This is a multi-part report about the many uses of the FoodSaver vacuum seal machine.
Eating a big-game animal during the 12 months after placing it in the freezer is the perfect circumstance. After all, preservation specialists tell us there are limitations for keeping certain foods frozen without reducing the quality of a food.
Some would say foods kept frozen will last forever. This statement can be backed up with the discovery of frozen woolly mammoth carcasses, which stayed frozen for thousands of years in Siberia. Was the meat preserved well enough to eat? This part of the story isnít clear.
Hunters will not be preserving a woolly mammoth these days. However, a lot of deer, elk, other big game, small game and birds go into the freezer every year. How long will it last?
Some of the standard answers include: Turkey or chicken, nine months; steaks, six to 12 months; roasts, four to 12 months, hamburger, three to four months. All of these are listed as uncooked.
Of course, it isnít unusual for a hunter to reach in the freezer and find a hidden package of elk or deer meat from past seasons, perhaps a year or two or longer.
What to do? Throw it out? Eat it, but donít tell everyone how old it is? All of these are possibilities.
Recently the recipe for beef stroganoff popped up on my computer. A computer seldom displays one recipe, but hundreds or thousands. Many sounded interesting enough to give them a try.
Then another thought entered my mind: Why couldnít a hunter dig out an older piece of meat, thaw it out, cut it into suitable pieces, cook it and refreeze it?
Research was needed to continue this consideration. The WSU Grant-Adams County Extension was called. They currently didnít have a preservation specialist, but referred me to the WSU Chelan-Douglas Counties Extension.
This woman was a bundle of information. Yes, it is possible to thaw, cook and refreeze meat. She stressed, over and over, the need to practice safe food-handling procedures during this process.
Cutting the meat while it is still partial frozen was discussed. Also, after the meat is cooked and cooled, getting it back into the freezer was stressed. But how to package the meat?
The ideal situation involves using a machine for this purpose during the hunting season, fishing season and during everyday life. The FoodSaver vacuum seal machine is one such animal. It has saved time and money in my life.
Next week: More uses for the FoodSaver vacuum seal machine.