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Ask Tess: Can I Still Eat Beef Jerky With “White Stuff” On It?

A reader asks who to handle mold on his dehydrated meat. Is it still edible? Can it be scraped off? Read on for the answer.

Tess,

Can I remove mold from beef jerky by dipping it in vinegar and then reheating it to evaporate the water?

A Reader

Answer:


Hello,

It may not necessarily be mold. If it is a white powder, it could be fat bloom, or salt surfacing. This is caused from oils inside the meat rising to the surface. It usually has a shiny wet appearance. This usually happens from the suction of vacuum sealing. When the seal is broken, the oils sink back into the meat and leave behind salt deposits that take on the appearance of white powder.

If it is fuzzy and mold looking, I would discard it. Also, if there is an “off smell” to the jerky, that could also be an indicator of mold. Some have even said, if you can scrape the white spots off with your fingernail, then it is likely mold, while fat bloom and salt surfacing cannot be removed by scraping.

I have read how people will remove the mold and rehydrate their molded jerky, but I would advise against it. Mold spores permeate into the meat and it can make you pretty sick if ingested. One of the contributors for mold on jerky is that it wasn’t completely dehydrated. Beef jerky should be dehydrated up to 90-95%. If it isn’t, the moisture in the meat leads to mold spores growing. Also, if you live in an area that has high humidity, this could also pose a problem. If you are storing your jerky for long term, make sure your jerky is completely dried out and add a desiccant packet to your container. This will control the moisture in the stored environment. Refrigerating or freezing is another option and will keep jerky from molding.



For the most part, jerky is shelf stable for two years, if dried properly.

Thanks,

Tess

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on July 23rd, 2015

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