Beef sticks or beef jerky is one of the favorite snacks all over the world. However, there are still a lot of people who hesitate to consume this food because they wonder if it’s a healthy snack or just harmful junk food.
Literally, we can say beef jerky is both good and bad for your health. This dried meat is packed with protein, iron and zinc which are necessary for the production of blood cells and helpful in supporting our immune system.
With the low level of carb it contains, beef jerky won’t make us fat but still reduce the hunger well.
However, as salt is one of the indispensable ingredient in a package of beef sticks, so it comes with lots of sodium. This is really bad for those who are facing the risk of kidney disease or water retention.
Anyway, if you consume a sufficient amount of beef sticks not frequently, you can both satisfy the craving for this tasty dried meat and keep your health safe.
However, we think there are more things you need to dig further about beef sticks like their shelf life or how to store it properly so you can confidently use this product without any worries. And all you need is in this article, let’s check it out.
How long do beef sticks last?
Normally, if your beef sticks are unopened, it can last 1 to 2 years at normal room temperature as long as properly stored. However, once you open the package of beef jerky, you better keep it in a fridge or freezer so that its shelf life can reach 1 to 2 months or even up to half of a year when freezing.
Remember that if you are a fan of homemade things, and you have just completed a delicious batch of beef jerky, keep an eye on it as homemade jerky has a shorter life expectancy.
It may fresh maximum for 3 months in your dry and cool pantry, and if you expect to extend the life span of your homemade beef sticks, you should also pop it in a fridge or freezer to last additional few weeks.
How to tell if beef sticks go bad?
Actually, even being stored at room temperature, beef sticks already last a long time due to their special characteristics. Salt, hot pepper and liquid removing process play a significantly important role to preserve the jerky for the long term.
However, rarely your dried beef can get spoiled if it is stored in an inappropriate way. Anytime you see the signs of damp spots, or uneven softer and harder spots, that means the jerky hasn’t been dried out completely. This will facilitate good environment for bacteria to grow.
In some other worse case, there are white stuff on the surface of beef sticks or known as mold, it’s also one of the spoilage identification.
When your beef jerky develops an unpleasant smell of fermentation and rancid fat, or has a strange change in the color, it’s also the time to discard the entire package of beef sticks.
You might have accidentally left your beef sticks in a hot car and wondered is it okay to eat? Well, the jerky is already dry cured and safe so 8 hours in a hot car won’t harm it. But the longer it is under the heat, the harder it can get, but still safe to consume if there is no severe spoilage.
How to store beef sticks?
Moisture is always an enemy of dried meat, including beef sticks. Therefore, to store your beef jerky, the most important rule is to keep it dry. You should store your unopened beef sticks in dark, cool places like your pantry, leave it away from any source of light or heat which could result in mold.
To lengthen the jerky life, refrigerating and freezing is a better option. Nevertheless, make sure that your dried beef is kept in a tightly sealed container or bag before placing in the fridge or freezer.
Can you freeze beef sticks?
Yes, you can freeze your beef sticks to make it last up to 6 months and it’s not a tricky task at all.
How to freeze beef sticks?
Now you are going to learn how to freeze beef sticks properly in just some simple steps.
Tips to freeze beef sticks
- If your beef sticks are originally contained in a resealable package so you can put it directly to the freezer as is
- Freezing can alter the taste of jerky so it’s recommended to freeze beef sticks in small portions and eat as soon as possible for the best quality
- Homemade jerky needs to be cool completely before freezing
Things you’ll need to freeze beef sticks
- A freezer-safe container or bag
How to freeze beef sticks in just 2 steps
- Transfer the leftover beef jerky in the opened purchased package to an airtight container
- Label the container and stick in the freezer
How to defrost/ thaw beef sticks?
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Tips to defrost beef sticks
- Never transfer your frozen beef jerky directly to the counter to let it naturally thaw at room temperature. This will increase the risk of bacteria growth
- It’s not recommended to refreeze the unused beef sticks after thawing as the texture and flavor of the jerky can be changed significantly when being frozen twice
Things you’ll need to defrost beef sticks
- A refrigerator
How to defrost beef sticks
Simply transfer your freezer container of beef sticks from the freezer to the fridge for several hours or overnight until the jerky is completely defrosted.
How to reheat beef sticks?
Actually, it’s recommended to consume the thawed beef sticks immediately to prevent any risk of spoilage, no need to reheat.
Since it’s a dried food, there is only a bit or no water in beef jerky so freezing for not too long may just make your beef cold, not solid frozen as other food so some people even eat it right after removing from the freezer.