By Susan Patterson – Off The Grid News
From the time people roamed the earth as hunter-gatherers, their very survival might have depended on preserving meat — their main source of protein — to tide them over in times of scarcity.
Burying portions of the kill deep in the snow in winter, and drying it crisp over the rocks in the blazing heat of summer, he would have managed to stay alive from season to season. His meat preservation methods may have been crude, but they are successfully employed even today, the only difference being the technological advances that have delinked the processes from the vagaries of nature.
Even with round-the-year availability of fresh and processed meat, it is not a bad idea to keep a good storage of meat as a hedge against possible emergencies in the future. Moreover, in this era of highly processed food, by storing your own meat you get to control what goes on your plate.
A chemical-free way to preserve meat is to dehydrate it until it becomes too dry for microbial action. Compared to traditional sun-drying, using an electric dehydrator is faster and safer. Whether you like the chewy texture of beef jerky cut along the grain or the more crumbly cross-cut chips, the slices need to be thin to ensure thorough drying inside and out.
Fat in the meat may go rancid when kept, so be sure to remove all skin and fat before slicing the meat into strips not more than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. Lean cuts and chicken breasts are preferable to fattier portions.