Not a garden harvest but definitely great bounty for the shelves. This post will cover how we canned ground moose meat and moose steak.
I actually had never done moose meat before, but have canned many other meats such as done pork chicken, beef etc. We grew up on wild game like venison and deer but we always ate from frozen.
My dad, brother and my sister in law get to go hunt moose usually in Cape Breton or Newfoundland when they win what’s called a “moose draw”. You have to apply and be chosen.
They are going again this year so the freezers need to be empty before they go. This was last year’s moose and the best way to make sure it’s good for another two years, at least, is to pressure can it.
Newfoundland is famous for their canned moose meat so I called in my neighbor and good friend Karyn, who is a transplanted Newfoundlander, and asked for some guidance as to how they do it.
It was a great conversation and fellowship. I love canning with people. It’s just such a fun way to spend time with people while putting up nourishment for your family, and sharing the work.
We touched on the old ways. We proceeded with how to can the meat safely with what we know now. The old way was usually to waterbath can it for hours and hours and then turn it upside down to get it to seal. She says some people still do that in Nfld. If you do that, it’s your food supply but don’t invite me to your potluck is how I look at that .
We know now that meat has to reach a temperature of over 240 degrees to kill off pathogens and bacteria harmful in canned food. That temperature can only be achieved with pressure canning. Waterbath canning only gets the temperature to 212 degrees. It doesn’t matter how long you do it. It’ll never get higher.
So we started by getting our jars ready half filling them with water, and heating them up in the water of our pressure canner. This is important so you don’t have thermal shock on your jars and crack them.
We took the jars out of the water in the canner poured the water back into the canner, and added 1/2 tsp salt to each jar.
With the ground moose meat, we browned it in batches with no more than a tbsp of fat (I used bacon grease of course). We then packed it into jars. adding boiling water from the canner to cover, leaving one inch headspace.
I always wipe the rims with vinegar on a clean cloth before applying the lids and rings.
Then we adjusted the water in the canner (my canner is a Presto) and added the jars.
I always steam vent for 10 minutes before adding the weight on the canner to bring it up to pressure. We canned it for 90 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure as per our altitude. Just like other meats and anything I can, I always let the pressure come down naturally, take the weight off the top, wait a few minutes and then remove the lid. I have found waiting 10 minutes before removing the jars makes a huge difference with syphoning or losing liquid from your jar.
We had run out of time, as it was getting late. So I started the moose steak the next morning in the canner first thing. We had trimmed all the fat, the bone, and the gristle away. I had put the meat in the fridge last night after we cut it up and it was cold. You can’t add it to hot jars like that or they will crack, so I seared the meat. It was still mostly uncooked, just browned on the sides.
Using the water from the jars heating in the canner, I added it to the pan to make a broth. After packing the meat in the jars, I added a ladle full of the broth, wiped the rims with vinegar and put lids and rings on.
This was pressure canned for 90 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure as well. Remember it’s always better to over process a little than to under-process.
To use this in meals, I will take it from the jar and bring it a boil for 5 min then add serve it up in soups or as a main dish accompanied by vegetables or one of our favorites is moose meat nachos. I do this with so many other meats and it’s so handy to have:
frees up freezer space,
keeps your supply chain close,
saves money (as you are less likely to eat out when you have food already prepared ) ,
and keeps you connected to nourishing food.
I’m so thankful to have moose meat ready to go on the shelf for the winter and add it to my repertoire of what I have canned over the 30 plus years I’ve been preserving food on my own.
As always, thanks for following along!
Love Jenn xx