Have you been wondering how long beef jerky lasts? What is the best way to freeze it? We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll discuss when and why to freeze your dried meat.
The shelf life of beef jerky is typically 3-4 months, but you can also extend the shelf life up to 7-12 months by properly freezing it. The freezing process will require the meat to be cut into smaller pieces before being packaged in a vacuum-sealed bag or freezer wrap.
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How to Freeze Jerky?
Freezing Unopened Jerky
If you’re freezing unopened packs of jerky, stick these in the freezer, no other prep is required. If you’re freezing opened packs of jerky, get rid of the jerky from its original product packaging. Place the jerky in a freezer-safe, resealable product packaging.
Vacuum seal the jerky before freezing. As soon as it’s been defrosted, this extra action will undoubtedly keep the tastes and structure of the item. If you do not have a vacuum sealer, press as much air as possible before sealing the plastic bag. Stick in the freezer, and also, you’re done.
Freezing Homemade Jerky
For freezing homemade jerky, make sure the jerky has cooled down and dried out completely before freezing. A hint of moisture or condensation within the packaging might boost the danger of fridge freezer burn!
Once the jerky awaits cold, put the product in resealable plastic containers and squeeze as much air as you can before securing. Get a pen, write the label. After that, stick it in the fridge freezer.
How to Defrost Jerky?
Thaw frozen jerky by transferring the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave to defrost for a few hours or overnight. Never thaw at room temperature because this will increase the risk of bacterial growth and spoilage, so it’s best consumed right away after being re-frozen once with no noticeable change in flavor or texture!
When the product has been thawed, it’s ready to eat as is. It’s worth keeping in mind that you should consume the defrosted jerky right away to decrease the risk of spoilage. It’s not an excellent concept to refreeze defrosted jerky. There will be a substantial change in flavor and appearance when the jerky is frozen more than once.
Jerky: What You Need To Know
Jerky is lean strips of cooked and/or dried meat that come in different varieties, such as beef, buffalo, lamb or venison, and others.
Jerky is usually created by slicing the meat into thin strips then marinating it in a sweet-salty curing mixture before drying it with low heat to produce the distinctive jerky texture. A good jerky has a strong savory smell and spice flavor without excessive moisture.
The dry preservation process of this smoked meat form makes it ideal for storing over long periods of time. When packaged appropriately, usually vacuum sealed with oxygen absorbers – the shelf life can last for up to 3 years on average if stored at cool temperatures between 40 F and 70 F.
How to Make Beef Jerky Last Longer?
Let’s have a look at what affects the lifespan of beef jerky, as well as actions you can require lengthening that time.
Always Buy Lean Meat
When it comes to making jerky, fat is the enemy. If there had not been fat, fat would ruin quickly as well as make the jerky go rancid quicker than it would. Buy lean meat and trim all visible fat before drying.
Use A Cure
Many commercial producers use a cure containing sodium nitrite to extend the life of their jerky to 1 year. This avoids microorganisms that can survive in meat that is only dried out and not prepared. It is not necessary to use a cure, and most homemade dishes do not include one. Therefore, you will undoubtedly heat a homemade jerky to 160 ° F, enabling your jerky to stay bacteria free without a treatment.
If you want to include a cure in your dish, a preferred treatment you can gain at your local supermarket would be Anthony’s Pink Curing Salt No.1. I personally use Hoosier Hill Farm Prague Powder Curing Salt, which I gain online. This includes Sodium Nitrite, which will assist in conservation. When using a treatment, you certainly observe that it gives jerky that red color you typically experience from store-bought products. It will certainly likewise alter the preference, giving it that beef jerky tastes every person familiar with.
Dry Your Jerky
The longer you completely dry jerky, the longer it will last. Over drying out, jerky will cause it to be exceptionally crunchy. Completely dry jerky to the desired texture and concentrate on the storage strategies noted below to extend your jerky life.
Store Jerky Properly
Have you ever wondered why beef jerky can stay good for so long? The answer is because they have removed the oxygen from their finished product packaging. This usually happens by shooting nitrogen into the package, which blanks out all the air and replaces it with a gas that’s not as likely to create an oxidation and spoilage reaction in your delicious snack!
You probably don’t have any jars filled up with this magical substance lying around at home, but there are some things you can do when storing your food to keep them fresh longer anyway-
- Allow cooling for several hours before storing the jerky in airtight containers.
- Storing for a day or more in a paper bag enables the jerky to remove any existing wetness, which will undoubtedly assist it last longer. This can be done before storing in an airtight container.
- Include food-grade oxygen absorbers (Oxy-Sorb Oxygen Absorbers for Food Storage) in your plastic bag or canning container. Getting rid of the oxygen in your bundle helps protect against microorganism’s growth, prolonging the service life of your jerky.
- Usage of vacuum packaging methods can extract oxygen to avoid perishing (Foodsaver FSFSSL2244-000 V2244). Vacuum sealers are very inexpensive as well as they work excellent for keeping homemade jerky.
- Store in a cool, dark place like a pantry. Do not leave jerky in direct sunshine as this can trigger condensation within the bag, leading to mold and mildew. However, a little fogging is alright. If water droplets appear inside your jerky bag, get rid of jerky and dehydrate longer. Water droplets let you recognize that the jerky was not appropriately dried.
- If you intend to keep jerky for longer than 1-2 months, you can freeze it for up to 6 months. Freezing can alter the preference of jerky as well as I directly do not advise it. A better practice is making smaller-sized batches and eating within a month or more, instead of making an extensive set and having too much jerky simultaneously.
How Long Does Jerky Last?
The shelf life of unopened beef jerky is typically about three to four months. If you store it in a vacuum container, it may increase the lifespan by up to one year. However, this will depend on which type of packaging material and storage environment you use for your jerky.
If you plan on freezing your meat, here are some tips for you:
- Vacuum seal the meat to reduce freezer burn.
- Freeze it in individual portion sizes and remove what you need when needed. This trick will help protect your food’s quality and keep it fresh longer.
- If freezing a sizable amount, make sure that you separate each piece.
How To Tell If Jerky Has Gone Bad
If your beef jerky goes bad, you will know it.
The most common sign that a protein food has gone bad is when mold forms on top of or inside the meat. Mold can be black, greenish-gray, or white and may have fuzzy edges. This telltale sign doesn’t always indicate spoilage. Sometimes, bacteria on surfaces like countertops and cutting boards could create similar molds (sometimes hard to see).
Suppose you’re not sure if your beef jerky is healthy enough for consumption; try smelling it first. Spoiled proteins often smell sour or rank because of bacterial breakdowns.
Finally, remember that airtight packaging slows down oxidation and helps prevent rancidity. So keeping your beef jerky in an airtight container and sealing it tightly will extend its shelf life.
As you can see, we’ve answered all of your jerky-related questions. It’s important to know how long jerky lasts and the best way to store it, so it does not spoil too quickly. If you still have any further requests or concerns regarding your favorite protein snack, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section.