Hygiene is VERY IMPORTANT when making jerky at home. Wash, rinse and sanitise all equipment before use, including cutting boards, utensils and benches/sinks. Wash hands and equipment with hot, soapy water and rinse well. To sanitise equipment, combine 1 teaspoon of household chlorine bleach with 4 litres of water. Submerge equipment for 7 seconds then drain before use. If you are ever unsure if a piece of equipment is clean, it is better to clean it again! Ensure hands are washed with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat.  

Keep meat refrigerated at 4°C (40°F) or lower for only a few days (maximum 3-5 days) – it’s best to thaw meat overnight in the refrigerator (never the counter) and then prepare, marinate in the refrigerator for the period stated in the recipe and then dry/cook the meat immediately. Discard any leftover marinade.   Bacteria that would spoil the preserved meat need moisture (water) to live and multiply in, so fully dehydrated meat makes it safe from bacterial growth – but the dried meat is very hard and unable to be eaten in that form. That is why jerky includes salt (and sometimes sugar). Most of the water is removed during the cooking and drying process. The concentrated salt prevents further bacterial growth. Preservatives mixed into the salt prevent bacterial growth at the initial stage of drying (when the meat is still wet) and whilst the jerky is in storage.  

Commercially-produced jerky is sold in vacuum sealed packs at room temperature however homemade jerky is best stored in the freezer for long term storage (up to 3 months). 

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