You’ve done the hard part and tagged a deer (or two or three.) Now your freezer is full and you are wondering what to do with all that venison. The solution is can it. Canning venison is a great way to preserve meat without refrigeration and the canning process makes the meat more tender. Canned venison can be used in a number of venison recipes or even eaten straight from the jar. Here’s how to can your venison.
Gather Your Supplies
To get started you will need some clean glass canning jars with screw bands and lids, canning salt, a pressure canner, and some venison. Use new lids each time to ensure a good seal. It is also helpful to have a large pair of tongs for placing and removing jars from hot water. Set aside a morning or afternoon to complete the process because it does take a while.
Trim the Venison
Before you start canning, cut your venison into 1″ cubes. Be sure to remove all fat, silver skin, and any bloodshot meat. The goal is to can only pure meat. The “gamey” flavor often associated with venison is usually the result of inadequate trimming. Take your time with this step and you’ll enjoy tastier meals for the rest of year.
Pack the Meat
Pack your trimmed and cubed meat into hot canning jars, leaving 1″ of head space. Press the meat down firmly to eliminate as much air as possible. Add canning salt (about two teaspoons per quart.) At this point you can add flavoring items like garlic, onions, or bouillon cubes if you desire or you can let the natural flavor of the venison come out in the finished product.
Can the Meat
You are now ready to can your venison. Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth to remove any residue that might interfere with the seal. Place a warmed lid on each jar and screw a ring on tightly. Place the jars in your pressure canner. Process venison at the recommended pressure for your altitude. Quarts should be processed for an hour and a half and pints for an hour and fifteen minutes.
Enjoy Your Meat
Remove the jars and let them cool. Store canned venison in a cool dry place. Canned venison can be used in nearly any recipe that calls for venison or beef. Some favorites include venison stroganoff, venison stew, or just hot venison and cheese sandwiches on toast. Get creative and you will find all sorts of uses for your canned venison.
However you prepare it, canning venison is a great way to preserve your bounty of wild game meat. It saves on electricity used to operate freezers and is always ready to be opened up and prepared. There is also something comforting about a cupboard full of neatly stacked mason jars brimming with meat from last fall’s hunt on a cold winter day.
If you’ve never canned venison, give it a try this season and find out what you have been missing.