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					November, The Month of Venison

<p>Every year at the end of October, I receive requests from hunters
wanting to know how to process venison. They want different ways to take
care of the deer besides the usual butcher shop or sausage maker ways.
Bringing the venison to someone to have it processed is the typical thing
to do. Everything is done for you and you pay by the pound and take it
home to your freezer.</p><p>I come from a family of hunters and we have
done venison the old way for years. When people taste my venison they
always want to learn how it is made. I usually invite them over to assist
in the process. Hands on experience is the only way to learn something
new. Once they help they are able to do it themselves.</p><p>Years ago
when everything was done on a wood cook stove the processing time was 3-
1/2-hours in a boiling water bath canner and needless to say the house
got a bit steamy. I did it that way one time and quickly purchased a
pressure cooker which greatly reduced the time required for meat. The
flavor of the venison remains the same as if a wood stove was
used.</p><p>To can venison you need regular canning quart jars. I prefer
the wide mouth as they are easier to get stuff out of. Never use
mayonnaise jars in a pressure cooker as they tend to break. The jars must
be clean and free of chips around the mouth of the jar. Lids must be new,
never re-use mason jar lids as they are made for one time use
only.</p><p>The venison should be field dressed properly and cooled as
soon as possible. The meat is de-boned for canning. The hide must be
taken off the deer within an hour of field dressing. Leaving the hide on
for show and tell will only guarantee you a very wild tasting product.
Remove as much of the tallow as possible, it serves no worthwhile purpose
in canning the meat. Cut the venison in uniform size pieces, usually 2-
inch chunks. To each quart jar add 1 bay leaf on the bottom followed by a
slice or two of onion, then chunks of venison. Fill the jar with
alternate onion and meat to within 1-inch of top of jar. Add 1-teaspoon
of canning salt (no iodized salt). Do not pack the meat too firmly. Do
not add any liquid, the meat will make enough. Wipe the rim of the jars
with a clean cloth. Put hot sterilized lids on the jars. Put canning ring
on but be sure to tighten only finger tip tight or your jars will not
seal. Place in pressure cooker, close according to directions. Bring the
pressure up to 10-pounds and process 75-minutes. Turn off pressure cooker
and wait for the pressure to go down. Remove the jars and let cool away
from drafts. Check to make sure all of the jars are sealed.</p><p>Venison
will keep in the cupboard for a year or longer as long as the seal is not
broken. Refrigerate any unused part of an opened jar. Canned venison is
handy when you want a quick meal. Heat it up and serve with potatoes and
a salad. Some people prefer to use it right out of the jar with crackers
or home made bread. This has been a tradition in my family for
generations, try it and maybe it will become a favorite of
yours.</p><p>You can find more cooking tips at <a target="_new"

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