Keeping Venison Fresh in the Freezer

If you are a deer hunter, chances of having venison in the freezer by Christmas are pretty certain. Venison needs to be handled properly along the way to have quality meat at the dinner table.

Game meats, like venison, are excellent sources of protein and are similar in composition to domestic animal meats. Calorie and fat content vary with the age and kind of species.

Usually, there is less fat in game meat than in domestic meat like beef and pork. For example, a 3 1/2 ounce portion (before cooking) of game meat provides about half of the daily adult protein requirement and 130 to 150 calories. As mentioned, game meats are usually slightly lower in total fat, but higher in polyunsaturated fats than grain-fed beef.

Keep this in mind, proper handling of the meat at each step, from field to table, helps ensure optimum eating quality. For immediate use, store the dressed venison in the refrigerator and use it within two or three days.

To freeze venison properly:

  1. Divide the meat into meal-size quantities.
  2. To prevent "freezer burn," use a moisture/vapor-proof wrap such as heavily waxed freezer wrap, laminated freezer wrap, heavy duty aluminum foil or freezer-weight polyethylene bags.
  3. Be sure to press the air out of the package prior to sealing.
  4. Label the packages with contents and date.

Don't overload the freezer. Only freeze the amount that will become solidly frozen within 24 hours. The good news is that venison will keep 9 to 12 months in the freezer, or even more if wrapped properly.

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