It might be your favorite snack, but you should know how long it will last to stock it up. After opening its seal, beef jerky in a Ziplock bag lasts up to a week, while in the fridge, you can store it for 1 to 2 weeks. Though it is dehydrated and has a longer shelf life, that doesn’t mean it will last forever. In this article, we have covered all the basic storage guidelines and shelf life of beef jerky in different places.
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last In The Fridge?
The idea of preparing beef jerky aimed to keep it delicious and edible for a long period. The cool temperature in the fridge will increase the shelf life of jerky, while in the freezer, you can store it for up to a year. However, to keep it inside the freezer, you must place it in an airtight container.
The shelf life of homemade and store-bought beef jerky is different. The same goes for an opened bag or vacuum-sealed container.
Homemade Beef Jerky
Homemade beef jerky, vacuum sealed, can last up to 3 months in the fridge. If you have opened and resealed it, you can expect it to last for a month in the fridge.
Unopened Beef Jerky
A sealed bag of beef jerky can last up to 1 to 2 years, a vacuum sealed can last at home for 3 to 6 months, while a zip lock bag of jerky can last for one week to 4 months. Vacuum-sealed beef jerky in the freezer can last for an indefinite period.
An Opened Beef Jerky
The opened beef jerky stored in the fridge can stay fresh for 1 to 2 weeks. But on the pantry, it can last up to 3 days. Improper packaging can reduce its lifespan.
Does Beef Jerky Go Bad In The Fridge?
The jerky will go bad faster if you store it improperly in direct sunlight instead of in dark, cool places in airtight packaging. Your favorite snack can never last fresh, but the quality will reduce over time. Though it is supposed to stay fresh forever, it will become unsafe and rancid to eat.
But how do you know if beef jerky has gone bad?
Here are some signs you must not ignore by eating unhealthy jerky that is spoiled.
- If the color of the jerky has turned dark, you shouldn’t eat it.
- The grainy texture of jerky is also a sign of spoilage, while it will feel harder to touch.
- The most common sign is the smell, which will give off a rotten smell.
- Though beef jerky is supposed to be dry to prevent bacterial accumulation, overly-dried jerky is a bad sign.
- If you have noticed all these signs clearly, you will know that your jerky has gone bad. In case you taste it, you won’t do it further.
- Poor packaging and long storage time can lead to mold growth in jerky. You can not remove the mold to eat beef jerky as it has already been spoiled.
How to Store Beef Jerky to Make It Last Long?
You can utilize different storage ideas to keep beef jerky without getting bad. As
The safest and best way to store beef jerky is to keep it inside a vacuum-sealed bag. No air or moisture will enter the bag, and your jerky will remain flavorful for 12 months.
This is easy but not so best because it can store jerky to stay fresh for 3 to 4 weeks. The stores often provide plastic bags to store jerky in plastic bags with a resealable top.
It is a different procedure where a mason jar is heated in the oven, with food in it, by the airtight lid to prevent the air from passing into it. You can use this method to store homemade beef jerky for four months. In contrast, store-bought beef jerky by dry canning can last for a year.
Best Tips to Keep Beef Jerky Last Longer In The Fridge
You do not need special items to store beef jerky to maintain its freshness for a long period.
Here are some tips you can follow to keep it healthy and tasty.
- Always store jerky in a moisture-free area or inside a dry place.
- Buy some oxygen absorbers to add to homemade jerky, or you will get some in commercial packaging. The oxygen absorber will remove all moisture to make the environment unfavorable for bacteria. However, you must be careful with these absorbers as their long usage can cause botulism.
- Never keep the stored jerky in sunlight, as sunlight can also lead to bacterial growth. A dark and cool place in the pantry will be ideal for storage.
- Refrain from throwing its original packaging and keeping it in the fridge in the same bag.
- Keep the temperature optimum, not too high or not too low.
- Always buy beef jerky from reputable stores or companies because otherwise, it can be unhealthy.
Can You Eat Beef Jerky That Has Gone Bad?
It doesn’t matter if it’s jerky or any other meat; eating spoiled meat isn’t good for health. There is a high possibility of developing symptoms of food poisoning, cramps, fever, and vomiting by eating bad beef jerky.
It is better to waste bad jerky than eat it, as you will keep yourself safe from getting ill for a whole week. In worse scenarios, you can have bloody stools, dehydration, and high fever, for which you must seek immediate medical help.
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Beef jerky has been a go-to snack for decades, loved by everyone. Knowing how long does beef jerky last in the fridge is important to ensure you get healthy treats. With longer shelf life, your jerky will also last longer, and buying from a trusted source is highly recommended. With proper storage, your piles of jerky can stay fresh, and you can eat them.