Canned Venison Stew

Are there any forgotten roasts in your freezer from last year?  Here is a perfect way to make some space in the freezer and still enjoy the meat- can it!

Start by trimming away any discolored outer pieces that may be freezer burnt, they will look brownish, and trim off the silver skin sinewy bits with a sharp boning knife that has a little flex to it. You want to get to the fresh-looking red meat.  If it was truly a long, lost forgotten roast that is brown most of the way through and has that freezer burn smell, you may want to discard it or cook it up for a canine…if you can get to fresh looking meat, proceed!  

When canning meat you must use a pressure canner.  A hot water bath canner does not get hot enough to kill botulism spores.  This is not worth messing with- use a pressure canner or just make stew and skip the canning part until you have the right equipment.  It is also important to follow a recipe from a reliable source, such as The National Center for Home Food Preservation, Cooperative Extension, or the Ball Blue Book.  The following recipe is from a beef stew recipe from the 2011 version of the Ball Blue Book.  Substituting venison for beef in a recipe is okay, but some changes to tested recipes are not safe, like adding thicken agents to soup or stew.  Make sure you have a reliable recipe for canning meat that has been tested.  If you are not sure, check with your local Cooperative Extension.

Venison Stew with Veggies

4-5lbs venison stew meat, trimmed, and cut into 1” cubes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 qts. potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
2 qts. largely diced carrots
3 cups chopped celery
1.5 tsp salt (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme or sprigs of fresh herbs (rinsed off)
½-1 tsp black pepper
Garlic cloves (optional)

Brown the cubed meat in olive oil in a large stock pot. Add the veggies and seasonings to the meat in the stock pot, but leave out garlic clove and fresh herbs if using them as they will be added later to the jars.  Pour boiling water over the mixture to cover it. Bring the mixture up to a full boil.
If seasoning with garlic or fresh herbs, place them directly into the hot canning jars. Jars must be hot before adding the boiling stew mixture or they could break from thermal shock.  Ladle hot stew into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust two-piece caps. Process pints for 1 hour and 15 minutes and quarts for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner- use 11psi if using a gauge-type canner to insure 10 pounds is maintained for the entire time. The pressure is adjusted by adjusting the temperature with your burner.

When the proper time is up, turn off the burner and go do something else for a while, letting the pressure come down to zero on its own and getting things cool enough to safely handle. Make sure you clean the jars, including under the band before storing them in a cool, dark place. And write the date and content on thejars.  Should yield about 7 quarts..


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