Canning vension can be done safely and easily by following venison canning recipes found in the United States Department of Agriculture's Complete Guide to Home Canning, Preserving and Freezing, but precautions must be taken.
First and foremost, make sure the venison is from a healthy animal. Since 1978, the Department of Natural Resources has kept tabs on animals taken during the annual hunting season, and each animal is tested for TB. Do not eat or preserve meat from a diseased or ill animal.
Ground Venison or Venison Meatballs
Because venison tends to be on the lean side, for every four pounds of ground venison, add one pound of pork fat to the mix. Thoroughly grind the fresh meat with the pork fat and season with salt and cayenne pepper only.
Adding spices can change the overall acidic level of the contents, which can result in spoiled jars. To be safe, its best to stay on the side of less is more. Additionally, some spices can be overpowering when canned. Sage, for instance, will render an almost bitter taste to canned venison.
Once you add the salt and pepper, form the raw meat into meatballs, or leave it loosely ground. If using sausage that has already been processed with spices, do not add any additional spices to the sausage when you cook it. Simply cut the sausage links into three inch pieces and process.
Once the meat (meatballs, loose ground meat or sausage links) has been browned, drain the excess fat and immediately fill the hot sterile jars with the now-cooked and very hot meat. Cover the contents in the jars with boiling tomato juice, leaving one inch headspace. Wipe rims, adjust lids and rings and place into the pressure canner.
At sea level, process quart jars at ten pounds pressure for 90 minutes. For altitudes higher than 1,000 feet, change the pressure to 15 pounds. For further information regarding canning venison, consult the United States Department of Agriculture's Complete Guide to Home Canning, Preserving and Freezing.
Canning Chunks or Strips of Meat
Venison canning meat has a unique gamey taste that is often a bit too strong. To reduce the gamey taste, start by soaking the chunks of meat in a roaster filled with salt water. Use one teaspoon of salt per quart. Let the meat soak or rest in the salt water for at least one hour.
After the venison has adequately rested and is ready for canning, drain, rinse and then precook the meat. While the meat is cooking, get your sterilized jars and lids ready.
Add one teaspoon of salt to each quart jar and immediately fill the jars with the hot meat. Choosing tomato juice over meat broth will also help tamp down the gamey taste. Pour boiling tomato juice into each jar, leaving one inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, adjust the lids and rings and place the jars carefully into the pressure cooker.
At altitudes of 0 to 2,000 feet, process the jars in a pressure cooker for 90 minutes at 11 pounds; for altitudes between 2,001 and 4,000 feet, process at 12 pounds pressure; for altitudes between 4,001 and 6,000 feet, process the jars at 13 pounds pressure; and at 14 pounds pressure for higher altitudes.
For the best information regarding canning venison, consult the United States Department of Agriculture's Complete Guide to Home Canning, Preserving and Freezing.
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