WSU Extension Q&A: Making meat jerky has risks

June 13, 2013 

Q. I have heard making meat jerky can be a food safety risk. Is it true?

A. It is true. Jerky made at home presents a risk for the pathogens salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7. There are three options for preparing jerky that are safe from the pathogenic bacteria: post-drying heating, precooking the meat or soaking meat in vinegar before seasoning. The simplest method is to heat jerky in the oven after drying it. To do this, preheat the oven to 275 degrees immediately after drying the jerky and place it on a baking sheet with strips close together, but not touching. Place it in the oven and heat for 10 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature before packaging. The methods are described in the bulletin Making Jerky at Home Safely, which you can find at your local extension office.

Q. This year will be our kids’ first year to have lambs at the fair. We have had the lambs more than a month now, and it’s time to weigh them. How much weight should they be gaining per day?

A. Typically, we want lambs to gain 0.6 pounds a day or more for the entire feeding period.

Q. What is bokashi composting?

A. Bokashi is a form of composting used to recycle food waste that started with Japanese farmers centuries ago. Regular backyard composting involves managed aerobic decomposition of yard and food waste. Bokashi is an anaerobic fermentation process, including dairy and meat scraps, that relies on inoculation with specific Bokashi bacteria. Bokashi composters today seal their inoculated food waste in a bucket for several weeks. The byproducts are then removed and buried under the soil. If done correctly, the waste should not be too smelly and will become part of the soil within several weeks after burying.

-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.

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