NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Preserving the Wild

 Preserving the Wild


          After the hunt, after raising the chicken, the next step is safely preserve the unique flavor of that game or poultry. Poultry, red meats, game and seafood are all low-acid foods and must be processed in a pressure canner to assure their safety. Pressure canning requires specialized equipment and careful attention to detail – add in the safety requirements of low-acid foods and several “must-do’s” come up. Start with the basics:

-  Can only good-quality poultry, red meat, game and seafood. –

-  Chill home-produced meat soon after slaughter to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent spoilage.

-  Keep all work areas sanitary and meat clean.

- If meat must be held for longer than a few days before canning, freeze it.

- Store frozen meat at 0 F or lower until canning time.

-  Trim meat of gristle, bruised spots and fat before canning. Too much fat left on meat can lead to sealing failures.

- Have dial gauges on pressure canners checked annually.

- All pressure canners need to be vented for 10 minutes


          When filling jars with raw meat, do not tightly pack the jars. Filling the jar lightly is referred to as a loose pack. After placing raw meat in the jar and grasping the jar with one hand, firmly tap the bottom of the jar with the palm of your other hand. You also can place a folded dish towel or pot holder on your counter and firmly tap the jar on the towel or pot holder. Continue to add meat and tap the bottom of the jar until the desired head space is reached. Do not press the meat tightly into the jar.


          Preserving chicken, duck, goose, turkey or game birds - Choose freshly killed and dressed healthy animals. Large chickens are more flavorful than fryers. Dressed chicken should be chilled for six to 12 hours before canning. Remove excess fat. Cut the chicken into suitable sizes for canning. Chicken and other poultry can be processed with or without bones.  For a hot pack — Boil, steam or bake meat until about two-thirds done. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Fill jars with pieces and hot broth, leaving 1¼ inches of head space.

For a raw pack -add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart, if desired. Fill jars loosely with raw meat pieces, leaving 1¼ inches of head space. Do not add liquid.

          For processing times, Chicken without bones: Hot and/or Raw: Pints 75 min 11 lb. pressure.

          Chicken with bones: Hot and/or Raw Pints 65 min at 11 lb. pressure.

          A favorite of many families, is chili.  Whether made with ground beef or ground venison, the flavor and convenience is fantastic.


Chili Con Carne

3 cups dried pinto or red kidney beans

5½ cups water

5 teaspoons salt (separated)

3 pounds ground beef

1½ cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped peppers of your choice (optional)

1 teaspoon black pepper

3 to 6 tablespoons chili powder

2 quarts crushed or whole tomatoes

          Wash beans thoroughly and place them in a 2-quart saucepan. Add cold water to a level of 2 to 3 inches above the beans and soak 12 to 18 hours. Drain and discard water. Combine beans with 5½ cups of fresh water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Drain and discard water. Brown ground beef, chopped onions and peppers, if desired, in a skillet. Drain off fat and add 3 teaspoons of salt, pepper, chili powder, tomatoes and drained cooked beans. Simmer five minutes. CAUTION: Do not thicken. Fill jars, leaving 1 inch of head space. Processing times: Pints 75 min at 11 lb. pressure.

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