Biltong is an iconic South African snack. It is naturally best fresh, but how long will biltong last and how do you keep it from going mouldy? ….that’s if your family or kids don’t find it first!
There’s an estimated 246,000 (and counting) South Africans currently living in the UK. It’s most often us South Africans having moved overseas that miss biltong the most. In South African, most households eat biltong almost as quickly as we can get it. In my house here in Devon, UK I have to hide my biltong away from the family, who sniff if out and chow it like no tomorrow!
But how long will biltong last if you find yourself in the fortunate position of having too much to eat all at once.
Can biltong expire?
When does biltong expire? It’s a hard question to answer because biltong is cured and dried meat. This is done to protect it from harmful contamination, because of this the meat will not go bad.
The longer you leave it, the less likely it will be to hold it’s freshness and taste, but the meat itself will not spoil. However, mould can spoil your biltong!
How long will biltong last
In the right conditions, fresh biltong should last for at least 4-6 days before being at risk of mould. But this can be even longer in the right conditions.
The best way to extend that time is to vacuum pack it or keep it in the fridge in a paper bag. In a well ventilated, non-humid environment biltong can last for 2 weeks or more. But when my family are around and see me open a fresh pack of lekker bru biltong, I seldom see it last for longer than a few minutes, never mind a few weeks!
Mould needs humidity and oxygen to grow and flourish. So it’s best to keep your biltong sealed until you want to eat it. When removing biltong slices from a vacuum-sealed packet, mix the slices around covering them in the salty spice mix. This will help keep the mould away and make it taste extra lekker.
Giving your biltong a little daily mix will help keep pieces drier and continue to help prevent mould which usually forms on surfaces when pieces are touching. But, the longer you leave it the dryer it will become. So don’t worry about how long will biltong last, make sure you enjoy it before the mould does!
Is Mouldy biltong safe to eat?
How long will biltong last before mould sets in depends on the climate you are storing it in, but it can be as little as 2-3 days in some cases. Some varieties of mould are safe to eat, blue cheese is a common example.
While you may often be fine eating a bit of mould, there are no guarantees because you don’t know what bacteria is growing, so if you want to be strictly safe you should throw it out. Especially if there is extensive mould growth.
White mould is common in charcuterie and cheese craftsman. The white bloom is a sign to the craftsman that fermentation has started properly. Although biltong is different to this there are similarities. It’s fine to cut off mouldy bits of even dab with a clean cloth in vinegar, a great way to remove a bit of mould. Who’s mom hasn’t scraped the mould off food before serving it?
That said, when it comes to how long will biltong last. Fresh is best. Mould does ruin the taste, so enjoiy it while it tastes good!
How do you store biltong after opening?
We would recommend keeping moist biltong in vacuum bags in the fridge and see the best before dates. Once opened, keep it in a paper bag or a bit of newspaper and mix it up daily until consumed. Do not leave an open packet of biltong meat in its plastic bag
To find out more tips about how long will biltong last, check out our blog. How to store biltong 5 essential biltong storage tips.