Jerky is a fantastic snack that could last for months because the meat has been dehydrated. Dehydrating the meat inhibits bacteria from contaminating the meat. But can you freeze jerky? Of course, you can!
When it comes to freezing jerky, the enemy here is the fat. Fatty beef jerky is more prone to spoilage because moisture remains on the beef’s fat lining. When the moisture in the jerky fat is exposed to air, contamination will set in and this will cause the jerky to go bad way before its expiry date.
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If you’re storing jerky in other places apart from the fridge or freezer, keep your stash in a cool, dark place. It should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Direct sunlight could cause condensation within the packaging and this could lead to mold growth.
Unopened, leftover, and homemade jerky will keep well in the fridge. A pack of unopened jerky will keep for 1 to 2 months in the fridge, a long time if you’re a jerky lover. Freezing the jerky will extend its shelf life to about 7 to 12 months!
It is worth noting that chilling or freezing the jerky may alter its texture and flavor. This goes especially if the jerky has been left in the fridge for too long. The meat could also absorb fridge flavors, which could ruin the taste of the jerky. Simply put, proper packaging plays a crucial role in preserving jerky.
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While you can always freeze a large batch of jerky for future consumption, we recommend freezing just a few batches at a time. Then, consume all of it within a month or two for optimal flavor. Here is a step by step guide on how can you freeze jerky:
Freezing Unopened Jerky
If you’re freezing unopened packs of jerky, simply stick these in the freezer, no other prep is needed. On the other hand, if you’re freezing opened packs of jerky, remove the jerky from its original packaging. Place the jerky in a freezer-safe, resealable packaging.
If you have a vacuum sealer, vacuum seal the jerky prior to freezing. This extra step will help retain the flavors and texture of the product once it’s been defrosted. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, squeeze as much air as you can prior to sealing the plastic bag. Stick in the freezer and you’re done.
Freezing Homemade Jerky
For freezing homemade jerky, be sure the jerky has been cooled and dried completely prior to freezing. A hint of moisture or condensation within the packaging could increase the risk of freezer burn!
Once the jerky is ready for freezing, place the product in resealable plastic containers and squeeze as much air as you can prior to sealing. Get a marker, write the label then stick in the freezer.
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Thaw frozen jerky by transferring the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave to defrost for a few hours to overnight. Never thaw frozen jerky at room temperature because this will increase the risk of bacterial growth.
Once the product has been thawed, it’s ready to eat as is. It’s worth noting that defrosted jerky should be consumed right away to reduce the risk of spoilage. Also, it’s not a good idea to refreeze defrosted jerky. There will be a significant change in flavor and texture when the jerky is frozen twice.
Jerky is one of the easiest products to freeze because it keeps so well in the freezer. Now that you know how can you freeze jerky, you can make them at home or hoard all the jerky you could get your hands on and keep them in the freezer for later use!