Dehydrate meat, and you have a healthy, low-cost beef jerky that can last up to a year or more if stored properly. Homemade jerky can be made with any type of meat, including ground beef or ground turkey.
Jerky is great to take on hikes or to simply enjoy as a snack. It's also an excellent way of being prepared for an emergency. Use a vacuum sealer to seal your jerky, and it can last up to one year out of the freezer.
Before storing your meat, always make sure your meat is completely cool. Otherwise, it will sweat and start to mold. Home-dried jerky will last for one to two months on the shelf. If you made your jerky without salt, you must refrigerate it and use it within two weeks.
If you don't plan to eat your jerky for awhile, then package it very tightly and put it in your freezer. If it's tightly wrapped and in the freezer, your jerky can last for several months up to a year. Vacuum pack your jerky using a vacuum sealer, and it will have a far longer shelf life.
You can make a less expensive jerky with either ground beef or ground turkey and then place it in your dehydrator for about four hours. The recipe follows:
Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Put your mixture in a Jerky Gun (you can see one here) or you can place the meat mixture between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll it flat. The mixture should be less than 1/8-inch thick.
When dehydrating meat, it's important to use a dehydrator with a temperature control (you can find one here). The meat should be dried at a consistent temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the meat on your dehydrator trays to dry according to the manufacturer's directions. About halfway through the process, turn your jerky strips for even drying. This recipe makes 12 servings of jerky.