How to Store Biltong a Comprehensive Guide

How to Store Biltong a Comprehensive Guide

If you have made it to this page, it means that Biltong holds a special place in your heart, and why shouldn’t it? This beloved South African delicacy offers a delightful combination of flavour and a satisfying, rich protein snack.

Ensuring that your Biltong maintains its quality over time requires some care and knowledge. In this guide, we explore the best practices for storing Biltong and share some insights on identifying the signs of spoilage.

Can Biltong be Spoiled?

Though Biltong is dry meat, and the main purpose of dry meat is to be consumed over a longer period of time, dry meat does have some properties, and if specific instructions are not met, it can go spoiled.

Following are the reasons because of which biltong can be spoiled:

  1. If Biltong is not stored in an airtight container or exposed to high humidity, it can absorb environmental moisture.

    This excess moisture can lead to mould and bacteria growth, causing spoilage.

  2. Storing biltong at temperatures outside the recommended range of 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F) can accelerate spoilage. Higher temperatures can promote bacterial growth, while lower temperatures may cause condensation and moisture accumulation.
  3. Direct exposure to sunlight or other light sources can degrade the quality of biltong and promote oxidation, leading to off-flavours and spoilage.
  4. Biltong contains some ingredients, such as Vinegar, Black pepper, and coriander, whic cannot be sustained under direct light.
  5. Microbial growth is the other reason. Though the direct process and curing ingredients do help inhibit microbial growth, improper storage conditions can still allow the growth of harmful microorganisms like Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella, causing spoilage and potential health risks.

How to Know that Biltong has Spoiled?

Following things that indicated that you Biltong has spoiled:

  1. Over time, biltong can become excessively tough, brittle, slimy, or sticky, indicating spoilage. These texture changes is caused by improper drying, moisture absorption, or microbial activity. 
  2. The development of sour, rancid, or ammonia-like odours is a clear sign that biltong has spoiled, likely due to bacterial growth or chemical changes.
  3. While some white or greyish mould may be present during curing, fuzzy or discoloured mould growth indicates spoilage and should be avoided.

Facts to Know About Biltong

Biltong is considered an intermediate moisture meat product, with a moisture content ranging from 20% to 50%. This level of moisture means that biltong does not require refrigeration or strictly moisture-proof packaging, but it does need to be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.


Our Expert Guide to Store Biltong

This guide unveil the secrets to extending your biltong's shelf life, ensuring you savor its deliciousness for as long as possible.

Use Airtight Containers and Resealable Bage

Use airtight containers or resealable bags to store biltong. These containers or bags prevent moisture absorption and off-odours.

Store biltong in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

As mentioned above: Store biltong in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. The ideal temperature range is between 15°C and 25°C (59°F and 77°F).

To note that do not store biltong in fridge. The intermediate moisture content of biltong suggests that refregiration is not necessary and it can potentialy cause quality issues. 

Strong biltong in refrigerator cause moisture to condense on the surface of a meat which leads to biltong absorbing excess moisture which promote microbial growth and storage. 

Regireation also cause texture changes, loss of flavour, and the mold growth if biltong absorb too much moisture.

Maintain Relative humidity

Maintain relative humidity of 60% or less in the storage area to prevent mold and bacterial growth. To maintain the humidity make sure that they are not any leaking pipes and condensation. Also note that unwanted appliances like dryers, washing machines, and even some unvented heaters can release significant moisture into the air, especially in a confined space.

Also, avoid storing wet or damp items in the storage area. Ensure everything is completely dry before placing it in storage.

Keep Biltong Away from Strong Smelling Foods

Keep biltong away from strong-smelling foods, as it can absorb those aromas and alter its taste.

Monitor The Texture

Off-putting smells such as sour, rancid, or ammonia-like odours indicate spoilage.

Check for off-putting smells

Off-putting smells such as sour, rancid, or ammonia-like odors indicate spoilage.

Inspect for Mold Growth

While some white or greyish mould may be present during curing, discard biltong if you notice fuzzy or discoloured mould growth.

Follow the Recommended Moisture Content Range

Follow the recommended moisture content range for biltong, which is 20-50% for intermediate moisture meat products.

Sources:

  1. How processing methods can significantly impact biltong's nutritional content.
  2. A comprehensive review of drying meat products and the associated effects and changes
  3. Dehydrated meat products: A review
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