BY KIM HUGHES –
Fall in the Ouachitas means hunting season for many. Most people cook and eat some of their harvest, and then freeze the rest of it. Have you ever thought about canning some of the meat, but didn’t know how to do it safely? If the electricity goes off, as it usually does at least once in the winter, canned food will still be safe to use. A canning class is planned for November 11 from 9:00 am until noon brought to you by the Polk County Extension Service. Cost for the class is $10 and enrollment is limited. Call 479-394-6018 or come by the office at 211 DeQueen Street for more information and to sign up for the class.
Canning Game – Only good quality properly cleaned and cooled game should be canned. To ensure safety of canned meats, meat must be processed in a pressure canner to reach a sufficiently high temperature for a long enough time to kill all bacteria that cause spoilage or food poisoning. Large game animals are canned like beef. Small game animals and birds are canned like poultry. Either type of meat can be raw packed or hot packed.
Canning Fish – Although freezing is the easiest way to preserve fish, canning does offer some advantages, particularly if one lacks freezer space. The only safe way to process fish is in a pressure canner. Fish that has been frozen can be safely canned; thaw fish in a refrigerator and can promptly. Follow recommended canning procedures carefully. Caution: Eviscerate (clean) fish within two hours after they are caught. Keep cleaned fish on ice until ready to can. Fish may be canned with its bones. They add to the flavor and nutritive value of the product; however, it is recommended only pint or smaller containers be used.
During this class you will learn how to safely prepare and can meats of all types including beef, deer, poultry, squirrel, rabbit, turkey, fish, etc. Following the lesson in food preservation we will actually go into the kitchen and can some meat so you will be comfortable doing it at home. Call soon to reserve your spot. Deadline for registration is Monday, November 10.