I’ve been busy canning venison lately.

Our weather warmed up some, with some days being above freezing, so I’ve been in a hurry, trying to get all of David’s deer canned up. He brought it home skinned and quartered in plastic bags. I’m working on a piece every day as we don’t have room in our freezer to freeze a quarter or more. Unfortunately, after doing half a quarter my fingers begin to cramp up badly and I have to quit till the next day. As you would imagine, that sure has slowed down my processing! But I have made two big batches of jerky and canned up a whole lot of venison stew meat. We use a lot of this stew meat, not only for stew, but also for pulled meat to use in barbecue sandwiches, in noodle hot dishes, stir fry, and lots of other recipes. As we also always have home-raised beef in the freezer, I don’t do a lot of steaks or chops. It does take a lot of time to cut up all those small cubes though. Once the meat has been cut up, I lightly brown it before packing it into the jars. Browning it shrinks the meat some and allows it to keep its shape. It’s getting done slowly, but surely and the weather has turned cold once again.

I lightly brown the cubes of meat before packing it into the jars.

One of our first fresh venison meals we had was a big pot of stew though, as it’s our favorite for this time of the year. So rich and hearty — everything is home-raised or harvested wild.

Our first venison meal after David brought home his deer was this yummy stew.

As the beaver were very busy cutting down poplar trees next to the pond this summer, Will is busy now, harvesting the trunks they left after taking all the tasty smaller branches and not-so-small pieces to use to build up their dam and lodge. I’m talking about cords of 8-inch and bigger tree trunks, forty to fifty feet long! That will be a whole lot of firewood for us next year. You should see the “roads” they made to those trees! And then they dug canals way into the stand so they could float the branches and logs out. Wow, industrious little beggars!

Today Will hauled a steer and cow in to the processing plant so I’d better get busy and clear out room in our freezer. A quarter of the steer will be ours — we sold the other three quarters. The cow will be ground for hamburger. She was a big cow but had a bad udder (she only had two functioning quarters and one of them was only so-so) and we were afraid at some point she would flare up with mastitis and perhaps die, so it was time for her to go. That’s life on the homestead. Luckily all of our cows will accept other cows’ calves too, so her calf won’t go hungry. — Jackie


  1. thanks for the exercise tips. I have been doing exercises for the hand cramps and it seems to have helped. Yesterday I cut up a whole deer quarter and didn’t have one cramp. Whew, what a relief!!

  2. In a recent post , you had mentioned canning potatoes . So I was curious and wanted your opinion on something. I have canned potatoes before , but I have always canned them with water . Lately I have seen numerous people on facebook talking about canning potatoes with no added water . In your opinion , would you consider doing this yourself ?

  3. Enjoyed some nice venison tenderloins yesterday with some nice sautéed onions. My husband has another one to cut up, so I will be hounding him for some bones to make broth to can. It’s going to be a little bit until my husband butchers our steer, so the deer bones will do for now. He has finally stopped harassing me about wanting the bones and automatically saves them for me. He realizes how awesome the broth is and how it can be used for so many things.

  4. We have been gifted venison this year. What a blessing ! We love venison. I made stew meat and noodles last night and it turned out wonderful. Our favorite venison stew uses apples, potatoes and onion – very tasty 😋

  5. I envy you that venison, and the beef too, to be honest. If I lived close, I’d be trying for a quarter of the next steer or even that cow. Really good lean ground beef is very expensive!

    Have you tried exercises for the hand cramps. The arthritis foundation (at arthritis.org) has exercise videos including one for the hands. You have to go down a couple levels, but it is a short 2 minute video with a couple good exercises. I’m a city dweller now, and that a water exercise class for arthritis with special exercises for arthritis and it has really helped my knee issues. The hand exercises help me when cooking or crafting start to bother my hands.

  6. I see your having trouble with your hands cramping up too. Just thought I would tell you that turmeric has made a real difference for me with my hand cramps. I had it really bad this summer and started taking turmeric about two months ago and it is almost gone now even with the cold weather. Love your blog.

    • I, also, take turmeric and have for about a year now. The good news is that my diverticulitis which plagued me to the point of considering recommended surgery, has not flared up since I began taking it! I also am sure to eat Noosa yogurt, recommended to me by a friend who is a surgical nurse who has a husband who had serious diverticulitis. Both have kept me pain-free! I found I didn’t have hand cramps if I let the venison thaw out a little bit more. I was cutting it when it was pretty stiff with ice crystals.

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