What Is Jerky ?

We all know making jerky is a great way to prepare venison, beef and other critters. But what is jerky? Do you know the history of jerky?

The following section is paraphrased from the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service's page entitled, "Food Safety of Jerky".

What is Jerky?

"Jerky is meat that has been made lightweight by dehydration. Meat and poultry have lost about 75% of their weight after being made into jerky. Because most of the moisture is gone, the meat can be stored without refrigeration.

Jerky is a food known to exist for thousands of years. Large animals, such as bear, buffalo, deer and whales were dried as a method of preservation. Native Americans mixed dried meat with fruit and animal fat to make pemmican. The word "jerky" is thought to have come from the Spanish word "charque."

How Does Drying Meat Make it Safe?

Drying is an ancient method of preserving food. Drying is a low tech method available to anyone, and is a very effective means of storing food for long periods of time.

When food is dries, the lack of moisture makes it impossible for enzymes to activate, preventing the food from spoiling. Whether these enzymes are a result of bacterial or fungal contamination, or are naturally occurring, slowing or stopping the enzymatic action maintains the food in an edible state."

(From the FSIS article Food Safety of Jerky )

The FSIS page includes much information about jerky and making jerky safely. I encourage anybody making jerky to visit Food Safety of Jerky . It's definitely a worthwhile read.

Practice The Ancient Art

Now that you've learned just what jerky is, why don't you try making a batch or two? You can learn about making jerky at Deer Jerky Recipes.

After you check that one out, try one of the recipes at Free Venison Jerky Recipes or at Ground Deer Jerky Recipes. You'll be sure to find a recipe to suit your tastes.


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