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Several sites say that raw meats can be freeze dried safely, as long as they are handled like raw meats. Can raw meats be dehydrated safely? Is there a difference in the shelf life between processing raw meats vs. cooked (either dehydrated or freeze dried)?
 

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Jerky is made from raw meat. the issue with jerky is that it does not rehydrate like freeze dried meat. jerky is mostly eaten as is. Dehydrated foods have more water that freeze dried foods, with meat you may need to watch your storage to prevent mold. Some dried sausage uses nitrates to aid in protecting the product. You need to do some research on jerky and sausage. I would advise you do the research prior to making your product.
 

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As I understand it....technically jerky is cooked because it is dehydrated with some degree of heat along with curing agents that give it flavor.

Freeze drying an entirely different process, and freeze dried products properly stored have a much longer shelf life than dehydrated and cured meats.

As a rule of thumb....properly dehydrated meats....6-12 months. Properly cured about the same.....

Freeze dried much longer.
 

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Wrong Side of Heaven
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my jerky is never cooked.
Growing up venison was sliced, salted, peppered, garlic'd, and hung to dry in the barn on strings of wire near the roof line...

We then moved to screened in drying boxes that we rolled out in the daytime, and into the garage at night.

now I am down to a dehydrator due to a move and climate differences.

 

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Beer Truck Door Gunner
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Jerky doesn't last because the way it is made in order that it is still good to chew, is also too moist.

It you get it hard enough to be brittle like a cracker then it lasts a whole lot longer, but then it isn't really jerky anymore.

Rock hard is how dry you get nonfat foods to last years in mylar with O2As. FD or dehydrated you have to rehydrate if you want to eat it.

The only way to get meat products to still be soft enough to chew and last ages is going the pemmican route.

If the whole idea of cured meat interests you then look for three guides.

First is to message Bunkerbuster for his pemmican guide.

Second is the jerky cookbook everyone raves about here: https://www.amazon.com/Jerky-Everything-Foolproof-Vegetables-Countryman/dp/1581572719/
$15 for actual book new; $10 used book w/shipping; $10 Kindle.

Third is the masterwork of preserving all kinds of meats: https://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Salting-Smoking-Revised-Updated/dp/0393240053/
$23 for actual book new; used is no cheaper; Kindle is just $2!

Those who do Kindle should grab a copy of that last book because it is legendary.

But you won't likely find a guide for making meat into virtual stone. You just have to keep drying the jerky recipe until it's brittle hard.

Funfact: In Spain you can buy shaved slices of 10 and 20 year old dried hams. The older it is the more expensive it is.
 
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