Prepare and freeze venison with care.
Deer season has started, well, at least in the state of Georgia. Hunting enthusiasts throughout the area are enjoying time outside and are looking forward to bagging a nice amount of venison as a staple of protein for their families.Venison is lean & delicious, packaged correctly, it can be frozen and stocked away for future mouth watering meals and snacks, like venison jerky. Be certain that your venison maintains it's high quality that you expect and want for the coming year.Field dressing is a critical food quality step for venison harvest and preparation. Deer should be field dressed as soon as possible after harvest because of the rapid loss of body heat. Proper field dressing helps to combat the growth rate of bacterias that are found on the surface.Reduce the risk of meat contamination and to protect the hunter from exposure to disease, disposable, plastic gloves can be worn during the dressing process. Using clean water and alcohol wipes to clean knife blades between cuts into the carcass can also reduce risk of meat contamination.Refrigerate the carcass as soon as possible after slaughter to slow the growth of bacteria and to retain quality. When the air temperature is above 45ºF, chilling should occur within 3 to 4 hours after death of the animal. Freshly slaughtered meat carcasses need to be cooled to below 40º Fahrenheit within 24 hours to prevent souring or spoilage. The venison can be chilled at 34ºF - 37ºF and held for 10 to 14 days to age the meat. The aging process will help to tenderize and diminish the game taste of venison.Preparing the venison for freezing:
- Trim away fat and any inedible or undesirable particles. (Fat becomes rancid quickly and can retain that “gamey” flavor.)
- Package the venison in freezer paper or wrap. Freezer bags or containers can be used for ground venison and other small cuts.
- Place two layers of freezer paper or wrap between slices or patties of venison so they are easier to separate when you get ready to thaw them.
- Seal, label and date each package. Freeze quickly at 0º F or below.
- Do not jam pack the freezer with too many pounds of meat to be frozen at once. 4 lbs. of meat per cubic ft of freezer space is the limit for freezing within a twenty four hour period.
- Package the venison in meal-size portions and remove as many bones as possible so that it only takes up the freezer space it needs.
If you cannot spread the packages out in your home freezer to allow for rapid freezing, take the meat to a freezer storage facility, such as a meat locker or processing plant for quick freezing. If you are freezing ground venison at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, remember to store it for no more than 3 to 5 months. Venison roasts and steaks can be successfully stored for 6 to 12 months at the same temperature.Proper packing, handling, and freezing venison, will keep your meat safe from the field to your table, and you can enjoy high quality venison dishes long after freezing your "keister" off in a deer stand is a distant memory.Sources:http://www.macon.com/2014/09/24/3322643_handle-package-and-freeze-venison.html?rh=1http://www.interplas.com/reclosable-bags/minigrip-food-storage-bags