Dehydrating meats and fish is a time-tested way of preserving them. Meats and fish preserved this way can be kept for weeks without a refrigerator, and since the moisture is removed from them, they weigh less and are great for camping and outdoor trips. They can be eaten dried (known as jerky) or you can re-hydrate them later.


Everyone’s favorite dehydrated meat, beef jerky!

This section applies to dehydrating meats. The advice applies for chicken, turkey, beef (roast works well) or most other meats you could think of.

What you’ll need:

  1. A kitchen, with an oven and fridge
  2. 2lb of meat
  3. A knife
  4. Tongs
  5. A bowl
  6. Marinating sauce
  7. Plastic wrap
  8. A pot or sauce pan
  9. Paper towel
  10. An air tight container or Ziploc bags

Step 1

First, you’ll want about 2lb of meat. The leaner the cut, the longer your meat will last. You must cut your meat into strips, as thin as possible (consider getting your meat from the deli and getting them cut into 1/16ths of an inch). Trim off any fat, as it will go rancid and spoil your meat quicker.

Step 2

Place your meet strips in bowl, and add a marinating sauce. Olive oil and salt is an idea. Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and garlic is another (you can experiment with seasoning as you become more experienced).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place in the fridge and let it marinate for 2 hours.

Step 3

Put your meat and sauce into a pot. Turn a stove burner on high, and boil for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria. When finished, place your meat on paper towel to let them drain.

Step 4

Open your oven and place the strips onto the oven racks (This will maximize air flow). Set your oven 160F (as low as possible while still ensuring bacteria are killed). Keep the over door open an inch or two to encourage air flow. It should take 6-12 hrs for all the moisture to be removed. You will know when the meat starts to crack. It’s important that all moisture is removed, as this is where bacteria will grow.

Step 5

Allow meat to cool completely.

Store your jerky in an airtight container of some kind, or in Ziploc bags. This will prolong its shelf life. It will be good for 2-4 weeks when kept at room temperature, and if you freeze it, it can last for over 6 months.

If you choose to rehydrate your meat, place it in Tupperware with water. Seal the top and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.


As with meats, the higher the fat the quicker your meat will spoil. With fish, fat is distributed more evenly, and is much harder to remove during preparation. You’re best option is to go with a low-fat kind of fish and avoid fish with a higher fat content.

Some low-fat fish: cod, founder, haddock, halibut, sea bass, sea herring, sea trout, snapper and yellow perch.

Some high-fat fish: cat fish, mackerel, rainbow trout, salmon, shark, tuna.

It’s not inherently bad to use high-fat fish, if those are what you enjoy then that’s fine. Just remember they will have a shorter shelf life.

What you’ll need:

  1. A kitchen, with an oven and fridge
  2. Your fish (1-2lb)
  3. A bowl
  4. Salt
  5. Seasoning
  6. A knife
  7. Tongs
  8. A bowl
  9. Airtight containers or Ziploc bags

Step 1

Cut your fish into thin strips, about ½ and inch, in even slices.

Step 2

Create a mixture of water and salt at a 2:1 ratio in your bowl. Place your fish in the bowl and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Rinse the fish off, and dry with a paper towel.

Step 4

Add salt and whatever seasoning you would like to the fish. Store in an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight.

Step 5

Put your fish onto an oven tray. Let them dry in the oven for 6-12 hrs at 150F. You’ll know when they’re ready when you can squeeze the fish and it won’t crumble.

Step 6

Let the fish cool completely.

Store them in air tight containers or Ziploc bags, in a cool, dry place.


Good luck and stay prepared!

Excalibur 3900W Excalibur 3900W 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator White, 1, White

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  1. We have been able to keep jerky made by marinading meat in salt water and drying for up to six months with no refrigeration

  2. NICE. I wanted to err on the side of caution, but having jerky that lasts longer than a month is definitely possible.

  3. Thanks for the tips. Were going to give it a try this weekend. Most of our preps have been building our food storage with freeze dried items because they don’t need to be refrigerated and have a very long shelf life. You should try some of the food from . I found this company after trying some MREs and some of the freeze dried meals which we found way too salty and awful tasting. offers a different approach to food storage. They sell the individual ingredients you need to keep cooking the same meals your family already likes. You can get many types of vegetables, fruit, meats and everything else you need to make chicken broccoli, beef stew, lasagna, pizza, and chicken fajitas with rice and beans… just about everything. Since you follow your own recipes you know it will taste the way your family likes it. By using the individual freeze dried ingredients that have a shelf life of up to 25 years you can be sure you are storing what your family will eat either during an emergency or every day as part of the rotation process.

  4. My thoughts on boiling to kill the bacteria are microbes are natural, and everywhere. Everyone has 3 to 5 pounds of microbes within and on their body. A diverse population of microbes is protective by taking up space, which limits the number of new microbes that can take up residence in your food. When something is sterilized the diverse population of microbes are eliminated. When something is sterilized, and left at room temp it will be repopulated with microbes until the empty space is filled with new microbes. The new population could be mostly pathogenic, benign, or somewhere in between. Salt encourages good bacteria, and discourages bad bacteria. Salt has a long history of keeping foods safe to eat.

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