Whitetail Hunting photo

A venison preparation tip from Hank Shaw, author of the award-winning food blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Your trophy is now heaped on the countertop in small mountains of meat. Here is how to keep the meat fresh-as-the-day-it-was-butchered if you plan to eat it in…

One Week: There’s no need to freeze it for such a short time period. Keep the meat well wrapped, and in the coldest part of the refrigerator, far away from the door.

One Month: Center the meat in laminated freezer paper. Fold the short ends over the meat and turn the package over on a countertop, keeping it in contact with the counter to push out air. Once it’s flipped, use your fingers to press the air out of the sides as if you were sealing an envelope. Repeat twice more and tape the flap.

One Year: There are two methods to keep meat edible for the long stretch. A vacuum sealer sucks all the air out of packages, staving off freezer burn and saving freezer space. If you don’t have a vacuum-sealer, freeze each cut in water. Place the meat in a zip-seal freezer bag, and fill the bag with ice water. Press down on the bag as you seal it so that water spills out of the top, driving air out of the bag. Also, I like to mark each package with the date, the cut, and a detail about the deer, such as “7-pointer by the swamp gate.” That way I can relive the memory with each morsel.