In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does homemade beef jerky last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of beef jerky. Moreover, we are going to discuss ways to spot bad beef jerky and the proper way to store beef jerky.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
How long does homemade beef jerky last?
Homemade vacuum-sealed jerky lasts for about 1-2 weeks if stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat. While the homemade vacuum-sealed jerky lasts for about 4 months or even more if it is properly stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Homemade opened jerky lasts for about 1-2 weeks if it is stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat while it lasts for about a month when stored in the fridge in an air-tight container at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unopened store-bought beef jerky lasts for about 1 to months if it is stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry, away from direct sunlight and heat. On the other hand, opened store-bought beef jerky lasts for about 1-2 weeks if it is stored in the cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry in an air-tight container.
While if you store your opened store-bought beef jerky in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag then it lasts for about 1 month. You should always remember that no doubt refrigeration preserves the quality of beef jerky for quite a long but it does not mean that it completely stops the bacterial growth in it as the cold temperature of the fridge only decreases the rate at which bacteria grow.
It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of the beef jerky and beef jerky can even last for more than this, provided that they are stored properly.
You can read how to make beef jerky at home here.
Can I store beef jerky in the freezer?
When it comes to freezing homemade beef jerky, no doubt that if you properly store homemade beef jerky in a plastic freezer bag or heavy-duty freezer container, then it will increase its shelf life but on the other hand when you thaw your frozen beef jerky then you will feel a difference in its texture. So it is totally up to you whether or not you want to freeze your beef jerky.
But if you do freeze your beef jerky then care should be taken in disregard. Moreover, you should thaw the frozen beef jerky by leaving it in the fridge overnight.
Last but not least you should not store the store-bought unopened beef jerky in the freezer as it has a long shelf life even when stored properly in the cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry.
Is beef jerky safe to use after the best-before date?
The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the package of store-bought beef jerky refers to the quality rather than safety so the beef jerky doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date. It is the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of beef jerky but you can still use beef jerky that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.
Indicators of bad beef jerky
Certain indicators point out whether or not your beef jerky has gone bad. You have to consider the appearance, texture, and smell of beef jerky to give a final verdict about it.
If you spot molds or other organic growth on your beef jerky, then the best thing you can do is to get rid of the beef jerky as it is an indication of bad beef jerky and if you consume such beef jerky, it can cause many foodborne illnesses including food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and sometimes even fever.
If your beef jerky has hardened too much then it is the indication that it is past its prime age.
If you smell something acidic, or putrid while taking a sniff test of your beef jerky then it is an indication of bad beef jerky and the best thing you can do is to get rid of it.
How to properly store beef jerky?
- You can store your unopened store-bought beef jerky in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
- In case of the opened homemade jerky or the store-bought opened jerky you can keep it in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry in a plastic zipper bag or air-tight container but if you want to prolong its shelf life then you can also store it in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Store your beef jerky in small batches in shallow containers.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does homemade beef jerky last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of beef jerky. Moreover, we discussed ways to spot bad beef jerky and the proper way to store beef jerky.