In my personal experience, beef jerky bags disappear pretty quickly. You start by eating one piece, then another, and before long, you’re staring down the barrel of an empty bag and wondering what you’ll snack on next. Now, even though it might seem like a time to panic (and who would blame you), it’s not. Read why here.
There are people in the world who prefer to savor life’s delicacies. They’ll eat a piece of jerky and then put the bag away to enjoy later. Understandably, these people want to know how to store beef jerky so they can snack for as long as possible. With that in mind, I’m going to share a few sure-fire methods that will protect your tasty snacks over the long-term.
Bury It Underground
This might sound crazy, but hear me out. Because light and air can’t penetrate deep into the earth, soil underground remains cool year-round. Our ancestors frequently used this method to preserve food before refrigeration. And as someone who has spent much of his life in the wilderness, I can attest to this method’s effectiveness. However, before you go burying your beef jerky, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Bury your beef jerky below the frost line. This is the point where groundwater typically freezes. So, food buried below this depth will stay preserved in even the coldest weather. This line varies depending on your location. In my neck of the woods, it’s about five inches.
- Keep it in the package. If you just bury pieces of beef jerky in the ground, you won’t end up with a beef jerky tree. Instead, you’ll just have dirty beef jerky. Fortunately, I put my beef jerky in bags that block air as effectively as an aluminum can. As long as the bag or zipper is sealed, you can count on your jerky staying fresh.
- Mark your burial location. Trust me. Nothing’s worse than forgetting where you buried your food. Especially when you really need a high-protein snack.
Of course, this method does come with a few downsides. For example, it’s labor-intensive. That means you’ll really work up a sweat storing your jerky and then digging it back up when you need a game-time snack. However, if you want to know how to store beef jerky, burying it in the ground is one foolproof trick.
Hang It From a Tree
Of course, spoilage is only one risk that comes with beef jerky storage. Another is having your precious snacks stolen by a merciless and wily predator like a grizzly bear or [gulp] a cougar. But if you need to know how to store beef jerky to protect it against threats from the animal kingdom, then I’m just the Trapper for you.
Perhaps the best method is to hang your beef jerky from a tree. To do this, simply fill a bag with your jerky, tie a rope around it, and then throw the rope over a tall branch. Haul your jerky-filled load up at least twelve feet from the ground, five feet away from the trunk, and five feet below the nearest limb, and then tie the rope off at the trunk. Your food is now protected from hungry Ursas, vicious wolverines, and the mighty puma.
Science has proven that wild animals can detect the odor of delicious, wood-smoked beef jerky from miles away. So, even if you feel safe, your savory snacks could be inviting an unwelcome wild visitor. And, in my experience, waking up to a hungry bear in your bed is something of an unpleasant experience. As they say, better safe than sorry.
Keep It in a Safety Deposit Box
When considering how to store beef jerky, it’s also important to remember that burying it or hanging it from a tree won’t protect your valuable snacks from unscrupulous humans. In fact, every year, millions* of Americans fall victim to jerky theft, which is the hungriest of all crimes. That’s why it’s wise to explore more secure methods of beef jerky storage.
Ordinarily, you might choose a home safe to protect your beef jerky. Unfortunately, mine is filled to the brim with hundreds of gold bars I’ve recovered from various shipwrecks around the world. As a result, I store my beef jerky in a safety deposit box at my local branch of First (Oldest) Trapper Savings and Loan (member FDIC).
Safety deposit boxes are secure and private. The only downside is you can only access your delicious beef jerky during banking hours and never on holidays. But for some, that’s a small price to pay for a little peace of mind. Unless it’s a holiday, which might be your day off, and a game might be on—then it’s a HUGE price to pay!
Store It in Your Home
If you enjoy living on the wild side, you could always keep your beef jerky at home. Many people opt to store it in a pantry, cupboard, or even on the kitchen counter. If you choose to use this controversial method, be sure to seal your beef jerky when you’re done snacking by using the handy resealable pouch. This will keep air out and your beef jerky fresh for longer. To really extend the life of your beef jerky, you can also throw your sealed bags into the refrigerator.
The keep-at-home method offers snacking convenience because you’ll always have your jerky close at hand. When you think about how to store beef jerky, this is a huge benefit. But be forewarned. Keeping your beef jerky in your house will NOT protect it from predators, jerky thieves, or your spouses, roommates, or kids (unless you’ve invested in my patented jerky camouflage system). But if you’re willing to live with those risks, this is probably the method for you.
Maybe Eat that Whole Bag Instead
Beef jerky is a smart snacking investment. That’s why people want to make it last as long as possible for maximum enjoyment. I hope my words have provided some inspiration for how to store beef jerky. Or, they’ve motivated you to eat that entire bag in one sitting. Either way, I hope you’ll snack happy.