Monday, May 21, 2007

What is Jerky?

Jerky is simply meat which has been preserved by drying to remove it's moisture. Jerky is one of the easiest snacks that you can make at home. These days, Jerky is usually made with lean cuts of beef, but many other meats can be dryed into Jerky as well. The only thing that you need to do to make simple Beef Jerky is thinly slice up some selected lean Beef and dehydrate or dry it. If that's all you do, it may be a little bland, but you will have a meat snack that can be stored for some period of time without refrigeration. Take the process a step further and add common salt, and the preservation time will be increased, and the chance of cultivating bacteria during the drying process will be reduced. This is what our ancestors did prior to the invention and common availability of referigeration.

Jerky is one of the earliest applications of food preservation. It was usually made from the animals that our ancestors hunted or maybe even raised themselves. Throughout human history, drying meat has been a common method employed to preserve food for long term storage. The meat was usually dried in the open air in the sun. The strips of meat were placed close to an open fire where the smoke from the fire flavored the meat, but more importantly, the smoke repelled insects which might spoil the raw meat.

Today we use safer, more modern methods and tools, and most of us prefer to flavor our Jerky beyond simply salting and preserving it.

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