Living off the land is not as hard as most may think. One of the most unrealized sources of meat we have access to is venison. Venison is a very lean meat which can make it challenging to cook but so much healthier than beef.
Deer will not marble fat like beef so it’s much lower in cholesterol and saturated fat. If you are into keeping your cholesterol low, switching some servings of beef for venison is the ticket. Minerals are about the same and most likely vary depending on the deer’s diet.
Venison will also taste different depending on the diet they eat. Some deer have more fat than others and some will taste stronger than others. If you like a milder, wild taste, a young doe will do nicely.
I highly recommend learning to hunt deer versus buying deer. Venison sold in stores is fed on a diet of bagged feed much like the feed that they feed goats and sheep. The ingredients may differ than the exact goat and sheep feed, but it lacks the flavor and clean taste of wild, harvested venison.
Harvesting your own deer is also great for your soul. More and more people are realizing how important it is to know where your food comes from. When you are detached from your food source, the respect for the food is gone. Knowing where your food comes from makes it taste much better and connects you to your environment.
Not only is harvesting venison good for your health and soul, but it saves on the pocket book. An average sized Pennsylvania deer will give you about 60 lbs of meat after processing. Store bought venison is generally over $20.00 a pound! Price per pound of a deer you harvest will be about “PRICELESS”!
Placing a proper shot on your deer for a fast death and gutting it quickly will assure you the best venison possible. Ideally, you want a double lung shot for the least amount of meat waste. This puts the deer down quickly. Tag your deer, then gut it quickly. Prying open the carcass with a stick will help to cool it faster. If you are lucky to have snow, fill the carcass with clean snow.
When you harvest a deer, really consider processing it yourself. Processing an animal the size of a deer is quite simple. If you have never done it before, it may seem awkward, but it really isn’t bad. I have taught many adults and children on the proper processing of venison. The more you do it, the more you will like it and the better you will be.
You can find many books and video’s on the internet dealing with field dressing and processing venison. Study it well before the time comes and you will be able to surprise yourself. I do highly recommend you hang your deer for at least 2 days if it’s cold enough to do so. Just wrap it with deer wrap to keep bugs and birds off of it while it ages. This will tenderize the venison, make it easier to cut, and take some of the gaminess out of the taste.
A favorite way to eat venison at our house is canned. This sounded weird to me the first time, but it’s my family’s favorite way to eat venison. Canning makes it easy to use on just about any meal, no need to freeze, and makes it tender. Canned venison is as easy as cutting chunks of venison and stuffing it tightly in a canning jar. We like to add 1 tsp of sea salt and 1/2 a slice of bacon to the jar. Then just pressure cook according to a proven recipe.
There are many ways to eat venison. Most people have never had it processed properly and have had it cooked tough. They will be hard to convince at times, but if they have it properly made, they will love it. You can always grind the meat and mix it with pork or beef if needed.
Existing hunters, I applaud you. Taking a kid hunting while teaching them to respect everything about life. For those on the fence, give yourself a chance and take the plunge into real life.
Our Rustic Farms Homesteading lifestyle is so gratifying. We love to share what we’ve learned and help those who may be new to homesteading. Live this natural lifestyle and share it with your family.
Living a natural life and homesteading is very important to my family. This is why we have created our ebook Homesteading at Rustic Farms. We are sure that our ebook will give you many ideas and show you many needed projects.