Pressure Canning Your Wild Game Meat
Pressure canning (also called bottling) is a great way to preserve wild game meat or make room in your freezer for the current year’s harvest. It works wonderfully on the tougher cuts such as the neck, chuck, or round. You can also use it on just about any cut because pressure canning is as versatile as it gets. It’s less intimidating than one might expect, and just takes a little time, a few tools, and minimal ingredients. The result is shelf-stable meat that can be used in soups and stews or heated and served with rice, potatoes, noodles, vegetables, shredded for sandwiches or eaten all by itself. Meat preserved this way is shockingly delicious and one of the most fail-proof ways to introduce a new person to how great venison is.
Since meat is a low-acid food, pressure canning is the only safe method for canning. Below are simple instructions to canning your own meat at home.
Canning Tools & Ingredients Needed
- Prepare canner and jars. Wash jars and sterilize in a hot-water bath; maintain a low simmer until you’re ready to use the jars.
- Cut meat into 1-inch cubes; remove any fat or sinew. Place the meat in a colander to drain excess blood.
- Remove jars from the water bath with a jar lifter and place them on a towel on the counter. Add 1 teaspoon of bouillon or soup base to each pint jar or 2 teaspoons for quart jars.
- Using the canning funnel, pack meat tightly into each jar, leaving 1″ headspace. Tip: each pint jar will hold about 1 pound of raw meat; each quart will hold about 2 pounds). Remove air pockets with a spoon handle; you won’t be able to remove them all but make sure there are no large gaps between the meat. Do not add liquid; the meat will make its own.
- Wipe jar rims with a paper towel moistened with vinegar to remove any juice or meat. Center lid on the jar. Tip: dip lids into hot water to heat the rubber for a better seal; it was previously recommended to boil lids, but no longer is. Screw the band onto the jar until ‘finger tight.’ Tip: don’t put the band on too tight; this will cause the lid to buckle.
- Place jars into the pressure canner and adjust the water level; water should be halfway up the jar. Place the lid on the canner and lock.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Vent steam for 10-minutes, then close the vent. Continue heating to achieve appropriate pressure.
Altitude – Weighted Gauge
- 0-1,000 ft – 10 pounds
- 1,001-8,000 ft – 15 pounds
Altitude – Dial Gauge
- 0-2,000 ft – 11 pounds
- 2,001-4,000 ft – 12 pounds
- 4,001-6,000 ft – 13 pounds
- 6,001-8,000 ft – 14 pounds
- Process pints for 75 minutes or quarts for 90 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain pressure.
- Turn off heat. Let pressure return to zero naturally. Wait 2 minutes, open the vent to allow any remaining pressure to release. Remove the canner lid, wait 10 minutes, then remove jars and place on a towel to cool. Store in a cool, dry place.
- Once the meat is processed and sealed, it is shelf-stable and can be stored for up to 18-months.
Game Processing Repertoire
Hopefully this article sparks just enough of your interest where you give pressure canning meat a try. You may find it fits nicely into your game processing and storage repertoire. It is a unique, fascinatingly old-world-meets-modern-world way of preserving game meat and also a way of cutting future meal prep time while creating culinary deliciousness. Written by BaseMap’s own: Sarah Honadel
ALL 50 STATES
– for one low price –