Preserving venison

Canning is an easy way to preserve wild game.

After the hunt is done, then what? This is the point that food preservation choices are determined. Many times venison is left to age in a cooler to tenderize the meat (one week at 35 degrees Fahrenheit). By this time a decision needs to be made as to how to plan preserving the venison. Canning is a great method for venison preservation.

Michigan State University Extension recommends using a pressure canner when canning meats. If you are using a dial gauge style pressure canner it is recommended to have the gauge checked for accuracy prior to using it. This can be done by a MSU Extension food safety educator. A weighted gauge pressure canner whistles or releases pressure by lifting the weight on the top of the canner. It is important to know how to properly use a pressure cooker. By reading Using Pressure Canners you will learn the processes it takes to safely use a pressure cooker.

Begin by preparing jars by washing, rinsing and sanitizing them. Make sure you have the right size lids and enough of them so you are not caught without the right equipment in the middle of your project. Have all the equipment you will need out, clean and available for use when you need it.

Chose good quality venison, remove much of the fat. Cut the meat into one-inch cubes or chunks. There are two methods for canning that is recommended; hot pack or cold pack.

Hot pack – Precook the venison, do not overcook. You’re cooking process can be browning, roasting or stewing; then pack the meat loosely into hot jars. Adding salt is optional; 1/2 teaspoon to pints, 1 teaspoon to quarts. Fill jars with meat juices leaving one-inch head space in the jar, remove air bubbles by placing a plastic or wooden knife or spoon down the side of the jar and letting the air bubble escape. Next, wipe the jar rims clean of debris; place a two piece lid on the jar. Do not over tighten the lid. Place filled jars into the pressure canner and process.

Cold pack - Adding salt is optional; 1/2 teaspoon to pints, 1 teaspoon to quarts. Fill hot jars with raw venison chunks leaving one-inch head space. Do not add liquid with this method. Wipe the jar rims clean of debris; place a two piece lid on the jar. Do not over tighten the lid. Place filled jars into the pressure canner and process.

Follow the listed recommendations:

Dial gauge pressure canner – 11 pounds pressure—weighted gauge pressure canner – 10 pounds

Process: Pints, 75 minutes

Quarts, 90 minutes

Much of this information can be found through the National Center for Home Food Preservation as well as “So Easy To Preserve,” a research based book provided by Georgia State University.

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