Making your jerky is only half of the battle. The other half is storing it so that it does not spoil and so you get the maximum lifespan out of this homemade goodness.
There are a few ways to store jerky, with the two most common methods broken down into how soon you will consume the meat. The first way is keeping the jerky in Ziploc bags, and it gives you about a week. The second, storing the jerky in vacuum sealed bags, gives you few months.
If you don’t have either on hand, then you can also store the jerky using plastic wrap for a similar shelf life to that of the sealable bags: around a week.
Also, if you want to have easy access to the jerky, that is eat it whenever you get a craving, then you can store it in a container or jar with a lid.
The most crucial component to all of these storage methods is one thing: keep the air out of the jerky for maximum freshness for the longest possible time.
You should also label the container, whatever you choose or have in your kitchen, with a piece of tape that contains the date you made your jerky. This way, you will always know how much time has elapsed since the jerky was made and will have an idea how much longer it should remain fresh and eatable.
If you’re making multiple recipes at once, you should also label the jerky’s container with information about the flavoring.
A solid storage label would look something like this: “Jalapeno beef jerky made in dehydrator on 11/20/2018” or “Pepper beef jerky made in oven on 10/22/2018.”
Before placing your jerky into the container, you should be sure to remove any excess moisture from its surface. Fat is also a method of moistening the jerky in storage, which is another reason you should remove the fat as much as possible before you start the process.
You should use a paper towel to wipe down the jerky’s surface of water or oil. You should also store the jerky strips between two paper towels inside the container to prevent moisture from accumulating during storage.
Moisture is a major concern, so don’t take this step lightly. It will cause mold to grow on the meat, which makes it automatically ineligible for consumption.
Another way mold can grow on the jerky is if it was not properly cooled down before you store it. As such, take extra care to allow the jerky to fully cool down. You should also make sure to not store the jerky in a warm environment that will cause sweating and then molding.
So, jerky should be stored properly, in a cool and dry location. This, along with the proper containers mentioned above, will extend the dried meat’s shelf life, giving you access to delicious homemade jerky for a longer time.
The actual length of time the jerky will remain eatable depends on many factors. However, storage should not be overlooked as a major contributing factor to keeping the snack longer.