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5 Ways To Store Meat Without A Refrigerator

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but if you’re like most, you have a lot of leftover turkey and ham.  Those on homesteads have mastered the art of preserving that meat too so it won’t go to waste without a refrigerator! 

Those on homesteads have mastered the art of preserving that meat too so it won’t go to waste without a refrigerator!

We live in a world where it has become extremely important to prepare your family for disasters. It would be unfortunate to have all of that leftover Thanksgiving turkey go to waste in the event that the power grid goes down or an ice storm knocks out your electricity.

To prepare for these situations, many people are beginning to realize the importance of not wasting food and keeping stored food on hand.

1 Curing – Salt curing is personally my favorite way to preserve and store meat without a refrigerator. It involves quite a bit of time and effort but it’s not too bad once you’ve done it a few times. Traditional favorites like sausage, bacon, and pastrami were preserved by salt curing. It’s also a cheap and easy process to master perfect for the new homesteader. You will need a cool area and a place where meats can be hung out of the way. Some curing recipes are used in combination with smoking for flavor. Be sure to stock up on a lot of salt for your prepper pantry if you find you enjoy this! Check out this method if you want to give it a try!

2. Smoking – This is also a favorite way to preserve meat. This is common in areas with too much humidity to dry meat (jerky). Smoking fish is also another way to preserve your catches. Please keep in mind that modern recommendations are to consume smoked meat sparingly as smoke may contain carcinogens. That being said, it may still be a good choice for some of your harvest or an emergency situation. Smokers can be purchased or made at home. Obviously, this method is better suited to those with access to a backyard.

3.Dehydrating – This is how we get jerky. Dehydrating is probably one of the easiest and healthiest methods of storing meat. This works for vegetables and fruits too.  Meat can be dried with the help of an electric dehydrator or a solar dehydrator. If you opt for an electric dehydrator, it’s probably best to purchase a larger one.  A solar dehydrator can be used without electricity in case the grid does go down. Solar dehydrators are also weather dependent. Solar dehydrators can be purchased or there’s a lot of DIY plans available online. With either you’ll need to make sure you’re meat is fully dried. If it’s left too moist it can mold.

4. Pressure Canning – One of the best investments I have ever made was to pay extra for a high-quality pressure canner. Because you should never water bath can meat, you will need a pressure canner if you want to preserve meat in this way. This is probably one of the most popular methods today as once the meat is canned it requires no further work. You simply reheat the canned meat when you’re ready to eat it and the jars are portable. Pressure canners are affordable, perfect for even apartment homesteaders, and are great for putting up vegetable harvests too.

5. Lard StorageFirst, you’ll need lard to make this happen. This method may be very practical for those butchering an animal with a lot of fat. Both raw and cooked meat can be layered in a crock with melted lard. The lard prevents the growth of bacteria by keeping air from getting to the meat. It’s a cheap and effective storage method and involves no equipment. Using the fat of an animal to store its meat could be a way to waste less of the animal as well.

Now is a great time to try one of these ways to preserve meat! Test them out and see what works for you and your family!

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on December 9th, 2020