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Old 08-25-2010, 01:00 PM
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Default How long will jerky last if stored in FoodSaver-type vacuum bags?



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I'm interested in buying bulk jerky and repackaging it in vacuum pack bags with a FoodSaver.

My plan is to add jerky to slow cooked beans and rice dishes to add flavor and meaty goodness.

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge of the lifespan of the jerky stored like this? Ideally it would extend the use by date on the original packaging by several years.

What about smoked meats and fish?
Old 08-25-2010, 01:11 PM
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Good Heavens you would spend a fortune buying jerky.

If you don't hunt buy the cheapest beef you can find on sale and make your own.

I found jerky making in the oven to be very easy and pretty fast.

When your meat is semi frozen slice it as thin as you can with a knife or about an eigth inch on a slicer.

Dump it into a container and dose with soy sauce, garlic salt, and hot suace. Just guess at what will taste good for the first batch. This is so easy that you will make it again and adjust the recipe. Let it soak at least an hour but preferably over night in the fridge.

Spread it on wire racks (ideally) or just lay it on cookie sheets in the oven at 250F for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven to "warm" (+/- 125 F) and let it dry in the oven until it is as chewy or brittle as you desire. I usually take out the thin pieces and put the thick ones back in to dry a little longer.

THAT's IT! Done in an hour or so.

I have no idea how long it lasts since it never lasts very long at my house. I once found a ziplock bag full that had been lost - that was about 6 weeks old when I ate it with no ill effects.
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:25 PM
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good question, i have wondered this myself many times. lookforward to more answers
Old 08-25-2010, 01:28 PM
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Longest I have gone is a little over a year on black bear stix and jerky. Nothing wrong with them at all.
Old 08-25-2010, 01:29 PM
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It depends on several factors such as the moisture level of the jerky and how it was cured. The stuff sold in stores isn't designed for long term storage and is too moist for the most part.

Also, I've tried cooking with it and you can boil it till you're blue in the face and all you end up with is tasteless leather. It never really softens. It just loses flavor.

You can make your own and it will last a lot longer. If you want long term storage, use a meat cure and give it alot of smoke. You can make it last years that way. But it will have to be very dry and you'll have to do a good job removing any fats.
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:33 PM
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I would think that salt or chemically "cured" meats, vacuum sealed in a mylar bag would last years in controlled temps. Can't back that up with any hard data, sounds like a "report back here experiment" that needs doing...
Old 08-25-2010, 02:38 PM
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I wouldn't keep it much past they date on the bag.

If you are going to make your own, remember it is the fat that goes bad first. You don't want any marbling if you are going for a long shelf life. Salt in the soy sauce helps preserve it, so you need enough to be soaked into the meat. You also need to slice it really thin, so the inside dries out.

Shelf Reliance sells dehydrated meats. (You can get it at Costco on line too.) They say their shelf life is 25 years if left unopened. If you want long term storage, and you can not do liquid in cans, that is the way to go. It is a major investment. It would be good if we knew the process to get that shelf life.
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:13 PM
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Why not just can beef or chicken, that will last years when done properly. The major concern with jerky storage is it only takes one piece that has to much moisture or marbling to run a whole bunch thats in storage.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad in Seattle View Post
I'm interested in buying bulk jerky and repackaging it in vacuum pack bags with a FoodSaver.

My plan is to add jerky to slow cooked beans and rice dishes to add flavor and meaty goodness.

Does anyone have any experience or knowledge of the lifespan of the jerky stored like this? Ideally it would extend the use by date on the original packaging by several years.

What about smoked meats and fish?
Alton Brown from "good eats" on food network makes Jerky and claims 4yrs in a Jar, not a zip lock style bag, unfortunately he does not mention high quality vacum bags. i was pretty excited when i heard 4 yrs.. way longer than i thought.
You need to watch these 2 video's he actually does what your wanting to do, he takes jerky and rehydrates it in soup. very cool..

i bought an Excalibur dehydrator and my hunting buddies are gonna donate a ton of meat this winter. so for the first time, i looking forward to the COLD.


if you dont want to watch all of this.. the main part is at 6:30 on the 2nd video, then the soup part is at the end of the 2nd one.

Cheers.


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Old 08-25-2010, 08:28 PM
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We've made some of our own that has lasted better than five years, probably closer to six, and I think it could have gone longer.

Venison jerky is so low fat content ... soy sauce, some of my homemade pepper sauce, a little of this spice and that spice and just make sure it is good and dry.

Storage is where most people cost themselves shelf life.

Transparent bags of any kind do not work well. If the light can get to your jerky in any fashion then you'll shorten the shelf life.

If you vacuum pack as we do, then do a bunch of packs and then seal them in mylar. Then keep it cool. The cooler the better.

FWIW I remember stories, I cannot attest to whether they were true or not, but I remember hearing stories from Winter Warfare Cadre of jerky that was found up there that had been buried by English explorers in the mid 19th century that was still good when they found it back in the seventies or early eighties.

That's over 150 years and they kept theirs in tin boxes of sorts.

I also heard stories from a friend in Idaho of Indian jerky made from Buffalo and Elk that was purported to last for five years or more ... but they smoked theirs heavily and dried it brittle.
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Old 08-25-2010, 08:41 PM
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Make sure that you dry it at low temps, rather than cook it at a too high temp. I always used a 175 degree oven setting and propped the door open a couple of inches to let the moisture escape. Takes about 12-16 hours for 1/4" slabs.
Old 08-25-2010, 08:44 PM
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Moisture and fat content will make the biggest difference. I've dug out a hunting jacket from the previous year and found jerky in the pocket that was fine. It was hard as a rock, but the taste was okay. For long term storage, especially if your are planning to reconstitute in soups and stews, I'd dry it completely to a hard, crisp state. As stated above, most store bought jerky is too moist and it is extremely expensive. Make your own. You can make it out of basically any flesh: red meat, white meat, poultry, fish...

Consider canning and salting as well. It is good to diversify our storage methods. Frozen food might get wasted if you loose power. An earthquake or other "shake up" might cost you your bottled foods. Floods might cost you dried foods... Regardless, if you have your eggs in several baskets you have a better chance in the face of unforeseen events of saving some food.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groovy Mike View Post
Good Heavens you would spend a fortune buying jerky.

If you don't hunt buy the cheapest beef you can find on sale and make your own.

I found jerky making in the oven to be very easy and pretty fast.

When your meat is semi frozen slice it as thin as you can with a knife or about an eigth inch on a slicer.

Dump it into a container and dose with soy sauce, garlic salt, and hot suace. Just guess at what will taste good for the first batch. This is so easy that you will make it again and adjust the recipe. Let it soak at least an hour but preferably over night in the fridge.

Spread it on wire racks (ideally) or just lay it on cookie sheets in the oven at 250F for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven to "warm" (+/- 125 F) and let it dry in the oven until it is as chewy or brittle as you desire. I usually take out the thin pieces and put the thick ones back in to dry a little longer.

THAT's IT! Done in an hour or so.

I have no idea how long it lasts since it never lasts very long at my house. I once found a ziplock bag full that had been lost - that was about 6 weeks old when I ate it with no ill effects.
Thanks for sharing you knowledge with the rest of us!
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:42 PM
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Here's another forum link: they were talking about the same topic.
http://forum.bradleysmoker.com/index.php?topic=11032.0

Wow! Awesome recipes on the forum too. Lots of variety. They've got a sausage section too!
Old 08-25-2010, 10:45 PM
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http://www.thebeefjerkyblog.com/store-the-jerky-right/

Jerky Storage Tips and Guidelines

Jerky is renowned for its longevity and durability. After all, the flavorful, low calorie dried meat is the ideal hunting and fishing snack because it keeps for a long time and can be transported without special storage considerations. Maximizing that longevity is a quick and easy process that can be achieved by following a few simple jerky storage guidelines:

1) When storing commercially vacuum-packed jerky, do so in a cool, dry area. An environment that is free from excessive heat, light and moisture will prevent the healthy snack from aging before its time.

2) For homemade jerky, refrigerate those quantities which will not be consumed within two weeks. If you do not plan to consume the jerky for an even more extended period of time, freezing is the best option.

3) Keep the jerky in smaller, individual serving size packages when freezing. Doing so will allow the jerky to retain all of its terrific flavor and texture. You can freeze jerky for up to six months.

4) Store jerky in plastic bags with locking, re-sealable tops. For further protection, wrap the plastic bag in aluminum foil.

5) Air tight jars are ideal when storing jerky at room temperature. Be careful not to place jerky that is still warm in the jars before it is given an opportunity to adequately cool. Failing to do this can lead to the buildup of sweat on the inside of the container and could foster the growth of mold down the line. Keep in mind that when cooking jerky at home, allow for a freshness duration of no more than two months, especially if the jerky is prepared from wild game meat. Of course, commercially-packed air dried foods can last for much longer, sometimes as much as one or two years. Refer to the manufacturer’s label for specific information about the jerky you purchase.

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Old 08-25-2010, 11:30 PM
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Use a commercial jerk cure seasoning or find a recipe that includes using Tender Quick.

Using just salt, pepper, and soy based recipes (high salts) does not give you a true preserved meat.

I made soy based marinade jerky for decades until I decided to try to package and sell. Through out that educational process I learned much about what the State of IL, FDA and USDA require for retail sales of smoked/cured meats.

Short version? The salt, pepper, soy based soaks don't do anything towards preservation - it's all flavor. It's a total hit and miss (luck) situation - you either make and consume the jerky before it goes bad or your friends and family get violently ill and/or dead when that bad batch comes along.

I now use dry rubs including Tender Quick (nitrates and nitrites) combined with slow smoking for full/true curing.
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:44 AM
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Get a Nesco Dehydrator and make your own beef jerky. Store it in sealed mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

I've had a lot of bad experiences with the Food Saver bags busting the seal and losing their vacuum causing the food inside to spoil. About a month ago I had 7 out of my 10 of those Food Saver freezer bags break their seal on me after just sitting on a clean countertop for a few hours. If you have to use a Food Saver, go with the rolls instead of the pre-made bags. I haven't had any of the rolls that I made into bags lose their seal on me.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survivalistmomma View Post
If you are going to make your own, remember it is the fat that goes bad first. You don't want any marbling if you are going for a long shelf life. Salt in the soy sauce helps preserve it, so you need enough to be soaked into the meat. You also need to slice it really thin, so the inside dries out.

.

100% right. Remove all the fat you can. Lean jerkey not only keeps longer - it tastes better too!
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survivalistmomma View Post
I wouldn't keep it much past they date on the bag.

If you are going to make your own, remember it is the fat that goes bad first. You don't want any marbling if you are going for a long shelf life. Salt in the soy sauce helps preserve it, so you need enough to be soaked into the meat. You also need to slice it really thin, so the inside dries out.

Shelf Reliance sells dehydrated meats. (You can get it at Costco on line too.) They say their shelf life is 25 years if left unopened. If you want long term storage, and you can not do liquid in cans, that is the way to go. It is a major investment. It would be good if we knew the process to get that shelf life.
Shelf Reliance also offers a lot of TVP (textured vegetable protein) that's a lot cheaper than the freeze-dried meats. Some people aren't too familiar with TVP, but it's really not bad. Actually, you've probably had it without realizing it. Bacon Bits that you get on your salad are almost always TVP. It's not like you'd want to sit down, pour A1 on it and eat it like a steak, but for adding it to recipes and stuff, it's pretty close to the real thing, has a really long shelf life, and is cheaper than the freeze dried meat is. I'd get it from Shelf Reliance. They do a good job with it.
Old 09-04-2010, 02:00 PM
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You could try your hand at making pemmican. It was known to last a long time.
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