When most people start learning about prepping, one of the biggest concerns they usually have is getting enough food and water for their stockpile, and the best ways to store them.
But when it comes to storing meat long-term, even expert preppers may be making a costly mistake.
While humans have been experimenting with meat preservation for hundreds of years, there’s one relatively recent storage method in particular that provides preppers with a false sense of safety.
In this article, we will discuss one of the most popular meat storage methods and why it’s not the most reliable option for preppers. We’ll also discuss some alternative options you can use to store meat for long-term use.
The Most Unreliable Meat Storage Method For Preppers
Anyone who exclusively relies on storing meat in the freezer is likely placing themselves at unnecessary risk of food spoilage.
Since refrigeration requires electricity, this can be disastrous for your food supply if there is a power outage or worse.
Here are just a few reasons why storing meat exclusively in the freezer can cost you time, wasted supplies, and money spent on food.
Unplanned Power Outages
Even if you have a generator for backup, just one minor power outage can essentially ruin your entire frozen meat supply in a matter of hours, maybe before you even notice there’s a problem!
Power outages and unplanned service interruptions seem to happen at the most inconvenient times – such as while you’re asleep, at work, or during the peak heat of Summer.
When you’re unsure exactly when your electricity went out, it’s harder to know how long your food has been thawing and whether it’s still salvageable. This can exacerbate the situation causing undue stress and panic over losing the fruits of your labor.
Sure, you could use the ice cube trick to keep tabs on the status of your freezer while you’re asleep or away from the fridge, but it’s wiser still to not rely on refrigeration as your only means of storing food.
Limited Storage Space
One of the biggest problems with using freezers exclusively is limited storage space. Most freezers can only hold so much food while still being 100% effective.
A packed freezer can mean frost-bitten food or food that isn’t frozen all the way through.
Frostbitten meat can alter the taste, quality, texture, and nutritional integrity of your food. In some cases, it may even be unsafe to eat.
So, if you get a great deal on your favorite cut of meat and you plan on vacuum-sealing it before storing in the freezer, make sure you have enough room to store it.
One method is to divide up your meat for different uses, such as keeping a few pounds in the freezer, and a few pounds for drying, salting, smoking, etc.
Inconsistent Freezing Temperatures
It can be to monitor internal temperatures. To keep food safe from spoilage, your freezer needs to stay at or below 0 ºF.
Since most home freezers don’t usually come with very robust temperature monitoring systems, this can be hard to confirm.
Inconsistent freezing temperatures can be caused by a variety of issues. Things like old or malfunctioning equipment, poor insulation, or overloaded freezers can all lead to less-than-desirable freezer temperatures that could affect your food.
Since temperatures in most home freezers can be unpredictable, it’s risky to store meat safely in the long term.
Alternative Methods Of Meat Storage
Maintaining and managing several food storage alternatives is the best way to ensure you always have a backup if something should happen to your frozen meat stockpile.
As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and having all of your eggs in one basket – or, all of your meat in one freezer? – is a sure-fire way to fail.
Instead, consider other a few alternative meat preservation options such as:
Curing meat is the process of preserving meat in dry salt or a salty brine.
The meat is then completely submerged for a certain amount of time.
The idea is that the salt slowly enters the meat, dries it out, and keeps any bad bacteria from surviving.
Canning involves sealing meat in airtight containers and then subjecting them to heat to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. This method creates a vacuum seal that prevents spoilage and can extend the shelf life of meat for a long time.
Dehydrating meat is the process of removing moisture to dry out the meat. Most people call it “jerky”.
Ancient methods of dehydration involved using the heat from the sun which is still a reliable, electricity-free way to preserve meat today.
Smoking meat is a process used in meat preservation where salt cured meat is exposed to smoke and heat which kills off any remaining bacteria and gives it a rich, smoky flavor.
Fermentation involves the controlled growth of beneficial bacteria and yeasts to preserve meat. The process creates an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Examples of fermented meats include sausages, salami, and some types of jerky.
From the techniques presented above to other food preservation methods around the world, preserving meat is something we humans have essentially mastered throughout history.
Learning about alternative meat-preserving methods that require zero electricity can help you secure access to food during even the most difficult times.
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