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Meat Packing for Long-Term Storage

How do you prepare your meat for the deep freezer and for future consumption, to minimize waste, facilitate preparation upon thawing, and to maximize your storage space?  There are hundreds of “proprietary” methods and millions of old wives’ tales, but there are also common-sense tips and tricks that will wring the most efficiency out of your techniques, tools, and meat.

Your goal is to minimize waste and produce the most usable and quickest-prepared meats while also avoiding over-the-top storage considerations.  Ideally you will save money through these techniques while ensuring ease of preparation and maximum usable content in your kitchen.

Tools of the trade:

*This article isn’t about butchering techniques; it’s more about thoughtful packing and preparation.  Each hunter will have his own technique for removing meat, and that will partially be determined by the conditions in which the animal is butchered.  Throughout this article though, some basic tips regarding butchering, transport, and cutting will be noted for incorporation in the preservation techniques.

Raw wild game generally stores well in excess of ten months and can be stored well over a year if packaged properly. Probably a more reasonable time period to would be to use the meat within nine months.

Some general notes about meat from a wild animal:

[1]Separate all the different cuts of meat and label accordingly, while selecting extra bits that have been cut off of the prime cuts for use in the sausage-making process (if you have the tools and knowledge to make it).  Consider making jerky from fresh meat before it goes into the freezer for an additional preservation method.

Wrap the meat tightly against each other (the other pieces of meat) within a heavy-duty plastic wrap, making sure to remove air as you wrap to keep the meat as bright and fresh as possible.   The more airtight you can get it, the better the meat will be when you use it.  Consider using a vacuum bagger to seal meat without any air, especially if you pack large quantities and need the maximum freezer life out of your meat.  If all you have is freezer bags, pack the meat as tightly as you can and remove air prior to doubling up the freezer bag for storage.

Other tips when freezing meat:

Hunting and harvesting your own meat is a tradition and practice which has been passed generation to generation through the years and won’t ever be a dying endeavor, but it’s important to be as efficient as possible and pay homage to the animal, the time and effort it takes to do the job, and the wonderful creations that you can make form the substance you take out of the wild.  Do what you can to avoid the waste, and you will keep yourself stocked with high quality and fresh meat.

©2011 Off the Grid News

Make fruit leathers and home-made jerky – FRESH!
With This American Made Dehydrator!