UNIVERSITY PARK — Deer hunting is an old tradition worth preserving. And when it comes to preserving venison, according to a food scientist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, an old traditional method for preserving meat might be best. Too often, successful hunters will take their deer carcasses to the butcher and have all but the steaks ground, noted Martin Bucknavage, senior extension associate in food science. “For all the effort put into hunting the deer, it’s a shame that all we can show for it is hamburger patties that probably were blended with beef or pork,” he said. “One way to better utilize parts of the deer you would normally grind is by canning them. With little effort, you can take the shoulder or the hind quarter and convert it into a product that can be used in many meat dishes.” Canning has a number of advantages, Bucknavage pointed out. For one, the canning process will make the tougher cuts of meat more tender. This process also serves to neutralize some of the strong, gamey flavor that can be associated with deer. Once canned, this venison is ready to be added to most any meat dish. “You can add it to stew, chili or a meat casserole with little or no preparation of the meat,” he said. “Having it in a canning jar also means that less of your freezer will be filled with packaged venison.” When canning venison, it is better to cut the meat into chunks or cubes, Bucknavage explained. Meat first should be trimmed to remove fat and connective tissue and then cut into 1-inch cubes. “There are two basic ways to can — hot pack or cold pack,” he said. “In hot pack, the chunks of meat are seared in a frying pan and then ladled into a jar along with boiling meat juices or broth. In the cold pack method, the chunks are packed loosely into a jar and the jar is sealed without adding any extra broth.” A pressure canner is a must if you are canning venison or any other meat, Bucknavage stressed. Once the jars are prepared, they are placed into the pressure canner, and following established processing procedures, the jars are heated under pressure for a given amount of time. “Once complete, and the pressure canner is cooled, the jars are removed and stored for future use,” he said. “Then, whenever you have a hankering for venison, it is on the shelf and ready to go. There are no worries about thawing out the meat, freezer burn or the venison being too tough to enjoy.” The National Center for Home Food Preservation web site lists all of the processing times and temperatures for cubed meat or any other product you wish to preserve. It is important to follow these established processing times to prevent foodborne illness, Bucknavage noted. Bucknavage suggested contacting your county Penn State Cooperative Extension office if you have questions about home canning. A series of online publications, titled Let’s Preserve, also is available for download. To access the publications, go to http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/Publications.asp and type “canning” into the title/description search field.
Now that winter is nearly over, let's get ready for trout season
With another long and brutal winter hopefully pretty much behind us, many Pennsylvania anglers are already looking ahead to our state’s trout season opener. As in the past several years, opening day of trout season will vary by region. For trout anglers fishing in the eight-county Northwest region, opening day is April 12.
Here are outdoors news and activities notes for the week beginning Jan. 29
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is encouraging anglers to vote online by Friday for their favorite color for a new series of fishing license buttons that will be available beginning in March.
“The buttons for this first year will be in the color which receives the highest number of votes,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Brought back by popular demand, this custom button is similar to the buttons offered by the PFBC in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and again in 1974 and 1975.
Each custom button will measure 1 3/4 inches (same as past, vintage buttons) with a high-quality pin-back design and feature the angler's customer identification number (CID), same as the number displayed on a paper license.
Anglers need to display only the button when fishing, as long as they are carrying a valid paper license. Go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2014-PA-Fishing-License-Button to vote.
New optional youth fishing license goes on sale Saturday
A new voluntary $1 youth fishing license will generate revenue to fund programs to increase youth fishing participation.
Outdoors news briefs and events for the week starting Jan. 15
Democratic Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has called for a public meeting to be held in Erie to discuss options for combating invasive Asian Carp.
New business group out to spread word about economic impact and benefits of hunting
I think that I’d be pretty safe in saying that hunting is a pretty popular pastime in Pennsylvania. Few people would dispute that. With nearly 1 million hunters heading afield each year in this state alone, it’s pretty easy to see a ripple effect between hunting expenditures and area economies.
Here are the outdoors briefs for the week that began Nov. 20
Gary Glunt of Black Ash Sportsman’s Club discusses the club’s youth pheasant hunt and chef Lisa Beck has a recipe for pheasant in cream sauce this week on Crawford County Outdoors on Armstrong channel 23.
Here are area outdoors news briefs for the week starting Nov. 6
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission reminds boaters that Nov. 1 marked the first day of mandatory life jacket wearing on boats less than 16 feet in length. This regulation that first went into effect in 2012 states that a person shall wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket) during the cold weather months from Nov. 1 through April 30 while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.
More information: Visit fishandboat.com.
Important reminder for boaters: Mandatory life jacket period starts Friday
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission reminds boaters that Friday marks the first day of mandatory life jacket wearing on boats less than 16 feet in length. This regulation that first went into effect in 2012 states that a person shall wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket) during the cold weather months from Nov. 1 through April 30 while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.
50-some-year veterans hunter shares tips that helped him hunt down 'Titan,' a 10-point buck
I’ve been deer hunting with a bow, rifle or muzzleloader for 50-some odd years and in the process I’ve made just about every mistake in the book. But I’ve learned a ton of information about the whitetail deer.
Here are news briefs about outdoor events and activities for the week starting Oct. 30
Duane Koller will talk with exhibitors at Antlers & Anglers and Lisa Beck makes wild west venison chili and venison cheese dip during the weeks of Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 on Crawford County Outdoors on Armstrong channel 23.
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- Now that winter is nearly over, let's get ready for trout season