A true foodie would always know how scrumptious beef jerky is! Delicious strips of meat are preserved using salt and dried in a cool, secure place until they’re completely shriveled up to the point where one can gorge on them at any time, be it on the go or as a late-night snack.
Beef jerky is generally favored due to its simplicity of not requiring further preparation. Plus, its long shelf life, with the potential of being stored for months at some ends, is truly perfect.
Talking about its shelf life, what if you wanted to prolong it even further? Can you freeze beef jerky, then?
Yes, you can freeze your beef jerky! Doing so will allow you to extend its lifetime by approximately 7 to 12 months. Simply put it in a vacuum-sealed package and pop that package into the freezer. Be sure to rid the package of any air to avoid freezer burn and improper freezing.
Best ways to store beef jerky!
The true essence of beef jerky can be enjoyed when it is fresh out of the package. But if you want to savor the freshness the next time you eat your jerky, you need to know how to store it properly!
There are multiple ways through which beef jerky can be stored to preserve freshness. We’ve discussed the top 5 ways to do so below!
Long term storage
OPTION 1: Freezing beef jerky
If you want to preserve your beef jerky for months, then the best way to store it is by freezing it up! Use a vacuum-sealed package to store your jerky and put it in the freezer straight away. If you’ve opened your package of beef jerky, then store it in an air-tight container and put the container into the freezer. This would preserve the jerky for up to 12 months.
OPTION 2: Dry canning beef jerky
Dry canning beef jerky is a cheap preservation method that can last you for months!
First of all, warm your mason jars (without the lids) inside the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Take the mason jars out and quickly put your beef jerky inside them. Put the lids back on tightly and let the jars cool at room temperature. This would create a vacuum inside the jars and preserve your jerky.
Short term storage
OPTION 3: Refrigerating beef jerky
Once you’ve opened the seal of your beef jerky, you need to refrigerate it in order to maintain its flavor and texture. Just place it in a zip lock bag, squeeze all the air out by rolling and pressing the bag, and pop the bag into the fridge. Your beef jerky will stay fresh for a week this way!
OPTION 4: Storing beef jerky in a zip lock or a paper bag
Pack your beef jerky inside a zip lock bag and secure the opening, making sure to keep as much air out as you can. If your jerky seems a bit moist, then put it in a paper bag before sealing it inside a zip lock bag. The paper bag will soak up any moisture in the beef jerky and keep it dry. You can store your jerky for 3 to 4 weeks using this method!
How long does beef jerky last inside the freezer?
Beef jerky can last in the freezer for 7 to 12 months if frozen properly. Make sure to use vacuum-sealed bags or air-tight containers to avoid freezer burn.
The variation of the period depends on the method of storage as well as the different ingredients in the beef jerky.
What happens if you freeze beef jerky?
To be honest, nothing! Freezing your beef jerky will barely have any effect on the jerky at all. It may slightly alter the taste and texture of the jerky but by such a small amount that most of us wouldn’t even notice!
The difference in taste may be caused by the level and type of spices that were added to the jerky during preparation. Apart from that, the types of preservatives added matters too, as even the slightest pinch of salt can affect the overall taste of your jerky post-freezing.
How to tell if your beef jerky has gone bad?
The most obvious sign of your jerky going bad is its smell. It will smell spoiled if it has gone bad. In some cases, the jerky might have mold growing on it too. Discard it immediately if this happens.
What is the white stuff on the beef jerky?
The white spots on beef jerky can either be fat, salt, or mold. If the spots are white solids on the surface of the jerky, then it is fat. If they are fuzzy or dusty looking accompanied by an off smell, then it is mold. However, the powdery substance can be salt; in this case, the jerky will smell normal.
Reasons for the white mold formation
If the beef jerky hasn’t been dehydrated fully, it will have moisture stuck in it. This moisture can lead to white mold formation upon exposure to air.
Will mold on beef jerky hurt you?
Mostly, consuming a small amount of mold-infested jerky will not hurt you. You might get minor symptoms of nausea and an upset stomach, but it will be nothing more than that. However, if you did consume a big piece of moldy jerky, then consult a medical expert immediately.
Can bad beef jerky make you sick?
Yes, it can. Any type of meat contaminated with bacteria and fungus can induce varying results from nausea and an upset stomach for some, whereas full-blown food poisoning for the rest.
Also read our viral post on freezing peanuts!
Related questions on beef jerky!
Why is it called jerky?
Jerky (originally “ch’arki”) is a word derived from the Quechua language meaning “dried, salted meat”. With time, the word became “jerky”.
Is eating beef jerky good for you?
Yes, it is! Beef jerky is a great source of protein, a number of vitamins, and minerals, including iron, zinc, folate, and phosphorus.
Can you lose weight while eating beef jerky?
Yes, you can. Any type of food high in protein reduces the need to eat more since protein digests slowly, hence increasing the amount of time where you feel full. Eating jerky also does not produce insulin, which is a hormone that the body uses to store fat.
Is jerky raw meat?
No, beef jerky is not raw. It is thoroughly cooked and then dehydrated for preservation.
Wrapping up my thoughts on freezing beef jerky!
Beef jerky can last for weeks at room temperature, but storing it for months would definitely require some freezing! You can safely freeze beef jerky by following all the tips we mentioned above. The life of jerky can vary based on the amount of salt and preservatives added to it, so keep an eye out for those at the back of the package in the ingredients section.
Finally, happy jerky freezing!