Jerky – whether beef, turkey, or a more unusual meat – is a delicious snack, but one that is nice to enjoy in moderation.
Therefore, especially if you bulk-buy jerky on offer, it’s important to know how to store your jerky, how to know if it’s gone bad, and how long your packet will last.
Don’t be alarmed. Because you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’ll be running through all of the above, plus how different storage and production methods affect your jerky.
What’s the lowdown?
Jerky’s made in many different ways, so your best bet is to go by the label on the packaging or the recommendations on your recipe. But, you should keep jerky unopened in your pantry. Opened jerky should be stored in your refrigerator.
What can I do to tell if my jerky is bad?
Store-bought Jerky should be checked for any damages to its packaging. If the packaging is not sealed properly, moisture and bacteria can enter, which could lead to mold growth.
Provided the seal isn’t broken, you should look for signs of degradation. Any changes in color and texture, and your jerky probably won’t be particularly tasty, even though it should be safe to eat.
You should inspect homemade jerky for differences in appearance, taste, and smell.
How do I store jerky?
Jerky lasts longer because of the way it is made. Salting the beef helps draw out moisture from the meat and keeps it moist. Next, the jerky can be vacuum sealed or nitrogen flushed to prevent unwanted bacteria and moisture.
Unopened jerky should be kept in an airtight container such as a pantry or cupboard.
Once you’ve opened your jerky, Reseal or transfer the bag to an airtight container. It is best to store the ingredient with a high amount of preservatives in it at room temperature.
If it’s not loaded with preservatives, or you want to be on the safe side, Store opened jerky in the fridge
You can check your label to see how to store your jerky. It depends on the flavor, curing time, and specific recipes.
For homemade jerky, if you’ve used a vacuum sealer or oxygen absorber, your jerky will store perfectly well in the pantry. If you don’t have that fancy equipment, you should keep your jerky in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
It might seem like you’re asking: Can I freeze my jerky?
Yes, it is. The texture and taste of your jerky can be affected by freezing it. You should choose the pantry if you have jerky that is unopened and store bought. The jerky will keep for a very long time at room temperatures.
To ensure that your jerky doesn’t get ruined by the freezing air, wrap it in an airtight container. For space saving, wrap it in silver foil with a freezer bag.
Frozen jerky can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator
What is the life expectancy of jerky?
Due to differences in the methods and ingredients used, different brands of jerky will keep their shelf life for different periods of time. Therefore, your best bet is to check your jerky’s packaging for storage periods. These are some general guidelines.
What to Expect Store-bought Jerky will last for at least 12 month from the date of purchase, and approximately 1-2 months after it expires if left unopened. Beef jerky that has lots of preservatives may even be good for 2 years.
When your beef jerky from the store is opened, it can last for about 1-2 weeks or up to 3-4 months in the fridge.
Made homemade jerky? Impressive!
If you’ve used a vacuum sealer or oxygen absorber on your jerky, you can safely store it in the pantry for 1-2 months. If you don’t have this equipment and opted for an airtight container, you can expect your jerky to last 1-3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Jerky: The lowdown
What methods were used, the ingredients and any preservatives are all factors that will affect how long your jerky stays fresh and what storage options you choose. You should follow the labeling. Here are some guidelines to help you stay on track.
If you buy store-bought Jerky, make sure to check for damages. If you find it’s been broken, your jerky should be tossed.
You’ll never go too wrong storing unopened jerky in the pantry and opened jerky in the refrigerator.
Expect store-bought jerky to last at least a year in the pantry as long as it hasn’t been opened. You can store it in one place for up to a week, and in your refrigerator for up to 4-6 weeks.