Frozen venison and fish - how long?!
I know that freezing doesn't really do wonders for the texture of food. I also know that Americans tend to come down on the paranoid side of how long to keep food and that most lists of how long to keep something frozen stop at 6 months max. for anything. That said, a friend of ours gave us some venison and some halibut, both frozen in vac packs almost a year ago. I am actually going to cook these things, so I can't imagine that I need to be worried about bacteria, no matter how long they've been frozen......or should I.....(scary suspenseful music....)?? I'm guessing the fish is not going to fly, but I'd love to know if anyone has any experience with this.
In my experience, there is no problem with game or fish at 1 year - vacuum packing really makes a difference! The fish (experience is mostly tuna-types) might be loosing a big in the texture department, but otherwise is OK.
unless its been mishandled - bacteria isn't a problem. As an alaskan that grew up subsistence style its all about how freezer burned its gotten. Vac packs greatly reduce that. Oily fish lasts better( salmon better than trout or halibut). If any of the meat is visually paler than the rest - I'd cut it off.
Cooking method is slightly different too - I will cook a fresh frozen peice of salmon much like i make it fresh - an old piece gets turned into sausage or fish cakes or chowder. Letting the seasoning detract from any stale flavor. If the flesh is disclored it will taste like freezer - if not u have a good chance at a good meal.
I'd probably stew the venison but same rules apply - if it looks freezer burned trim it if u can and if the whole piece is discolored , toss it. Unless your starving, then its still protein.
Can't speak to the fish, but the venison should be absolutely fine. It's October, so we're eating up venison like crazy getting ready for the next batch in November. Ours comes from the processor not in vac bags, but in good old fashioned butcher/freezer paper. I have never had a problem, even with something as minor as freezer burn. coastie mentioned stewing as method to deal with the possible loss of texture; for us this has not been an issue. We just had some venision chops done Schnitzel style and they were perfect in texture. Still, we do have a chest freezer, which is going to give you a more consistent and "colder" cold than the over-the fridge-freezer or side-by-side freezer. Maybe find out in which type of freezer these items were stored?
Defrost the meat and look at it. If it's something that looks good to you and you'd buy, it's okay ( ref., coastie saying bacteria is not a problem). Depending upon your assessment of the meat, decide on your cooking method.
What cuts of venison do you have, anyway?
I'm eating venison from last season and it's still good. I don't think that fish holds up as well.