I recently processed a whole deer - first time, and it was great fun. My two boys got involved.
I was tipped off that a vacuum sealer would be a good thing to have, and it has turned out really well. I used it for all the meat, but also the stock. Since then I've frozen a whole bunch of pre-prepared meals, huge batches of stewed apple and blackberries.
Write a nice clear label onto the bag, then freeze it.
I thought it would be a device that lives in the cupboard, and comes out rarely. It has ended up being used multiple times per week and lives out on the side. I haven't tried sous-vide cooking with it, but it is on the list.
While I have a similar one, the plastics bother me. When I do use it maybe once a year, I make a bag somewhat larger than needed. That assures that I get multiple uses out of each bag….even for a similar sized item. I have found that food keeps much longer in my freezer when I use it.
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I weighed up the plastics issue, but decided that preserving gluts of food was probably a greater good in this case.
We get substantial amounts of rhubarb, berries, apples etc... from the garden through the year. In our case we waste some each year, because we can't store it long term. I'd never have been able to cope with 24kg of venison in one go, without something like this.
I'm really looking forward to using it to a take the pressure off in term time. I have a few frozen meals from the holiday, that I can crack out for a low effort but supper yummy meal for the family.
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I am very plastic averse but vacuum sealing meat is the most consistent storage option that I have used. I deep freeze a quarter cow, quarter pig, and whatever I might get in a hunting/fishing season.
I have tried butcher paper, containers, and a few others but the longest storing GOOD quality meat has come from the vacuum bags. The only 'saving' grace if you want to call it is that most bags can be cleaned and recycled.
I plan on trying canning with some meat, but I have to do a lot of learning before I would feel comfortable doing it.
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