Category Archives: Food

How to make beef jerky

One of America’s favorite food of all time: beef jerky. It has been done since the olden days. Our ancestors use to dry the strips of meat on top of the fire for days. Well, it’s worth the fuss because beef jerky can last for a long time. Although we do not need to preserve food anymore, beef jerky is still a delicious snack to have especially if you are going on a camping trip.

Without mentioning, it is also really expensive to buy it from the market. After learning how to make them myself, I’ve never bought it from the market as I feel that mine, definitely, taste better. So, I will like to share my recipe with you.

Step 1: Select a cut of meat. Nowadays, there are many cuts that are available on the market. Choose wisely. I will advice you to spend a little more and pick a lean cut like sirloin or flank steak to name a few. This will help you to save time later.

Step 2: You will need to slice your meat into a ½ inch thick and 1 inch wide measurement. To make it easier for you to slice, you can freeze it for about 2 to 5 hours beforehand. While slicing your strips, make sure that you trim any additional fat along the way because fat does not dry. You can either slice it against or with the grain but most people find that slicing against the grain make it easier to chew.

However, if you feel that you neither have the time nor the skill to do it, you can ask your butcher to do it for you. They will usually charge $10 for their service. The thumb rule is 4 pounds of meat will produce only 1 pound of beef jerky.

Step 3:  Here comes the best part. It is your secret weapon against all those beef jerky products on the shelves. Marinate your meat according to your preference. My favorite is to add some soy sauce and paprika for my beloved teriyaki taste. Since I have a little sweet tooth, I usually add some brown sugar as well.

There is no boundary as to how you want to make your beef jerky. You can marinate it in any sauce you desire. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.  Marinating should take about 10 to 24 hours to absorb the flavors.

Step 4: It’s time to dehydrate the meat. You can either use a dehydrator or an oven. However, I will prefer to use the oven when it comes to making beef jerky. If you are planning to use the dehydrator, follow the instruction manual. Place your strips of meat on the wire rack with room in between making sure that they do not touch each other. Preheat the oven to 150oF.

Remember to leave the oven door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape. You can put a layer of aluminum foil at the bottom of the oven to aid cleaning later. There is no specific time on how long it takes to dehydrate the beef jerky as it will depend on the temperature, humidity and slice thickness. However, a rough estimation will be about 2 to 6 hours.

Step 5: It’s done. The strips of meat will turn dark brown or burgundy in color. Keep your homemade beef jerky in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. It is ready to eat after 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Fruits and herbs dehydrating tips

Personally, I’m not fond of gardening and everything that goes through my fingers have turned out wrong or dead. My younger brother is the total opposite. Somehow, it is like his natural talent and with his green fingers, anything he planted will grow and bloom. It’s really surprising being a slob that he is. It may sound like there’s a tinge of jealousy but let me assure you that I’m totally grateful for his ability.

Since he has more produce than he can consume, I gain benefit from it and my favorites are his fruits and herbs. Just thinking about the juicy mangoes is mouth-watering. However, I really like to save some of this seasonal fruits for later and one of the easiest ways is to dehydrate them. It is an amazing tool to save you some money.

Besides ensuring that your food stays longer, you can buy seasonal fruits, vegetables or herbs and dehydrate them to use it later for your cooking. You realize that they will hike up the price of these products when they are not in-season. Furthermore, dehydrated food can serve as a healthy light snacks in comparison to junk food. So, if you want to try dehydrating some of your fruits and herbs, you may want to take notice of the tips provided below:-

Buy a good dehydrator: You can do it the au naturel way that is drying your produce in the sun if you are living in an area where the temperature is more than 85oF with humidity under 60%. However, this method is only good for fruits. This is due to their high content of sugar and acid. After that, you are required either to freeze it for 48 hours or oven-heating at 160oF. This is important to kill off the insects and their eggs that may be on the fruits. Anyway, if you want to skip all these troublesome steps, invest on a good dehydrator. The best choice is to buy a dehydrator with a fan. Then, all you need to do is to put your fruits or herbs on the racks, turn it on and forget about them.

Size: Before putting the fruits or herbs into your dehydrator, you need to cut it first. Make sure you do cut them into small and thin slices. This is to ensure that the moisture can evaporate quickly.

Testing: Dehydrating fruits and herbs take time. Do not rush the process. You have to make sure that it is completely dry before storage to prevent the formation of mold or bacteria. Testing the pieces when it has cool down will give you an accurate measurement. When the pieces are still warm, they will seem moister than what they actually are.

Label: After you have finished dehydrating your fruits and herbs, keep them in an air tight bag. However, it is important for you to label each bag what it is because dehydrated food may not look the same from its original shape, form and colour.

Storage: You can store the finish dehydrated fruits or herbs in the kitchen cabinet. Do make sure that they are kept away from heat or light. If you keep the dehydrated fruit at 60oF, it can have a shelf life of about a year or 6 months if store at 80oF. Dried herbs will last about twice as long.