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Learn how long does beef jerky last after opening? Learn all about this lean meat, and also how long unopened beef jerky will last, in this beef jerky questions and answers tutorial.
Beef Jerky is considered the best snack or camping food in the world. It is a chewy and flavorful dried meat. The name of this food comes from the word “ch’arki,” which means tender, dried, salty meat. This snack is made from the lean cuts of beef. These cuts are marinated with different sauces and spices.
Beef jerky normally comes in a properly sealed form. Its sealed cans can last for a long time. But once you un-seal the package, these cans start losing their taste after some time. Experts suggest eating the store-bought beef jerky within 3 days after opening. It will maintain their ultimate freshness. You can still eat it a few days after if it is sealed and stored properly.
Unlike our ancestors, we do not prefer to store things for a long time that they can keep us alive for months. We primarily focus more on the freshness and edibility of the food. That’s why commercial beef jerky is not stamped “Survive By” dates but stamps “Best By” dates. However, it has a long shelf-life. But it does mean that it will stay edible for a long time.
Before or after the opening, improper storage and packing can shorten the shelf life of this high demanding snack. This can expose you to food-borne diseases. The good thing about the jerky is that you can easily ensure if it is still good or not.
A very commonly asked question about beef jerky is how long does beef jerky last after opening? Do you need to refrigerate the opened jerky? In this article, we are going to cover this puzzling question. We will tell you some tips for a long shelf life of opened jerky. And, here we will also discuss some frequently asked questions about beef jerky.
Table of Contents
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last After Opening? Does Opened Beef Jerky Go Bad? What Is The Shelf Life Of Beef Jerky?
Beef jerky has more shelf-life than other perishable foods like eggs, milk, bread, and cheese. Unopened jerky, If it is sealed and packed properly, it can last for a long time. But food brands advise opening the purchased jerky within a year. They suggest eating their jerky within 3 days after opening.
However, the moisture or dryness level of jerky decides its shelf-life time. If a jerky has enough moisture, it can last only for a few days. While some dry jerky can last for a long time. Commercial jerkies contain preservatives; they can increase their shelf-life drastically as they are the ultimate oxygen absorber.
Factors Affect The Shelf-Life Of Beef Jerky
There are two most important factors that affect the shelf-life of beef jerky. These factors decide how long your jerky will last. These factors are oxygen and the moisture content. Food brands remove the moisture level of the jerky to make it long-lasting. Also, food brands remove the oxygen exposure from jerky by sealing it tightly in a ziplock bag type enclosure. These techniques help to keep your beef jerky fresher for a longer period of time. You can also apply this trick to homemade jerky. Normally, homemade beef jerky has a shelf-life of about 1-2 months. But again, it depends upon the storage and sealing of the jerky cans.
How Long Does Beef Jerky Last After Opening?
Most of the food brands and food experts suggest using beef jerky within 3 days after opening. But this is not the expiration date or shelf life of the opened jerky. This suggestion is only a best-by date. It is only meant so you can enjoy the freshest jerky possible. After 3 days, the flavor and taste of the commercial and homemade jerky may start to deteriorate a bit.
In general, an opened jerky can be used for a week. But the condition is to pack and store it properly in a cool dry place. You can increase the shelf-life of this snake by putting it in the refrigerator. But this makes the jerky too tough to eat anyway.
A jerky lover can eat it in just 3 three days easily. But if opened jerky remains uneaten for more than 3 days, then you need to be careful about its freshness. It does not remain chomp away anymore. Before eating such leftover jerky, you need to check its taste and flavor.
How Can You Check The Freshness Of An Opened Beef Jerky?
Before eating an opened commercial jerky, you need to check it for the best-by date. Most of the food brands sell beef jerky in vacuum-sealed packages. After the drying process, companies remove all the air from the jerky can while packaging by using a vacuum sealer. This process keeps the jerky fresher a bit longer.
All the famous brands have a best-by date printed on the jerky cans. You can find this date near the bottom of the package. Some famous brands also print an expiry date on the package.
To keep a homemade jerky fresh, you need to seal it properly in a vacuum container or a vacuum freezer bag. If you store the homemade jerky properly in an airtight container, it will drastically increase its shelf life.
If a homemade or commercial jerky is not properly sealed, you can check its freshness by considering the following points.
- Seek out the holes or other damages in the vacuum container or jerky package.
- Check the rancidity signs for jerky. Rancidity includes an odd smell and weird spots on the meat. If your jerky contains any rancidity signs, you can toss it for better taste and freshness.
- You can also use your common sense to inspect the freshness of an opened jerky.
If your beef jerky is found expired or gives any odd smell throw it. An expired jerky can cause severe food poisoning.
Do You Need To Refrigerate An Opened Or Vacuum Sealed Jerky?
As the beef jerky is sealed in a vacuum or airtight container. If you put it in the fridge, the moisture will go into it. The moisture will decrease the shelf-life of the beef jerky. So, food experts do not suggest refrigerating the sealed jerky as it is dried meat. You can store an opened jerky in the refrigerator. But this may make the jerky too hard to eat anyway.
What Are The Best Ways To Store Your Beef Jerky?
Here we will give you some important tips and the best ways to increase the shelf-life of jerky. There are some simple ways to store the jerky. You just need to follow the below-given steps to drastically enhance the lifetime of jerky.
- Avoid Moisture
Try to remove all the moisture from the beef jerky. Store your beef jerky at a dry place.
- Avoid Oxygen
You need to remove any oxygen exposure from jerky to keep it fresher for a long time. All the commercial jerky packages come in an airtight container. They do not have any oxygen exposure.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight
Keep your opened or sealed jerky out of direct sunlight. You need to store the beef jerky at normal room temperature in a dark pantry. Direct exposure to sunlight on a jerky increases the growth of bacteria. That increases the risk of food-borne diseases. If you store the jerky in a dark pantry, it keeps the dehydrated meat fresher for a long time.
- Freeze Only When Necessary
Do not refrigerate an unopened or opened jerky. You can freeze the beef jerky only if you can’t anticipate jerky before it expires. Freezing a jerky will diminish the flavor, texture, and nutrients from it. Also, it can get a freezer burn.
- Maintain a Steady Temperature
You should store your jerky at normal room temperature. Try to maintain an ideal temperature to store your beef jerky for a long time. Steady temperature means not too hot and not too cold. Storage of jerky at a dark pantry can provide you with a tasty treat!
- Keep it in its Original Package
The original packaging of the beef jerky ensures the freshness of the jerky. If you store your jerky in its original packaging, it will decrease bacterial growth. Also, it will remove any oxygen exposure from your jerky.
- Buy Your Jerky from a reputable Brand
You should buy your beef jerky from a reputable company. If you buy your jerky from any local brand, it will not guarantee freshness and perfect flavor. And your jerky can go bad quickly.
How can you Store homemade jerky properly?
You can buy an airtight container to store your homemade jerky for a long time. You should store your homemade jerky at an ideal room temperature to keep it fresher and flavorful.
Can You Undercook Your Beef Jerky?
Undercooked jerky will cause bacterial growth in it. Bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella will grow in it. These bacteria cause food poisoning and other food-borne diseases. Moreover, undercooked jerky contains moisture. That decreases the shelf-life of beef jerky.
Why There Are Some White Spots On Your Beef Jerky?
Your jerky can turn white due to salt, fats, or any mold. You can eat salt and fat particles outside the jerky. But if you see white spots due to any mold, throw away your beef jerky.
What is the Shelf-Life of Jerky at Ideal Room Temperature?
The commercial beef jerky can last up to 1-2 months at ideal room temperature. But the shelf-life of homemade jerky depends upon the packaging. If you seal your homemade jerky in an airtight or vacuum container, then it can stay for 1-2 months normally at ideal room temperature. But if your jerky is not properly sealed, it can go bad just in 1-2 weeks.
Why Does your Homemade Beef Jerky Sweat?
If your homemade jerky is sweating, it means that is not properly dried. It has some moisture. This type of jerky lasts only for a few weeks. The moisture will lead your jerky to diminish its taste and texture.
How long does Beef Jerky Last without Preservatives?
If the homemade or commercial jerky does not contain any preservatives, you need to consume them within 6 months to enjoy their cherished taste and flavor. You can use slat, sodium nitrate, and other additives as preservatives. These can increase the lifetime of beef jerky drastically.
What happens if you eat an Expired or Bad Beef Jerky?
If you eat bad or expired jerky, you can get food-borne illnesses. It is the worst eatable in the whole world. Expired or bad jerky contains horrible harmful bacteria and organisms. That can cause food poisoning.
Unfortunately, if you have eaten bad beef jerky, you can get a high risk of food poisoning. Try to find out the symptoms of food-borne diseases. These symptoms from rotten meat include;
- Upset Stomach
- Stomach Cramps
These symptoms may take hours or a few days to develop. If you see these symptoms immediately, visit your doctor. He or she can save you from the worst health conditions.
Conclusion: How Long Does Beef Jerky Last After Opening? [ 2022 ] Does Jerky Go Bad?
Following these tips in this beef jerky questions and answers tutorial is the best way for a long shelf life of unopened beef jerky as well as opened beef jerky so you can keep your beef jerky fresher, and edible for longer periods of time and avoid foodborne illnesses from spoiled or rotten beef jerky.
Keep your unopened as well as opened beef jerky in a sealed container to maximize the freshness and longevity of this all-American snack that is delicious and packed with protein.
*An air-tight container is your best option to maximize freshness and preserve the best flavor for all your jerky products.