Author Topic: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.  (Read 8415 times)

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Offline infinitenexus

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First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« on: October 01, 2010, 04:21:04 am »
There's really no other way to describe it.  It's like chewing dirty mud, but it tastes faintly of beef.  I used the beef lard from US Wellness as my fat.  For the meat I used a london broil, cut it thin and dried it completely, then crushed it up as much as I could.  I don't have a grinder or food processer, so I crushed it as much as I could.  Not quite a powder, it's about the consistency of coarse beach sand.  I mixed the melted tallow with the ground meat approximately 50/50, and let it cool.  It's kinda bland too, and I even put some salt and pepper on the beef as it was drying.

What did I do wrong?  Or is pemmican supposed to taste like beef flavored dirt?  Please say it gets better than this!

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2010, 05:37:06 am »
There's really no other way to describe it.  It's like chewing dirty mud, but it tastes faintly of beef.  I used the beef lard from US Wellness as my fat.  .... What did I do wrong?  ....
Homemade tastes much better than US Wellness pemmican, especially once you get good at making pemmican.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline infinitenexus

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2010, 06:15:48 am »
How will I get better?  I don't really understand how I did anything "wrong", I did it according to all the many directions I've found online, here and everywhere else.  Will grinding up the meat into a fine powder improve it?  At least, will it improve the texture, so it's not like I'm chewing hard mud?

Also, I noticed the texture of US Wellness' beef lard, when in the tub, is basically like wax.  It melts just fine, but I thought it was supposed to be softer.

What is the taste/texture of good pemmican like?  Also, would there be any problem with using something like bacon fat, as long as it was from grass fed pigs and melted at a low temperature?

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2010, 07:13:26 am »
How will I get better?  I don't really understand how I did anything "wrong", I did it according to all the many directions I've found online, here and everywhere else.  Will grinding up the meat into a fine powder improve it?  At least, will it improve the texture, so it's not like I'm chewing hard mud?

Also, I noticed the texture of US Wellness' beef lard, when in the tub, is basically like wax.  It melts just fine, but I thought it was supposed to be softer.

What is the taste/texture of good pemmican like?  Also, would there be any problem with using something like bacon fat, as long as it was from grass fed pigs and melted at a low temperature?

It sounds like the US Wellness tallow is very saturated; probably comes from suet. You can render your own and use muscle fat or marrow to make it softer. It'll be more perishable but less like mud. You can also mess with ratios of fat to meat powder to get the consistency you want.
FWIW pemmican is like this. It's not meant ot be a culinary treat but a survival food.
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Offline infinitenexus

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2010, 07:17:14 am »
So the gritty muddy dirt texture is how it's supposed to be?  Ugh.  I had high hopes for pemmican, I know it's nice and healthy, but I'm really not enjoying eating this.  I kinda feel like I wasted my money making it.  I'll have to pick up some muscle fat somewhere and try that, I guess.  Maybe a little bacon fat will help the taste.

Offline yuli

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2010, 07:30:00 am »
I read this article on Mark Sisson's site, he's not raw but whatever, he likes meat and fat ( http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-make-pemmican/ )...anyway in that article he says that his first batch of pemmican also came out very bland. Interesting.

I was considering to make pemmican myself but I fear it will also taste bland...so I don't just want to waste time.
If the dried meat doesn't taste good by itself...and the fat you use doesn't taste good by itself, I don't think combining them would produce anything with superior taste, how would it  :P

Unless you use a super tasty fat and meat and grind the meat super fine, then maybe it could be good.
But I see in most commercially sold pemmicans they add lots of spices, like ground berry, garlic powder and others, and the recipes I looked at add dry spices with the dry meat....so maybe it just isn't supposed to taste good without the spices  :'(

I don't think I will make it unless I need to "survive" somewhere where I won't be able to get food. I'd rather enjoy my tasty liver  ;D

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2010, 07:33:33 am »
I got to taste Yon's beef jerky.
After that I'm not interested in making my own jerky or pemmican.
Maybe I should store some for emergencies like earth quakes or other disasters.
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Offline infinitenexus

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2010, 07:45:01 am »
I read this article on Mark Sisson's site, he's not raw but whatever, he likes meat and fat ( http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-make-pemmican/ )...anyway in that article he says that his first batch of pemmican also came out very bland. Interesting.

I was considering to make pemmican myself but I fear it will also taste bland...so I don't just want to waste time.
If the dried meat doesn't taste good by itself...and the fat you use doesn't taste good by itself, I don't think combining them would produce anything with superior taste, how would it  :P

Unless you use a super tasty fat and meat and grind the meat super fine, then maybe it could be good.
But I see in most commercially sold pemmicans they add lots of spices, like ground berry, garlic powder and others, and the recipes I looked at add dry spices with the dry meat....so maybe it just isn't supposed to taste good without the spices  :'(

I don't think I will make it unless I need to "survive" somewhere where I won't be able to get food. I'd rather enjoy my tasty liver  ;D

I think the fat I used is part of the reason it tastes like ass.  Now I'm kicking myself for having bought 3 tubs of it.  From now on I'll just get the chunks of fat from slankers, and maybe I'll try to get my hands on a little bison back fat.  I'm definitely going to try making pemmican with some bacon fat.  In fact, I think I'll make about 5 different batches, in very small amounts each, to get the best flavor.  The meat by itself tasted nice, but the fat made it bland and since I couldn't grind it into a powder, it has a dirt-like texture.  I know it's survival food and not a culinary special, but I'm sure I can get it tasting nice.  For my next batch I'll try drying out some fresh garlic cloves and tossing them in there, also.  And of course, some real fat, not this bland US Wellness lard.  My only concern is that I need to keep the cost down.  Pemmican isn't exactly the cheapest food, considering how much grass-fed ingredients cost and how much we lose from dehydrating.  I am definitely going to try the garlic though, and some bacon fat also.

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2010, 08:40:40 am »
How will I get better?  I don't really understand how I did anything "wrong", I did it according to all the many directions I've found online, here and everywhere else.
Well, you used US Wellness tallow for one, instead of making your own. When I tried US Wellness' tallow I couldn't stand it, whereas I love my own.

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Also, I noticed the texture of US Wellness' beef lard, when in the tub, is basically like wax.  It melts just fine, but I thought it was supposed to be softer.
Waxy texture means a high level of saturated fat, likely from suet, which is how I happen to like it, but some people prefer to use more/only softer subcutaneous or marrow fat. Back fat from animals with humps like bison is supposed to be the best tasting fat of all.

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What is the taste/texture of good pemmican like?
Waxy, chewy, meaty deliciousness. Some people describe it as a meat-flavored treat with the texture of a chocolate bar. However, it takes getting used to. Don't base your judgement on crappy US Wellness tallow and your first experience. The first pemmican I made tasted bad and the US Wellness pemmican I then bought was even worse. Even Lex's well-made pemmican tasted bad to me early on when I tried that. Now I make a much better pemmican than I first did and I have also become more acclimated to eating meat and fat, so pemmican thus tastes better now than it did at first. However, the longer I go raw, the more rendered fat tastes a little burnt to me, so pemmican has been tasting less scrumptous, but still quite good, to me lately.

I have a nephew who loves fat and has been eating Paleo from an early age and he loves pemmican more than anyone I've met. I've also never met a child that didn't at least like (well made) pemmican. It may be that the SAD damages our taste buds and other aspects of our system in such a way as to make pemmican, and animal fat in general, taste less delicious to us. When I was eating a SAD, I became pretty extreme--much preferring to eat carbs and disliking fat and preferring to cook my meats more and more well done. Since going raw carnivore I've been liking animal fat and raw meat more and more.

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Also, would there be any problem with using something like bacon fat, as long as it was from grass fed pigs and melted at a low temperature?
I've never tried bacon fat and I've never heard of anyone doing that, so I can't help you there, sorry. Maybe someone else who has tried it can share their experience.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 08:53:10 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline infinitenexus

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2010, 11:52:56 pm »
I think the tallow is the problem.  It's like hard candle wax.  I remember reading other people scoop their rendered fat with an ice cream scoop, but I had to use a knife with this one and practically hammer and chisel it out, literally.  I'm going to try picking up some muscle fat from slankers, and some good meat.  I'll try a small batch with some bacon fat, if nothing else it'll be a fun little experiment, bacon pemmican.

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2010, 02:30:23 am »
If the dried meat doesn't taste good by itself
Dried meat that is raw is tasty.
I like the meat when it is a little bit dried, like that 3-weeks-old mutton on my pics.
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Offline Viola

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2010, 02:47:14 am »
Dried meat that is raw is tasty.
I like the meat when it is a little bit dried, like that 3-weeks-old mutton on my pics.
I like the meat when it is a little bit dried too.  :)

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2010, 04:14:41 am »
I think the tallow is the problem.  It's like hard candle wax.  I remember reading other people scoop their rendered fat with an ice cream scoop, but I had to use a knife with this one and practically hammer and chisel it out, literally.  I'm going to try picking up some muscle fat from slankers, and some good meat.  I'll try a small batch with some bacon fat, if nothing else it'll be a fun little experiment, bacon pemmican.
It sounds like you're storing the tallow in the fridge, yes? (which is what US Wellness recommends for their tallow, because they don't get all the moisture out and it's therefore prone to mold and rot). If so, if you let it warm up to room temp, tallow should get soft enough to spoon pretty easily. It's supposed to be hard, but not as hard as candle wax unless it's quite cold (and even then it shouldn't be quite as hard as candle wax). I think you'll prefer tallow made from subcutaneous, marrow or back fat. I prefer the chewiness of raw suet myself, which is even harder than suet-based tallow, and it does a nice job of cleaning my teeth and gums, but it did take some time to get used to it. It sounds like you don't want to put that sort of patience into it to develop a taste for a very different food like suet-based tallow. In my case it was well worth the effort, as raw suet seems to give me better health benefits than any other food, but YMMV.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline infinitenexus

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2010, 04:26:23 am »
It's not so much that I don't want to take the time, but I come from a sort of culinary background, so going from gordon ramsay's beef wellington recipe to suet pemmican is pretty difficult.  I think I also may have mixed it with a little more fat than meat.  I'm going to pick up some better fat hopefully today, and another chunk of cow.  Is beef the best-tasting meat to use?  How is bison, or lamb pemmican?  Sorry for inundating everyone with questions, but I have a ton of them, and I've got to learn somehow!  I figure better to learn as much as I can now before I waste more money on ass-flavored pemmican.  I really really really really really really want to make good tasting pemmican and eat it regularly, with me being in the Army this would be one of the best (only) paths to me eating as raw paleo as possible when I'm in the field.  Okay, lemme sum up my rants in a few questions:

1.  Best source/price for great tasting fat?  Bison back fat seems to taste fantastic, and I haven't checked the price yet personally, but I'm worried it may be too expensive for me to use on a regular basis.  Being in the Army, I don't have a ton of money, although I do try to make food one of my top financial priorities.

2.  Is beef the best tasting meat to use?  Is there another meat that tastes maybe better, that's available for a similar price?

3.  Has anyone ever done this with wild game?  In about 3 months I'll be moving to Texas and I'm going to start hunting regularly, and I was thinking with it's leanness, venison would be a great meat to use.  Mayhap venison and bison back fat?

4.  None of my pemmican will have to last very long, a week or two at the most.  It's basically a simple way for me to bring paleo food with me to work for lunch.  So I really want to place an emphasis on taste, with natural herbs and spices.  I have a small rosemary and basil plant, and I just started growing my own garlic.  I'd really like to try to make some form of "gourmet" pemmican without loading it up with sodium, just natural herbs and spices.  has anyone else done this, any tips?  I'm thinking some dried garlic could really taste nice, with some basil.

I also just picked up a small food processor, I think if I can really grind it up like a powder it'll help also, my first batch was a little coarse and gave it a dirt-like texture.  Thanks for the help, tips, and sifting through my novels of questions, guys hahaha.

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2010, 08:38:51 am »
It's not so much that I don't want to take the time, but I come from a sort of culinary background, so going from gordon ramsay's beef wellington recipe to suet pemmican is pretty difficult.
I wanted to be a chef since I was a little kid. I spent my best times in high school in my cooking classes. I even contemplated going to the Culinary Institute (45 minute drive from here) because I had the talent and the love of cooking. I didn't have the discipline to do it as a profession though. I got over the cooking hang-up when I transitioned to RAF.
FWIW I still cook for my wife. Try cooking by smell only; now there's a challenge. ;D

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I think I also may have mixed it with a little more fat than meat.
I personally made mine close to 50/50 by volume but mine was way overkill on the fat. 

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Is beef the best-tasting meat to use? 
It's usually the cheapest. You use a lot of meat to make jerky.

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1.  Best source/price for great tasting fat?  Bison back fat seems to taste fantastic, and I haven't checked the price yet personally, but I'm worried it may be too expensive for me to use on a regular basis.  Being in the Army, I don't have a ton of money, although I do try to make food one of my top financial priorities.
Source it local and fresh if possible.

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2.  Is beef the best tasting meat to use?  Is there another meat that tastes maybe better, that's available for a similar price?
This is a personal preference thing. Stronger flavored meat might make a tastier jerky or pemmican.

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3.  Has anyone ever done this with wild game?  In about 3 months I'll be moving to Texas and I'm going to start hunting regularly, and I was thinking with it's leanness, venison would be a great meat to use.  Mayhap venison and bison back fat?
I haven't yet but when I get a deer I'm going to dry some as jerky. Not goign to make pemmican though as it doesn't sit well with me.

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4.  None of my pemmican will have to last very long, a week or two at the most.  It's basically a simple way for me to bring paleo food with me to work for lunch.  So I really want to place an emphasis on taste, with natural herbs and spices.  I have a small rosemary and basil plant, and I just started growing my own garlic.  I'd really like to try to make some form of "gourmet" pemmican without loading it up with sodium, just natural herbs and spices.  has anyone else done this, any tips?  I'm thinking some dried garlic could really taste nice, with some basil.
If it doesn't have to last go wild with it. I made a batch that I wanted my wife to try but she passed it up. My brother ended up eating it and really enjoying it. I just simmered dried basil & oregano is the rendered fat for a few minutes and left the herbs in the fat. A couple dashes of black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
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Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2010, 08:40:44 am »
It's not so much that I don't want to take the time, but I come from a sort of culinary background, so going from gordon ramsay's beef wellington recipe to suet pemmican is pretty difficult.
Gordon Ramsay's tastes come closer to raw Paleo than most chefs, though he likely wouldn't admit it. I enjoy his shows and that's one thing I've noticed about the foods he selects. When he changes a restaurant's menu, he invariably moves it more toward a Paleo direction.

Minced meat pie is a classic gourmet recipe whose two basic ingredients are the same as pemmican: minced beef and suet. It doesn't take much creativity to remove the pie crust and sugar from a recipe for it like this one http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/egg/egg1296/mincmeat.html#axzz11RKAJxjM and come up with a near-Paleo alternative to your liking.

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Is beef the best-tasting meat to use?  How is bison, or lamb pemmican?
I prefer lamb cooked, but all other red meats I savor raw. My guess is that I'll eventually get used to lamb raw as well.

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1.  Best source/price for great tasting fat?  Bison back fat seems to taste fantastic, and I haven't checked the price yet personally, but I'm worried it may be too expensive for me to use on a regular basis.  Being in the Army, I don't have a ton of money, although I do try to make food one of my top financial priorities.
Suet is the cheapest in my area, so if price is a prime consideration, then it will pay to take the time to get used to it, like I did. I find I like the taste better if it's not moist and mildewy when I buy it and if I dry it further by air-drying it in paper bags.

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2.  Is beef the best tasting meat to use?  Is there another meat that tastes maybe better, that's available for a similar price?
I don't know of a meat that tastes better than beef AND is cheaper, unless you hunt it yourself or someone gives it to you.

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4.  None of my pemmican will have to last very long, a week or two at the most.
If that's the case, you can render it at low temps. It tastes better. However, if you do this, you'll want to save the "cracklings" part and eat that too, because rendering at low temps apparently doesn't release all the nutrition from the cracklings. The potential downside of that is the cracklings part is more thoroughly cooked and may contain more heat-related toxins. I'm not expert in that stuff, so if it concerns you, you'd want to ask Tyler or others about it.

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It's basically a simple way for me to bring paleo food with me to work for lunch.  So I really want to place an emphasis on taste, with natural herbs and spices.  I have a small rosemary and basil plant, and I just started growing my own garlic.  I'd really like to try to make some form of "gourmet" pemmican without loading it up with sodium, just natural herbs and spices.  has anyone else done this, any tips?  I'm thinking some dried garlic could really taste nice, with some basil.
Never added herbs to pemmican and the thought of it turns my stomach, sorry. Adding berries to pemmican does appeal to me, and it's more traditional as well.

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I also just picked up a small food processor, I think if I can really grind it up like a powder it'll help also, my first batch was a little coarse and gave it a dirt-like texture.  Thanks for the help, tips, and sifting through my novels of questions, guys hahaha.
Food processors tend to lack power. Heavy duty blenders like the Vitamix tend to be more popular options with pemmican, but they are more expensive. I would make sure I learned to like pemmican first before I invested in expensive gadgets like the Vitamix.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline infinitenexus

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Re: First batch of pemmican tastes like beef flavored dirt.
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2010, 06:11:20 am »
I'm the same way with lamb, I definitely prefer that cooked to raw.  I'm still getting used to raw meat, but I do like beef, as long as it's a decently tender cut.

As for the food processor, it's just a small one that I picked up on sale for 10 bucks.  I figure I'll crush the jerky by hand into relatively small pieces and then see if the little processor can improve on that.  I think it will, but worst case scenario I'm only out 10 bucks.  I may have to wait until mid-month to buy supplies for my next batch, but I'm definitely going to make multiple small batches of various recipes.

 

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