By Patrick Mainelli
In the December issue of NEBRASKAland we reminded readers of one of the oft forgotten ways of enjoying game meat – canning. In addition to being an extremely convenient and practical way to keep a lot of meat on hand (venison is safe in a can for up to a year) it is actually a relatively quick and easy process. Dr. Julie Albrecht, professor of nutrition and health sciences at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, shared with us some helpful tips and guidelines for safe and tasty canning. Here is a guide to canning basics put together by the university; it covers everything from sanitation, equipment variations, and some of the chemistry behind the whole process.
Dr. Albrecht also thought Nebraska hunters would be well served to look through this guide to preserving game meats and fish, put together by North Dakota State University. In addition to canning, this protein primer includes information on smoking, pickling, dry-curing, and corning, and includes a number of creative recipes.
Also from the good people at North Dakota State is this “pocket guide for the care and handling of deer and elk.” This is a brief but all-inclusive outline of how to get 200 pounds of animal from field to fork, in a safe, easy, and sanitary manner.
However you decide to enjoy your catch this season don’t wait around to do it. Too much salt on your venison or an over-dried batch of jerky are minor culinary infractions. Don’t be afraid to try something new. The only real sin letting that meat go to waste.