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Meat and fish

Freeze or can wild game

Suzanne Driessen

Eight steps to freeze wild game meat

  1. Trim fat to reduce strong flavor changes that may occur during freezer storage.
  2. Divide the meat into meal-size quantities.
  3. To prevent freezer burn, use moisture/vapor-proof wrap, such as heavily waxed freezer wrap, laminated freezer wrap, heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic freezer storage bags. DO NOT use garbage bags.
  4. Press out all of the air before sealing.
  5. Label packages with contents and date.
  6. Avoid overloading the freezer. Freeze only the amount that will become solidly frozen within 24 hours.
  7. Place packages in freezer to allow air to circulate for quick cooling and freezing.
  8. Recommended storage times for wild game held at zero degrees F:
    • Ground game meat — 2 to 3 months
    • Roasts and Steaks — 8 to 12 months
    • Stew Meat — 2 to 3 months

Canning wild game: safety first

How to can meat, strips, cubes, or chunks (bear, beef, lamb, pork, veal, deer, elk)


Choose quality-chilled meat. Remove excess fat. Soak strong-flavored game for 1 hour in brine water containing 1 tablespoon of salt per quart and rinse. Remove large bones. Cut into 1-inch wide strips, cubes, or chunks.

Hot pack

Precook meat until rare by roasting, stewing, or browning in a small amount of fat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Loosely pack jars with pieces and add boiling broth, meat drippings, water; or tomato juices (especially with wild game) leaving 1-inch headspace, then pressure can.

Raw pack

Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Loosely pack jars with raw meat pieces, leaving 1-inch headspace. Do not add liquid. Adjust lids and process.

Recommended process times for Minnesota

  1. Dial-gauge pressure canner
    Pints — 75 minutes @ 11 PSI
    Quarts — 90 minutes @ 11 PSI
  2. Weighted-gauge pressure canner
    Pints — 75 minutes @ 15 PSI
    Quarts — 90 minutes @ 15 PSI


Related resources

Revised by Suzanne Driessen 2016

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