how to store beef jerky

13 Tips On How to Store Beef Jerky: Ensuring Freshness and Flavor

Beef jerky is a delicious snack that’s not only packed with protein but also full of flavor. The key to enjoying jerky at its best is knowing how to keep it tasty and safe to eat for as long as possible.

We have some top tips for storing beef jerky that will help maintain its freshness and flavor, ensuring you get the most out of this savory treat.

We love jerky for its convenience and long shelf life, but this doesn’t mean it’s indestructible.

Storing beef jerky the right way can mean the difference between a dry, flavorless chew and a succulent, potent bite.

Whether you’re taking it on a hike or snacking at home, we’ll guide you through the best methods to store your jerky.

13 Tips On Storing Beef Jerky

1. Mason Jars and Vacuum Seal Bags

Mason jars are champions in the world of jerky storage. They’re made of glass, which means they won’t pass any funny business onto our jerky.

Plus, they have a super snug lid that keeps the air out.

Now, for those of us who want to take freshness to the next level, vacuum seal bags are like space suits for jerky.

They squeeze all the air out so our snacks stay stellar for ages.


  • Mason jars: Durable, Non-porous.
  • Vacuum seal bags: Extend shelf life and are space-efficient.
1. Mason Jars and Vacuum Seal Bags

2. Plastic and Mylar Bags

Enter plastic bags, our trusty sidekick in the pantry. They’re convenient – just zip and go!

And for something a bit more fancy, we’ve got Mylar bags.

These shiny warriors are great at protecting our jerky from sunlight and are pretty good at keeping moisture and air out too.

Just remember to squeeze as much air out as possible before sealing.


  • Plastic bags: Easily accessible and reusable.
  • Mylar bags: Light-blocking, Durable.
2. Plastic and Mylar Bags

3. Glass Jars and Airtight Containers

Glass jars wave the flag for being clean and reliable. They’re like a sturdy fortress for our jerky, keeping the baddies like air and moisture out.

Airtight containers are perfect for any jerky quantity, as they come in all shapes and sizes

They lock in the freshness with their seal, making sure our jerky stays yummy until the last piece.


  • Glass jars: See-through, Non-reactive.
  • Airtight containers: Versatile, Portable.
3. Glass Jars and Airtight Containers

4. Avoiding Direct Sunlight and Moisture

Keep beef jerky out of the sun; bright spots are not its friend. Sunlight warms up jerky, inviting moisture to settle in, which is a big no-no.

Stay dry, folks, moisture means bacteria might crash the party. A dark place is our best bet, where light can’t mess with the jerky’s cool vibe.

4. Avoiding Direct Sunlight and Moisture

5. Ideal Temperature and Humidity

Rooms that are too warm invite unwanted guests like bacteria. What we’re after is a cool, dry place to keep that jerky spot on.

Aim for an internal temperature between 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit. This zone keeps things chill without freezing out the good flavors.

Also, keep it as dry as a desert, remember, bacteria love a humid hangout, and we don’t want them anywhere near our snack.

5. Ideal Temperature and Humidity

6. Protecting from Air and Bacteria

We’re wrapping this up tight, literally. For maximum freshness, you want an airtight seal.

This keeps out oxygen, the lifeblood of bacterial growth and food safety enemy number one. An ideal storage location is like a fortress, keeping those tiny invaders at bay.

Embrace tools like vacuum sealers or zip-lock bags to safeguard the jerky fortress against airborne foes.

6. Protecting from Air and Bacteria

7. Using Oxygen Absorbers and Desiccants

To extend your jerky shelf life, we toss in these little packets called oxygen absorbers that do a stellar job of snatching up oxygen.

It’s like putting a mini superhero in your jerky’s bag. Just remember, these guys aren’t edible, so keep them away from your snack!

  • Use them for: Sucking up moisture and oxygen
  • Find them in: Small packets

Much like their cousin, the oxygen absorber, food-grade desiccants are pros at keeping things dry.

By tossing one into your jerky jar or bag, you’re making sure that jerky stays nice and dry for a long time.

  • Grab a desiccant for: Extra dryness
  • Best used in: Airtight containers
7. Using Oxygen Absorbers and Desiccants

8. Understanding Expiration and Best-By Dates

We’re not time travelers, but we sure can help you understand those dates on your jerky package.

The expiration date is like a heads-up from your beef jerky saying, “Eat me before this day to enjoy my best quality!”

The best-by date is your jerky’s way of telling you that’s when it will taste the greatest.

  • Keep an eye on: Expiration and best-by dates
  • Remember: Jerky might not be at its best after these dates
8. Understanding Expiration and Best-By Dates

9. Identifying Signs of Spoilage

Jerky gone bad? Yikes! We don’t want that.

So, keep your eyes peeled for some tell-tale signs of spoilage like odd smells, weird colors, or any fuzziness that definitely shouldn’t be there.

  • Signs include: Strange smells, colors, or mold
  • Tip: Trust your senses and look closely
9. Identifying Signs of Spoilage

10. Ensuring Proper Drying and Packaging

Before we think about storing our homemade jerky, we need to make sure it’s super dry.

The drying process strips away moisture that spoilage bacteria love to snack on.

We want to use a dehydrator or an oven to make our own beef jerky as parched as possible. When it feels like leather and cracks but doesn’t break, it’s ready.

Proper Packaging:

  • Air: Squeeze every bit out of bags or containers.
  • Containers: Use airtight vessels like zip-lock bags or jars.
  • Desiccants: Toss in a food-safe desiccant packet to keep things extra dry.
10. Ensuring Proper Drying and Packaging

11. Considerations for Long-Term Storage

For long-term storage, our homemade beef jerky has a few snug spots to chill out in.

We can pick different methods based on how long we plan to save it for.

Storage Tips:

  • Cool and Dry: Keep jerky away from warm, moist spots.
  • Darkness: Sunlight is a no-go for our tasty treats.
  • Fridge or Freezer: If we’re thinking months, the fridge is good for 1-2 months, and the freezer fits the bill for up to 6 months, as highlighted by our friends at Beef Jerky Hub.
  • Check-in: Peek at your jerky now and then to say hello and make sure it’s not showing any signs of spoilage.
11. Considerations for Long-Term Storage

12. Handling Unopened Commercial Jerky

Store-bought jerky in unopened packages loves to chill in a cool, dry place. The pantry or cupboard fits the bill perfectly.

The original packaging is your jerky’s best buddy, designed to keep out moisture and maintain freshness.

Remember, sunlight and heat are beef jerky’s nemesis, so tuck it away nicely in its jerky package until you’re ready to snack.

12. Handling Unopened Commercial Jerky

13. Preserving Traditional and Homemade Varieties

Traditional jerky, which includes the kind you might make at home, requires a tad more TLC.

As soon as we make it or bring it home, placing it in an airtight container keeps it from spoiling.

If you’re thinking long-term, like winter hibernation long, the freezer is your go-to.

It’s like putting our jerky in a time capsule, where it stays yummy indefinitely. Just make sure it’s wrapped snugly to avoid freezer burn.

13. Preserving Traditional and Homemade Varieties


In storing beef jerky, we’re aiming for best results to keep it tasty and safe. Beef jerky is a durable snack, but it does need some care.

For short-term keeping, a pantry or cabinet in a non-humid environment is a safe bet. This protects our jerky from direct sunlight and keeps it cool. Using a paper bag is a good option if we plan to munch on our jerky within a week. Paper bags help by soaking up any excess moisture.

Now for a great way to store jerky longer? Consider vacuum sealing, which extends the jerky’s life by removing air that can spoil the meat. For the best method of long-term storage, freezing is our friend. Properly sealed jerky can last for months in the freezer.

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