If you are wondering where and how to store your wild game venison this article will help you decide between different food storage options and the most suitable option for your big game meats. Although frozen meat lacks freshness and hence the taste of wild game meat, all the nutrients stay alright if frozen properly.
Here’s a quick summary of the timeframe for storing with different packaging methods. Remember you have to store under 0 F temperature in a freezer.
|Plastic Bag||3 month||6 months|
|Freezer Paper||6 months||1 year (12 months)|
|Vacuum Sealed||1 year (12 months)||15 months|
Historically a hunter used to choose autumn and winter as hunting seasons because winter was the best season for meat preservation. That was a long time ago when electricity was not available and the freezing process was primitive.
Today we have a much easier choice to preserve deer meat. There were many antibacterial techniques a long time ago to preserve venison such as drying or making sausage items. But today we have a refrigerator to keep the venison good in the Freezer and enjoy all kinds of delicious recipes, like steak, stews, chops, roast, etc. made from deer throughout a longer time frame.
Venison can be kept good in the fridge for months. For example, cut the meat in larger pieces and keep it below zero degrees Fahrenheit, it will stay good for a long time (9 12 months) and cooked items stay good only for 2 3 months.
Keeping the meat in the freezer without packing is not a good idea, because meat quality will degrade in the freezer over time. Possibly you will not end up with rotten meat but all the taste will be gone. There are some packaging techniques that I will discuss in this article. The better the packaging process is used, the longer it will stay fresh in the deep freeze.
Packaging Recommendations for Frozen Venison to Stay Good in the Freezer
Before you put the meat inside the freezer, there is a risk of bacteria. The progressions of bacteria stay down at 30 to 35 degrees and stop all action when the meat starts freezing.
Since the animal is big enough, you must quarter it or slice it into small pieces. When it comes to slicing, the packaging is a must. Bad packaging can ruin the most part.
Besides, having enough room in the refrigerator is compulsory. Normally there are two types of freezer, chest freezer or also known as deep freezer which are designed like a box and upright freezer. Because of the size of wild game animals, you have to go through the packaging system.
There are some tools you will need such as cutter plastic wrap, some packaging papers (i.e. freezer paper, wax paper), tape, scissors, and a marker pen.
Step-by-step Packaging Instruction
- Take out the cling wrap paper twice or thrice the amount of the venison.
- Keep the deer meat on the paper. Make sure the wrapping paper is long enough. Comfort the cutter and cut the wrapping paper.
- Wrap the cling wrap paper over the meat and push the air out of it. Remember cold air is big trouble for venison and causes freezer burn. That’s why this part is very vital so do this part carefully.
- Wrap the package good and close-fitting.
- Now bring out the freezer paper and expand it. One side of the paper is dull and the other side is glossy. The glossy side will be considered as the inner part.
- Place the wrapped meat lengthwise on the freezer paper. To fold up in a proper way make sure the paper crosses the edge of the wrapped meat; otherwise, it will not fold upright.
- Take scissors and cut the paper. Once you cut the paper just take it, grab it, make the end look cool, and fold that up nicely.
- Take a tape and peel off some out of it. Close the paper nicely.
- Take a marker and write the date over the package. It will help you decide in the future if you were storing beyond the recommended timeline.
If you want to preserve for a longer period of time, you must apply the packaging technique properly. The oxygen in the air is one of the main culprits when you are freezing venison or freezing ground beef.
There are also other techniques to rid of the air. Circumscribing the meat in a plastic freezer bag is a cool technique. But this technique is not good enough if you plan to save it for a year. If you intend to store it for 4 to 6 months then it’s ok.
Otherwise, you have to go for the best preserving process which is also known as the vacuum sealing process.
Vacuum Sealing Process
To keep the meat fresh this one is the most potential process of all. Venison in plastic bags will stay good for 4 to 6 months; in freezer paper, it will last 8 to 12 months, but if you use a vacuum sealer bag the meat will last more than a year.
Proper vacuum sealing prevents freezer burn by creating an airtight environment. To retain moisture in food this process is advisable. But vacuum-sealed meat can be contaminated by bacteria if the temperature goes above 2 or 3°F. I personally use vacuum seal machines for sea fish, game birds, and venison. Now let’s check the vacuum sealing process.
- Take a Vacuum sealer bag and seal one side straight.
- Put the meat in there.
- Add some herbs or marinades. Scientifically there might be a good purpose but for me, I use this because it sucks the extra air.
- Place the other side of the bag gently on the machine and don’t spill anything around or else it will lead to ineffective sealing.
- Press the seal button and wait until the light gets off. Other vacuum sealing machines will give you an indication by turning the light red, follow the menu book.
- You can seal one part twice for extra safety.
In this process, your ground venison meat stays good in the freezer for a long time. Now you can rest assured about the safety of the venison for 1.5 to 2 years.
How do I know if the Frozen Venison is not Spoiled?
After long-term preservation when you take the sealed packet out of the freezer make sure it’s not ruined. You should always check your frozen meat for spoilage and foodborne illness. Remember to defrost your venison in the freezer for 12 hours for the best defrosting result.
- If the smell is reeking or spiteful then something is wrong. You should discard it immediately if you find a distinct odor.
- Observe the color. If the color turns into grey then the venison is spoiled.
- Touch it. Spoiled meat will feel sticky.
Well, this is your responsibility to feed your family healthy and tasty food. As I mentioned earlier air reaching the food is the main reason for food damage. Despite the taste changes, it is still safe to eat.
I hope you had a good understanding of how long you can preserve your venison in the deep freezer or chest freezer. If you follow our recommendations you will be able to enjoy your meat beyond the hunting season.