clark expedition went via gallons of bear grease and used it for tools upkeep (together with cooking). There was no gun oil or WD-40 in these days, and stopping corrosion on metallic was important to long-term survival. They seasoned knives and firearms with bear grease. At the moment, bear grease continues to be a wonderful choice for shielding and seasoning gun barrels and transferring components. Conventional muzzleloader fanatics use bear fats for shielding weapons, lubing a patch, or as authentic bore butter or grease. You may work bear grease right into a knife blade to make sure it would keep rust-free and in good working order the following time you seize it.
Use bear grease anyplace you utilize dubbin, wax, or different waterproofing materials. It’s an affordable various with superior qualities that confirmed over time.
Bear Fats for Well being and Wellness
Fats, grease, lard, or no matter you need to name it, is a robust moisturizer. Most outdoorsmen carry lip balm to stop or deal with cracked, dry lips. What did individuals do earlier than industrial lip balm was accessible? They used fats.
Using bear oil as an ingredient can improve moisture and therapeutic qualities. Black Bear Remedies is a contemporary firm that provides well being and wellness merchandise made with bear oil. You may order on-line and have merchandise shipped anyplace in North America. Their lip balm is offered with peppermint or espresso flavors.
The corporate additionally affords skincare merchandise with bear oil. Insect bites, eczema, rashes, and dry pores and skin have traditionally been handled or prevented with bear grease. Somewhat goes a great distance; rub on a dab to restore pores and skin issues and relieve the itch and sting of insect bites.
Making salve and ointment is one other good choice. There are many on-line recipes and instructions for creating pores and skin therapeutic merchandise. Herbs and medicinal crops have been utilized in distinctive concoctions for therapeutic pores and skin illnesses. The Boreal Herbalist is a superb e book with data on native crops that can be utilized for medicinal or well being advantages. Lookup crops that may assist with what ails you and make a salve with bear fats to heal it.
Some within the holistic drugs neighborhood consider that bear fats can relieves ache, reduces stiffness and swelling for Arthritis, again ache, carpal tunnel, Fibromyalgia, minor nerve injury and way more. Utilized by itself or used at the side of natural concoctions, anybody affected by aches and pains has nothing to lose by making an attempt bear grease.
Bear Cleaning soap
Bear fats makes for luxurious cleaning soap. Saturated fat are recognized to extend a cleaning soap’s lather. Unsaturated fat ship moisturizing and nourishing properties. Use a crockpot (outdoors your property) to make a batch of bear cleaning soap for your self. You will have to search for recipes to seek out the correct quantity of lye and the best mixture of important oils for the aroma. Basil, mint, cloves, and different herbs can add medicinal or therapeutic worth to selfmade bear soaps.
Bear Wax for Beards
In case you haven’t seen, beards are in fashion lately, making beard wax huge enterprise. Again within the outdated days, bear grease was one of many authentic North American beard oils. Add cedar, mint, or different important oil that can assist you scent as manly as you’ll look.
Burning Bear Oil
In the event you nonetheless aren’t offered on bear fats, let me illuminate yet one more instance for you: Oil lamps could be fueled with any fats or grease. Positive vegetable oils can get the job performed, however bear fats has lengthy been recognized within the backcountry as the brilliant gentle when the solar goes down. You probably have an abundance of bear fats, oil lamps can be utilized to gentle up your searching camp.
Bear fats has confirmed its worth all through historical past. Fashionable hunters can embrace the outdated methods with new whereas experimenting with new makes use of for this extremely versatile .