California raisins make safe and tasty preservative in jerky

Asked February 8, 2014, 9:12 PM EST

I read this article. How, when and where do you add the raisins? Thanks!

El Paso County Colorado

1 Response

I am familiar with the 2003 article published in Journal of Food Science regarding research conducted by University of Oregon that found raisins to be as effective an antimicrobial and preservative as sodium nitrate in making jerky. Unfortunately, no recipe has been posted that gives exact proportions to use. The article referred to a 10% formulation but that is hard for the consumer to operationalize. Insturctions for making pemmican (a dried product similar to jerky), called for 1 cup chopped raisins per 2 lb. ground beef, so that might be a good starting place. I suggest that you grind the raisins in a food processor prior to adding to the ground beef, then be sure to mix evenly into the beef. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends precooking ground beef jerky to 160 F. prior to drying to ensure destruction of possible pathogens. Results of informal research conducted at CSU found that "baking" the ground beef strips on a baking sheet at 325 F for 10 minutes was enough to heat the meat to 160 F. The meat strips were then placed into the food dehydrator at a temperature of 140 F for about 4 hours until sufficiently dried. The finished jerky can be stored at room temperature and used within 1-2 months or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Hope that helps. You may need to alter the proportion of raisins to meat, but I advise caution in reducing the quantity of raisins too much, since no sodium nitrate will be added.