My daughter favorite food is beef jerky. Today we thought we would show how osmosis works. In our case, Osmosis is the process which a water passes through food and evaporates. The great thing about beef jerky is that it will last a long time because all the water is removed. My daughter loves it because it is a super yummy snack and its healthy.
What you need:
- 4-5 pounds flank steak
- dehydrator or oven
- season pack from beef jerky outlet (will make 15 pounds)
- 1 cup water
- Zip Lock bags
- 2 days
What you do:
- Freeze all the flank steak 4-6 hours
- Take out the freezer and cut into 1/4 inch strips ( best let a parent help)
- Put back in the fridge to let thaw for hour
- Add seasoning and cure to 1 cup water
- Mix together
- Add steak strips in mixtures and cover thoroughly
- Put back in Zip Lock bags
- Insert into another Zip Lock bag to make sure there is no leakage
- Leave in fridge overnight
- Put strips on racks of dehydrator – make sure they are not touching
- Dehydrate for 4-10 hours
What we discovered:
It’s better to freeze the meat before cutting. If the meat is soft it will be harder to cut. The longer it dehydrates the more water moves out of the meat and the tougher it is. We thought a perfect time was 10 hours. Little Mac likes her beef jerky extra crispy (like bacon). It is a pain in the butt to clean each tray, otherwise, I would dehydrate a lot more. We found a little Pam helps with the clean up.
You can also do this in an oven or convection oven at 200 degrees for the same amount of time. I would do it at night because the room does get pretty hot.
Science behind it:
The meat has a high concentration of water. The Jerky seasoning and cure has lots of salt and flavor molecules dissolved in it and a low concentration of water. As the dehydrator heats up the water molecules heat up and begin to move. The water can move through the membrane and lining of the muscle because they are so small. Water tend to move from areas of high water concentration to low concentration. The water leaves the muscle cells and moves to the jerky seasoning and because the dehydrator is so hot it makes the water evaporate.
Here some items we used for our experiment: