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Preserving meat, fish and produce.

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  • Preserving meat, fish and produce.

    This subject was broached as a tangent to another thread on F&S!

    Do you process your own game?

    What preservation methods do you use?

  • #2
    We butcher our own game animals and plant a decent sized garden so we do most of the typical food storage methods. You asked about game but for us the garden is another big part of our food supply.

    We blanch and freeze some vegetables and freeze fish when we have the opportunity. We pickle cucumbers, some beans, jalapeños, banana peppers and some beets. Usually we add some garlic in with the dill pickles which also gets eaten, and this year pickled some leeks as well. Once in awhile we’ll do a pickled deer heart. We just started canning venison last year, that may expand into other meat products as well.

    When freezing meat and vegetables we just use a vacuum sealer and ziplock bags, we’ve had good results and it’s faster for us. The trick is making sure the seal is good and as much air is out as possible. Works especially well when we grind burger and sausage. Another favorite is making corned venison, which when finished gets frozen as well. We also use a smoker and dehydrator. The smoker for meats and the dehydrator for fruits and vegetables.

    My Father in Law has all the equipment for making stuffed sausage type products. We help with that when we can and he’s good about sharing the bounty as well. They do a huge garden but sometimes it works out that we trade back and forth.

    We keep thinking about backing off some but with things the way they are it’s a hard decision to follow through with. The Kid will be off to college next year so I’m guessing our household needs will diminish substantially. Still, we won’t give up on any of it, there will just need to be an adjustment to how much we put up. Especially in the freezers.


    • #3
      I pay for processing deer and do the pork myself. Processor packaging for the venison, vacuum sealer and freezer for pork.


      • #4
        Produce, we've done a little of all of it. Pickling, freezing and drying.
        LOVE the Kosher dills with garlic cloves.
        In the south, the big thing is pickled okra. Love the stuff but I don't need all that salt in my diet! 🙁
        The one thing I haven't tried pickling is asparagus!
        We eat it before we can get enough together to pickle! LOL!
        Haven't delved into the pressure side of canning except with my grandmother when I was younger.

        Fish, you can "can" it. Crappie are a big deal in the spring and summer. Met a couple from MN. They said they salt cured and smoked them. Would LOVE to try that!

        For venison, I wrap in GladWrap then butcher paper. I've found 2 year old loin in the freezer that was still perfect!
        What I can't turn into steaks, I grind. I turn the ground into breakfast sausage and smoked kielbasa.
        ...or burgers or soup or chili or tacos, etc, etc.....
        I used to make jerky, but again, the salt really is a stopper ... and jerky isn't that important to me.

        With the current state of things, canning meat may become a necessity.


        • #5
          We dodged a bullet this weekend, my wife went to get something out of our 7 cu/ft freezer and realized quickly we had a problem. The packages on top were thawed but still cold, the stuff on the bottom was about half froze still. Mostly veggies but some venison burger was left. Fortunately it looks like we didn’t lose anything. One more day and we’d probably lost the whole freezer full. We also have a 5 cu/ft freezer running and last spring we’d bought another 5 cu/ft freezer for back up / overflow that we hadn’t started using yet. We now have both 5 ft freezers going and the 7 will be getting recycled at the dump.

          Timing wasn’t the best, last week we’d put in an order with an Amish market we buy stuff from when we can. They do bulk shipments occasionally that you have to pre order, it’s been quality stuff. Ended up going a bit overboard, we bought 15 lbs of thick sliced bacon and another 30 lbs of bacon ends that arrived today. They had to be ordered in those sizes. The sliced stuff was $5/lb, that’s a good price around here right now. It looks very good but real the surprise was the ends at only $1.59/pound. We bought them mostly thinking we’d trim the fatty parts for grinding into venison burger and keep the lean for using like ham or Canadian bacon. Turns out a good portion of it was fine but just not uniformly cut to length so it would package well. The rest was either thick cuts or smaller pieces. We separated the small pieces out for omelettes and what not, then cut the bigger ones into thick sliced bacon or else did trim them into fat for grinding and saved the meaty chunks that we’ll use like ham. Turned out there was hardly any “rind” in the entire package. What little there was we tossed in with the grind.

          Now we need to get busy filling some tags to make Bambi bacon burger. Which means we need to get another small freezer first.




          • #6
            I try to keep a watch on my freezer. It's an upright and I walk past it every time I get into or out of my car parked that side.


            • #7
              My "rule of thumb" on defrosted meat is, "does it still have ice crystals?".

              We used to buy meat at a meat market. I became quite friendly with the owners, Terry and Ned.
              They both told me that as long as meat still contained ice crystals, it was safe to refreeze.
              Now a rump roast with a thumb sized chunk of ice crystals deep in the middle just doesn't meet the criteria. I think most of us are intelligent enough to tell the difference between salvageable and questionable.




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