Consuming and Freezing Venison

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- If you are a deer hunter, chances are you'll have at least one deer in your freezer before Christmas.

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 comparison to domestic meat.

Calorie and fat content varies with the age of the animal. Usually there is less fat in game animals than domestic meat like beef and pork. For example, a 3 1/2 ounce portion, before cooking, of game meat, provides about 1/2 of the daily adult protein requirement and only 130 to 150 calories, believe it or not. As mentioned, game meats, like venison, are usually slightly lower in total fat but higher in polyunsaturated fats like grain fed beef.

Keep this in mind, proper handling of the venison at each step from the field to table helps ensure optimum eating quality. For immediate use, store the dressed venison in the refrigerator and use it within 2 to 3 days. To freeze venison properly, divide the venison meat into meal size quantities. In order to prevent freezer burn, use a moisture-vapor proof wrap such as heavy waxed freezer paper, laminated freezer wrap, heavy duty aluminum foil or freezer weight polyethylene bags.

With that said, and even before you use any of the material I just mentioned, wrap the meat in saran wrap to even further eliminate air spaces. Make sure to press the air out of the package material you use. Now, label the package with contents and make sure to write the date it was packaged as well.

Don't over load the freezer. Only freeze the amount that will become solidly frozen within 24 hours. The good news is that venison will keep one year or even more if wrapped right in your freezer. I had venison on the table that was two-years-old with no off quality taste.


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