Go ahead and try your hand at canned bear meat for delicious and arguably more secure long-term storage.
Since freezers became a ubiquitous household appliance, pressure canning meat became something of a lost art. But it's a homesteading practice that has been gaining renewed interest in recent years.
It's also mighty fine eating when done correctly.
Here, Shawn Woods goes through the process of pressure canning a mature black bear he harvested in Oregon.
There are some clear benefits to canning over freezing. The most obvious advantage is that once meat is canned it requires no further energy expenditure to store it. If the power goes out on your freezer you could lose a heckuva lot of food, not to mention the time and expense you put into processing it for the freezer.
There's never a worry about a power outage affecting your meat stores with pressure canning. Pressure canned meat is also precooked, which saves future cooking time and makes it immediately edible should you lose all power or even be unable to cook food at all for any reason.
Woods' presentation is clear and detailed. He ends up with 14 quarts of chunked, juicy bear meat. He describes the bear meat as "incredibly tender [and] very flavorful."
"It will be perfect for stroganoffs, stews, and all kinds of chili and different meals," Woods says. "This canned bear meat is the perfect way to store it. You don't have to use up freezer space, and cooking it at that high temperature just makes it tender...and kills all risk of bacteria and that trichinosis parasite. It's a perfect way to enjoy your bear meat."
You can use similar pressure canning recipes for all kinds of wild game, although I can't help but smile at the mental image of a row of delicious and tender canned bear meat lining my basement root cellar (with some very cool labels of course).
Please visit the companion piece to this video article and see how Woods continues processing his bear by rendering the bear fat he mentioned at the end of this video.