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.
Custaloga Town French and Indian War Encampment set to take you back in time this weekend
Coordinators of the ninth annual Custaloga Town French and Indian War Encampment believe this year’s event will have all the historical thrill of its predecessors and more with the addition of an exciting new feature — visitation from members of the New York-based Seneca Nation of Indians.
Volunteers set to boost Pymatuning fish habitat today; and your outdoors briefs for the week starting June 11
The Pymatuning Lake Association seeks able-bodied volunteers to help with the construction of “cribs” today.
Pymatuning State Park looks to give you more room to enjoy the great outdoors
Pymatuning State Park may grow by 18 acres under a plan made public Tuesday at the Crawford County Board of Commissioners’ meeting.
Mastering the art of the call is essential to turkey season success
Do you think that calling wild turkeys into shotgun range is some sort of art form that can never be yours?
Or do you see yourself as a master caller, a being with special powers sent from above, because you have been successful in the turkey woods the past few years?
Fishing-related family fun set for hatchery today
An annual family friendly, mostly free entertainment and education event is today.
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.
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- Custaloga Town French and Indian War Encampment set to take you back in time this weekend