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PostPosted: April 5th, 2009, 9:55 pm 
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Location: Northern Wisconsin
It seems we always have some leftover dehydrated ground beef at the end of the season but I'm afraid to save it for the next season. We take care to brown it and strain the fat out, then vacuum seal it. Does anyone have experience with shelf life of this stuff?


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PostPosted: April 5th, 2009, 10:32 pm 
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Add a freezer, and I wouldn't be scared of year old meat. Without, I wouldn't.


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PostPosted: April 5th, 2009, 10:55 pm 
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Excellent question and good timing as I am preparing food for this summers trip down the Seal River.

How should one store dried food once processed? Freezer, cool dry place out of sun light? Is it different for the following?

Vegetables
Meets
Fruit leathers

How long can one expect the shelf life to last if not frozen? Is vacuum sealing an added life factor?

Let's apply this question not only to hamburger but to all stuff that is dried. I think it is a good questions for all.

Thanks


Barry

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 6:04 am 
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For whatever it's worth: my beef left-over packages have always been OK to eat a year later. But it's not hamburger, but thin strips of meat that were marinated ("soy sauce"=salt) and broiled before drying.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 6:42 am 
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I cook lean ground beef and remove as much fat as possible by cooking, rinsing under hot water and then boiling it in water for about an additional 10 minutes before straining and drying, throroughly.

Whatever is left over after packaging food for a season is then put in the freezer. Unused packages of food are also put in the freezer and used the next year. Since there is no water in them ... there is no freezer burn. When I package meals with ground beef, the beef is kept in a separate package. The dried meals from Summer trips may have been subjected to some fairly high temperatures.

I have stored and then used Ground Beef, prepared as above, after 3 years in the freezer. It wasn't intended to happen that way but has on occassion.

I also do ground chicken, ground turkey and ground pork this way.
The pork is made from tenderloin, which has a low fat content.
At this point, I have stored it in the freezer for 1 year only and then used it the second season.

Shredded beef can also be made and dried using a lean cut such as a round roast. Cook thoroughly for several hours at a low temperature and shred with forks before drying. I have kept that in the freezer for at least 2 years. Shredded beef when dry is very fragile and does not lend itself to vacuum packaging. For tripping it needs to be put into a hard container to keep it's integrity.

A lot of the other ingredients I use are purchased from Walton and others and I have had some of this stuff, dried beans, spinach, brocolli, celery etc. in opened cans (with a lid) for 4 or 5 years. The dried veggies are usually stored in a cool closet. Dried eggs, I keep in the freezer along with dried buttermilk powder, sour cream powder , dried butter powder etc.
Dried cooked beans, dried cooked rice, dried mushrooms etc. I do myself and usually make up large batches that last for 2 or 3 years of tripping meals before I need to make a new batch.

I hope that answers some of the questions.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 6:51 am 
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Hi Woodsy,

Clarification: What do you mean by "brown it"? :-? Is it cooked, or only browned? If only browned, then I would highly recommend NOT doing that. Ground beef should be cooked thoroughly before drying. If it was only browned throw it out!

I cook the ground beef, then de-fat it by placing in plastic tub and submerging in boiling water plus soy sauce and Worster sauce, then refrigerate. Next day, skim off the hard fat on the surface, and I am left with totally de-fatted and marinated meat. (I bring olive oil on the trip to add back into it for cooking). After drying , I place in mason jars in the deep freeze (freezer chest). I think it lasts virtually forever in airtight mason jars in a deep freeze.

If I have kept it out for 2-3 months in bags over the summer and not eaten it after the trip, then I throw it out, even though it probably lasts a year very safe in that totally dry, defatted state. Oxygen and heat have been working on it.

The great thing about mason jars and a deep freeze is that you can build up an inventory of frozen dry supplies, and always have supplies on hand. I try and eat stuff within 2 years, 3 year max, but it might last many years very safe in my storage system.

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 6:53 am 
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Mac, what kind of packaging do you use for your ground beef, or other items that you package?

Do you use ziplocks, or the vacuum sealer type thing?



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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 6:55 am 
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Another thought....
When I began drying meatstuff several years ago, I started out by packaging it in small vacuum bags with an oxygen scavenger enclosed, thinking that would help to preserve it.
Experience has taught me that it is not necessary, if you keep the fat content low.

Starting from uncooked lean ground beef will give you ~ 18%, chicken ~ 20%, turkey ~19% by weight of dried material.

Mushrooms yield only ~8% by weight.

I think most of this stuff is covered in the dried food threads, posted here on CCR over the past number of years.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 7:07 am 
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Barbara:
For storing in the freezer over the winter or longer, I was vacuum packaging it. But for the past few years, I have been using only large Zip Lock bags for storage and I have seen no deleterious product effects.

For tripping, I weigh out the amount needed for a meal and place it in Zip Lock Snack bag. I poke some small holes in the bag beneath the zipper and place 3,4, or 5 of these bags into a larger vacuum bag and then vacuum and seal it.
So on a long trip, I will open up one of these and then start to use the small bags of meat placing the larger bag and its remaining contents back in a barrel.

The holes in the snak bags are needed to allow the air trapped inside to dissipate when vacuumed.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 10:20 am 
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Ziploc now makes a vacuum sealer that is manual and field friendly. That means you can take a quantity of food and then reseal it if you only use a little for a particular meal.

http://www.ziploc.com/?p=b10

HOOPS recipe makes tasty ground beef but watch the sodium.. and watch what else you use it with.. With a shepherds pie I make there is too much salt from the vegetable soup base and with flavored beef its just awful.

I dont find I HAVE to use the worcestershire and soy for preservation but sometimes (as in teryaki) its a good addition.

I dont use ziploced food stored in the freezer for more than a year and a half. Its not because I am concerned with food spoilage but rather that it gets a Ziploc taste which I dislike immensely.


I have been packing for a week now and leave in two and the food is all in the barrel. I have no concerns just because it is not in the freezer till the last minute.

I do advise that you not pack directly from the freezer...there will be condensation on the outside of your packages and if you close them in a container they all will stay damp. Spread all out on a table for a day or so in their packages.

Dried vegetables from the health food store have a shelf life of about nine months. However I think that is a taste thing and not a health issue.. or perhaps people would wonk out if they saw an expiry date of 2015....dont know.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 11:34 am 
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Hi,
I dehydrate ground beef as above, but adding no soy or worshestire sauces, until out in the field. Don't cringe too much but, I just keep adding to the leftover bag from last year which was the leftover bag from the year before.... Never had a problem with dried beef, but always add some sort of flavouring in the field. As for others, The only things I've had spoil from moisture creeping in are mushrooms, beef jerky, fruit leather, dried yogurt. I dehydrate all my own stuff, finding the freeze dried pricey in comparison. Dehydrated does take a little extra time to rehydrate compared to freeze dried, just go for a swim.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 12:18 pm 
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Littlered:
I don't think ZipLock have tried to market their vac pump here in Canada just yet.... at least I haven't seen it. Thanks for the tip.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 1:17 pm 
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Mac wrote:
Littlered:
I don't think ZipLock have tried to market their vac pump here in Canada just yet.... at least I haven't seen it. Thanks for the tip.


I think I like it..which means that it will disappear. I am still learning that when I find something in the supermarket that is useful for canoeing I better buy a lifetime supply.

Bear in mind I only field tested them in the Everglades for ten days.. There was little rough handling there. Have to do more field testing soon though! Every single zip loc snack bag I used failed along the bottom seam..I gave up on that size.. the construction is really flimsy.

What I especially like is the material is like the Tilia bags. Your hamburger or Grape Nuts cannot punch holes in the plastic.


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PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 9:41 pm 
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I just got back from Nfld with a big care pkg that includes some ground moose meat which is really lean. I'm thinking of dehydrating some. Anyone tried this?

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