Monthly Archives: January 2010

Taste My Jerky

In the spirit of my recent cooking experiments involving almond butter and egg muffins, I also decided to have a go at home made beef jerky and almond milk.

Almond milk is fairly easy to come by in Switzerland and can be found in health food stores. It is relatively expensive (c. CHF5 per litre) but the main issue I have with it are the ingredients and I can’t find a version without added sugar.

A quick YouTube search showed that making almond milk at home is laughably simple and all you need are some almonds, a sieve and a blender. The only prep time involves soaking the almonds overnight in water, after which you blend the almonds together with water (I used a ratio of 1 cup almonds to 2 cups water), sieve out the pulp and hey preso, almond milk.

Unfortunately it didn’t turn out so well. The making of it was indeed quite simple, but the final product tasted quite frankly awful. I can understand why manufacturers add sugar, because my version tasted of water with a very slightly almondy touch. I was hoping for something altogether more creamy and nutty, but it wasn’t to be.

I’ve kind of abandoned the idea now the almond milk as I have discovered something far better – coconut milk. Not only is it super paleo friendly, coconut milk tastes fantastic and is widely available in Switzerland. You can get it in Migros and Coop, but the cheapest place I’ve found it is in the Asian stores most of which seem to be around the Gare Cornavin. There you can buy a litre for less than CHF5, whereas in Coop it will set you back CHF6 or 7.

While the almond milk was not such a success, the beef jerky proved to be altogether more satisfying.

I have actually managed to find a pretty good source of jerky which is Manor. It is also available in Coop, where they have a “bio” version which tastes like old boot leather, but Manor is the way to go. The only problem is that it is quite expensive (CHF90 per kilo) and is made with sugar and a bunch of other additives.

Consequently I wanted to try my own, and once again there are numerous tutorials, both written and video, on the internet as to how to make it, and it is a simple, if time consuming process.

You need a lean cut of beef for this to work as fattier cuts spoil more quickly when dried. Once you have your beef, the first step is to marinade it for a few hours.

I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules about ingredients but I went for worcestershire sauce, onion powder, soy sauce, garlic, apple vinegar and some generic meat spice powder.

Once the beef has been marinating for a few hours, the next step is to put it into the oven.

The key here is that the meat needs to be dried, not cooked. That means putting the oven on a very low temperature (I went for 50c) and leaving it there for up to 12 hours.

The jerky is ready when the meat turns dark and it is dry throughout.

I definitely need to play around with the spice combination but I was pretty happy with the way it turned out and it tasted just as good as the stuff from Manor. It is quite a laborious process and I’m not sure whether I will carry on doing it. I think it makes sense to make this stuff in bulk and my oven is just not big enough.

I’m debating whether to buy a dehydrator which I’ve found online for around CHF150 and will allow me to prepare bigger batches.

If any one of the seven or so readers (on a good day) are still awake after reading this (hi mum!), I will keep you all posted on the dehydrator – exciting times await….