Meat Preservation Methods We Can All Use

People have been preserving meat throughout human history. As far as we know, the ancient Peruvian Incas of the Andes were the first to utilize the freeze-drying process for this activity.

They stored potatoes and other crops on mountain peaks. The temperatures would freeze the food. Low air pressure in high altitudes would slowly vaporize water inside the food. Native Americans stretched out meat on the ground to dry it by soaking up the sun’s rays. 

Of course, much has changed regarding food preservation through the centuries. These days, food is quickly frozen to start the freeze-drying process. Then the ice is turned into water vapor and removed by placing the frozen food in a vacuum. This results in a dehydrated product. 

But one thing hasn’t changed over the years. And that’s our need for protein. We require it as much now as ever. In fact, we need it even more as we age. And we’ll need plenty of protein during a crisis.

Meat provides vital protein

Here’s a quick review of protein’s importance before I get into different ways to preserve meat. Proteins are crucial for life because they are the main components of our cells. Considering the average human body has about 37.2 trillion cells, that makes proteins pretty darn significant.

Proteins assist with our movements. When our protein intake is too low, muscles don’t move smoothly. Numerous parts of our bodies are dependent upon protein. Including hemoglobin in the blood, muscle mass, skin, nails, hair, hormones, antibodies, collagen and enzymes.

Protein helps fight off infection because our immune system is made up of proteins. Without them, we’re more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Protein also helps the body recover from illness and injuries.

Because our bodies do not naturally produce protein, we need to acquire it through our diets. And that means every day. Variety is important, but make sure every meal has some protein in it. Such as beef, chicken and beans.

Short-term preservation tips

As you know, meat is expensive. It’s crucial not to waste any of it. Always check expiration dates when you buy meat. Choose the latest “use by” date you can find. 

Let’s discuss some of the ways you can preserve the meat you purchase. Freeze-drying it or dehydrating it are the best ways to make it last a long time. Here are some short-term ways to preserve it.

  • Freeze it. Ground meat and red meats can be safely stored in a freezer. Wrap it thoroughly in aluminum foil within a plastic baggie.
  • Refrigerate it. If you’re refrigerating raw meat, seal it carefully and use the bottom shelf. This will keep it cold and not allow it to contaminate other food in your fridge.
  • Cook it. If you cook meat prior to freezing or refrigerating it, make sure it is cooked thoroughly. Bacteria will spread eventually when uncooked meat is refrigerated. 
  • Cure it. Covering your meat with curing salt and storing it in an airtight container will make it last longer. Depending on its thickness, cured meat can last for several months.
  • Can it. Various types of meat require different types of canning methods. Research the ways to do this, which involve pressure, heat or liquid.
  • Smoke it. Cooking meat for several hours in a closed box will help preserve it. And some folks like the taste of smoked meat more than any other.

Is it safe to eat?

There is some confusion about how long meat will stay good in a refrigerator or freezer. Here are a few general guidelines. 

  • Bacon – 7 days in fridge; a month in freezer
  • Sausage – 1-2 days in fridge; 1-2 months in freezer
  • Cut-up meats (hamburger, ground beef, etc.) – 1-2 days in fridge; 3-4 months in freezer
  • Larger cuts of meat (beef, veal, pork, etc.) – 3-5 days in fridge; 4-12 months in freezer
  • Leftover cooked meat – 3-4 days in fridge; 2-3 months in freezer
  • Fresh chicken/turkey – 1-2 days in fridge; 1 year in freezer
  • Lunch meats (unopened) – 2 weeks in fridge; 1-2 months in freezer
  • Lunch meats (opened) – 3-5 days in fridge; 1-2 months in freezer
  • Hot dogs (unopened) – 2 weeks in fridge; 1-2 months in freezer
  • Hot dogs (opened) – 1 week in fridge; 1-2 months in freezer
  • Canned ham (unopened) – 6-9 months in fridge; Note: don’t freeze it
  • Canned ham (opened) – 3-5 days in fridge; 1-2 months in freezer

Finally, once you’re ready to eat meat you’ve frozen, remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator on a plate or baking sheet.

Depending on the thickness of the meat, this could take anywhere from overnight to 2-3 days. A faster option is to place it in a stockpot under a kitchen faucet, allowing cold tap water to run over the meat (a trickle is fine) until it’s thawed. 

A ‘Done for you’ solution

Earlier I mentioned that the best way to preserve meat is to freeze-dry it. Most folks don’t do that for themselves, and if you’re one of them, I have a great option for you.

It’s called the Meat & Protein Deluxe Survival Food Kit from 4Patriots. Here’s what you’ll get – every time. Freeze-Dried Beef (17 servings) and Freeze-Dried Chicken (17 servings).

Plus 17 servings each of Authentic Red Beans, Southern Pinto Beans and San Antonio’s Best Black Beans. 

And it all comes packaged in the same resealable Mylar pouches in a stackable tote that you’ve come to expect with our other survival food kits. It’s designed to last 25 years under proper storage conditions.


  • Edward Jarosz - July 16, 2022

    I just meant some people ,have so much to get ,that affording some stuff isn’t possible for most of us. You’re Mac and cheese I would fight for, best I’ve had, recommend your foods, but some just isn’t in my range, luckily I know how to do it myself, but so many have no clue, that’s why recipes would help also. Your stuff is great, nothing can touch some of it. You’re doing excellent appriciated work. Again thanks .

  • Edward Jarosz - July 16, 2022

    Great article, it should help those starting the process of thinking. I’ve learned many ways to preserve meats all work well with a good recipe. Not fancy store bought ( won’t be available)but older recipes with what most will have available in areas they live. So what I’m suggesting , is recipes for smoking fish/ wild game( hogs), any cut ,of any animals, moose, deer, even beef. But the actually recipes, with substitutions of animals that people will have available salmon/any seafood- , any thing you want to preserve.!recipes for salted fish/pork any type meat. Learning how to make it taste better or preserve it longer. Thanks for taking your time to read, just a thought. Keep up the great work Bravo Zulu to every one of you. Thanks

  • Jeff Christman - July 14, 2022

    Looks very cool

Leave a comment

*Required Fields