How do I preserve a large amount of meat in under a day?

Moved into a new Rural House and found a couple large mutant spiders roaming the forest nearby. Decided to kill them so they don’t disturb any future terraforming work I do. After turning said mutant spiders into fresh mutant corpses, I decided it was time to try the Full Butchery option. With the right tools at hand, the yields turned out to be much more than I expected - just over 80 chunks of fresh mutant meat. I also did not expect the game to tell me they would all rot in under a day.

I have access to a charcoal smoker but no charcoal to utilize it (I recall smoked meat being the optimal solution in older builds). I could make meat jerky, which would require an entire hour of cooking for each piece of meat I treat. I have other options, like sandwiches and burgers, but they aren’t very nutritious and don’t seem to be viable for actually preserving the meat, especially in such large amounts.

The meat is currently stored in a refrigerator; I don’t know whether storing it this way has any impact on its shelf life. Consumables seemed to stay frozen whenever I stored them in such a manner so I decided it was the best option for now. I considered making space in my active minifridge for said 20L of meat, but I don’t know if doing this will actually have any impact on it.

How can I store and cook all the meat in under a day so it doesn’t go bad? It would seem like such a huge waste if this were to happen.

TL;DR: Have 83 chunks of fresh mutant meat, 23 hours until they all rot. It is 8pm and my character is getting Tired. What can I do to preserve the meat with the time I have left, if I have no charcoal to utilize my charcoal smoker?

I don’t think food decay when frozen, i.e. in a freezer. A fridge slows down the decay so you can get a bit extra time before the food decays. You say you have a fridge, but talk about it staying frozen in it…

The decay rate seems to be very high, though, as that’s about what I’d expect from liver, but if it’s very hot the decay rate can well be increased, and a fridge ought to help with that, bringing it down to more normal levels.

The advice I’d make is to prepare charcoal in advance, which obviously won’t be useful for this time. The other advice is to craft whatever “normal” food you decide to make (such as jerky) directly from the fridge and NOT take it out first: I’ve had liver rotting in the single step between removing it from the freezer and invoking the foie gras recipe, while the next attempt, done after dumping the rotting liver, was to craft foie gras directly from the freezer (and the liver was from the same animal in both cases, and had been put into the freezer as a single stack action).

If I recall correctly, refrigerators were not active pieces of furniture and did not help food reach higher levels of “cooling”, they just preserved the level the food already had (i.e. Cold food could not turn Frozen, but rather stayed Cold for longer). I don’t know if this mechanic was ever changed or whether I even had the right understanding of it to begin with.

The meat is currently Cold and says it will rot in 23 hours.

I do know that regular house furniture do not have wiring running through them and cannot be considered active as per the game’s lore. I am pretty sure, however, that an active minifridge helps raise cool levels, which is why I was considering moving the meat and compromising the other food I had in it. As for the actual cooking, should I just try batch crafting meat jerky for a reduction in cooking time? What kind of fuel would I need for such a prolonged task? Wood logs?

When I said fridge, I really meant minifridge (and freezer would refer to minifreezer). I didn’t expect minifridges to perform any complex thermal calculations resulting in compromising other things inside it, but certainly don’t know.
However, during winter things in my minifridges have frozen, so the protection seems to go only one way.

I’d definitely try to batch craft, as I believe the decay stops at the start of crafting (rather than set a separate timer for each item crafted), but expect the end result to have its shelf life significantly shortened (I’ve seen that happen when crafting food where some of the ingredients have aged a bit).
The “fuel” source I’d use is electricity from the same source that powers the minifridge, but I guess that’s not an option, so yes, I’d try a bonfire approach (and stay two tiles away from it when crafting, rather than on the next tile to avoid some of the smoke).

Does storing food in a regular refrigerator even do anything? Or are they just glorified containers for food spawns around the map? I was convinced food rot was slowed down whenever food was stored in one of those (as opposed to a counter or a floor, for example)…

Using electricity is feasible, I do have an RV kitchen unit installed into my car, I’m just worried for my car’s battery life after such a long batch crafting session.

I suppose I will end up cooking meat jerky, I have tons of soy sauce and seasoning. Thanks for your help. I’m worried I’m not going to make it on time - especially since my character is Tired and going to sleep now will shave 8-9 hours off the meat’s shelf life.

EDIT: Can’t I burn wood logs to make charcoal, now that I think of it? I recall you could make your own charcoal somehow. Would that take too long to be useful in this situation?

I’ve gotten the impression from somewhere that things in regular refrigerators will remain cooler to some extent if they were cool to begin with (like a poor quality thermos), but I’ve never bothered to try it.

To make charcoal you need the appropriate furniture, which you can build (assuming sufficient skills). If I remember correctly there are two versions, with one being useful and the other fairly useless (in the “working” one you fill it up with logs, splinters, etc. start it, and your coal is ready in a day or so). Just burning wood results in ash, which has some limited uses.
If I remember correctly, you can fill the coal maker (I don’t recall the correct name at the moment) with something like 6 or 7 logs per batch, and you’d want to build up a healthy stock of coal for when you get meat to process, as the quicker you process it the more shelf life the resulting dried->dehydrated meat gets.

Also note that losing some of the meat isn’t catastrophic: as long as you get some of it you’ve gotten something out of it. Personally I don’t use tainted meat, but I believe it can be used safely if used in moderation.

The meat isn’t tainted, it’s mutant - which (from what I’ve seen) is on par with regular meat when it comes to cooking recipes that make use of it. This is why I’m so adamant on preserving it. My character does not know anything they could craft with actual tainted meat, at least as far as Cooking 3 and Survival 3 are concerned. I also got 15 chunks of mutant fat out of the whole ordeal, but those will only go bad in a while so they’re not a concern just yet.

I was not aware I had to make furniture in order to turn logs into charcoal. That’s bad news for me. I probably don’t have the right skills to build it, was never able to raise my Fabrication beyond 1 and it’s really biting me in the ass at this stage of the game. I will either burn logs in an oven for the batch session, or use the integrated hotplate in my RV kitchen unit.

I don’t think that’s the case. While I’ve also observed that items that spawn inside start “cold”, they do seem to warm up quickly.
I can check the code, but for now I’d just assume that the furniture refridgerator don’t actually slow down food rot. Other than the vehicle cooler, which does so by 20% (for sure) compared to the external temperature, or the vehicle freezer, which halts rot completely.

Depending on the version you’re playing on, there might be a trick… If you start crafting, you can interrupt the crafting process (with . or 5). The temporary “crafting in progress” item has already the rot timer of the finished product… meaning it will spoil much slower, allowing you to get all your food turned into “crafting in progress” items and get some sleep without much to worry about.
However, I’m not sure if this is still the case or if it was the case back in the 0.E-3 stable release. But it might be worth a try.

Yeah, tainted meat is not safe, not even in moderation. Mutant meat however “only” contains toxins (cooking/preparing does not get rid of them), which are fine if consumed in moderation.

Also, generally speaking, if you get access to a lower Z-level, use it. Your food will spoil slower on lower Z-levels, assuming it’s not winter outside (or late-autum/early-spring). If it’s winter, food will spoil slower outside.

In that case I will definitely have to make space in my active vehicle minifridge. That’s a good piece of information to know, I’ll keep that in mind.

Does this mean the “crafting in progress (meat jerky)” item will have a shelf life of 3 weeks even though it’s still technically raw meat? Interesting. I’m using Stable 0.E-3, would love to hear more about this.

I did not actually see the meat contained toxins, thanks for pointing that out. I was careful not to consume any in the other foods I found or could potentially cook so far. I assumed they’d poison me. How much is “in moderation”? I don’t feed my Overweight character much, but did intend to make the treated meat a regular source of food since it is so plentiful…

I don’t have access to a lower Z-Level in this house, but I may be able to dig one. It is early Spring (Day 24) with default season length currently. Once I take care of the meat, which should then provide a good source of nutrition, I’ll start doing work around the house, including removing obstacles, boarding up and reinforcing entrances, setting up traps and changing the layout of some of the rooms.

On a completely unrelated note, is there a good way to treat large bodies of water without boiling them? Water purification tablets don’t seem to work with full jerrycans or gallon jugs of water, and micro-managing my water supply is becoming kind of tedious.

Also, how do I find a stable source of power for my makeshift arc welder? In a couple hours, and a dozen or so car parts, it has consumed all the medium batteries I have accumulated over a month of scavenging, and no battery I have is full enough to continue repairing or installing parts with it.

Yes, basically that. Although you can’t eat it (until fully cooked/prepared) or transform it into any other food in that state, so if you plan on eating part of it soon, it might be worth keeping a part of it raw/cooked instead of as half finished meat jerky.
And while it does have the shelf life of the finished product, it does not completely halt the rotting process (just give you more time).

Also, I just remembered that this way to interrupt crafting processes did not exist back in 0.E-3 (assuming I remember this right). So this might not be the solution to your problem.

I… actually don’t know. I know that one can eat a bit without any problems, but I never cared for exact numbers.
I don’t think that it’s possible to kill a character by toxins directly… but they do cause spasms and pain, and that could kill you or cause massive harm if it happens in a combat situation.

As for other food, it usually states that it will poison you if you try to eat it (causing pain, nausea and damage), if it actually is poison (like drinking bleach or eating tainted meat). However, there are also food parasites that you can get by eating raw meat, which are - in my opinion - a much greater risk.

If you already have to dig one, I’d go for the root cellar (in the build menu)… More balanced skill requirements and - last time I’ve checked - with an identical lower Z-level temperature bonus.

Hm, yes and no…
Water purification tablets should work, but you’ll need a lot of them to get a barrel or similar clean.
There’s a water purifier that runs on batteries, as well as a charcoal version. But they too have their limits.

However, there’s a trick to get “safe” water (not clean water per se):

If you drink one unit of water from the container and then check your @ character menu and did not get food poisoning, the whole container is safe. If you refill it before completely using it up, it should stay safe.

Also, as a survivor’s note suggests; pour water from one container to another, as “contaminants” are not tracked.

A recharging station can be installed in vehicles can charge your (rechargeable) batteries back up, at the cost of car battery charges. You can also install the makeshift welder into a vehicle to draw power directly from the car battery.
Sooner or later I’d suggest to install a solar panel or wind-/water turbine on the vehicle to recharge the car battery (or storage battery).


As Valase said, solar/wind/water power is the long term option.

I managed to get by an intermediate stage when I found a working limo with a working recharging station (for reusable “normal” batteries) and a working solar powered car plus jumper cables. That allowed me to use the solar car to charge the limo (and run the limo fridge for about half the night, extending the shelf life for some food by a little bit…).

Also, don’t underestimate the usefulness of swapable vehicle batteries. Those allow you to charge batteries for use in other vehicles both as an electric range extension, as a way to cut losses from the use of jumper cables.

I ended up successfully making meat jerky out of all the mutant meat chunks I had. Placing extra meat into an active minifridge helped keep it fresh for another day, as I cooked each batch for about 5 hours and needed 4 in total to finish the stack (no renewable light source so I was only able to cook during the day). The cooked meat is not as filling as I thought it would be; it takes about 14 portions to get my survivor from Hungry to Full, so it will probably last a week at best - as they drop from Overweight back to Normal weight levels and require more feeding.

I got excited about leveling up Fabrication to 2 but then forgot why I needed it in the first place. I will only be able to craft a Charcoal Kiln at level 3, but that’s not really needed anymore as I don’t have any more meat to smoke. I can’t craft a recharging station so I will shift my focus towards either finding one, or finding solar panels to power storage batteries that in turn will power a little functional mobile kitchen unit that will stay at base and be separate from my main vehicle.

My problem is still that damn makeshift arc welder. There’s no way to recharge it. I thought about constructing a light battery mod and attaching it to the welder so that I can use up all my light batteries as well, problem is that plan will really screw me over if said mod is not detachable again. I can’t conveniently explore for spare parts either, I moved out of town and it’s Day 32, I think I’m so off curve with the monster evolution I’m actually scared to enter the city again.

What I usually do:

  • grab frames, batteries, and Solar Panels.
  • do some “fridge disassembling” runs to get enough parts to craft minifreezers and a kitchen buddy);
  • get 2 or 3 60L tanks for water.
  • create a “vehicle” that has a weird “shape” which starts outside the house then goes in through a window slot in the walls of the building (which you can cover with an opaque board and a roof once the frame is there);
  • Solar panels and batteries on the outside half of the “vehicle”
  • Minifreezers (2, or 3, maybe more depending on the amount of stuff you want to store), tanks, water faucet, kitchen buddy all go inside the house, with a dashboard, an electronics control unit, controls and a couple headlights / dome light.

There you go. Self sufficient Solar Powered appliances.

If, at any point, I do not have this to preserve a lot of meat / perishables, I turn the fat into tallow and the meat into dehydrated meat as much as I can. It’s really easy to come by, so even if you lose a lot of it, you can always find more contenders (especially seeing animals and mutant animals are plenty nowadays)

You DO have a need for the charcoal kiln, as the next time you get meat on your hands you’ll have to have prepared the charcoal (and smoking racks) to start the processing immediately. However, the need isn’t immediate, but it’s still an important fairly near term goal.

This was my plan too.

I constructed a tiny 2-frame vehicle inside my kitchen, onto which I intended to install the minifridge from my car and an electronics control unit to turn it on and off. I then intended to attach a couple swappable storage battery slots (or just the batteries, don’t exactly remember how it works) that will be recharged with another tiny vehicle outside that has some solar panels on it. That’s something I did back in Stable 0.C and felt pretty cool about. I won’t connect the vehicle to the outside solely for aesthetic reasons.

Now I run into some issues:

  1. I don’t have a way to power my makeshift arc welder unless I attach a light battery mod to it, and even then I will only have about 1k charges at my disposal. I can’t make a recharging station, and I’m fairly sure there was another requirement for the device before you could place it onto one to recharge it (UPS conversion?).

  2. I don’t have a hacksaw to remove vehicle parts (will probably need one for the solar panels).

  3. Never found the solar panels themselves. Scouted the roads leading to the nearby towns but found none. If I want to continue looking I will actually have to go into a city and clear out all the mutated zombies that roam around after a month of being left alone to evolve. I don’t know if my gear or my car can take it. I use a nail baseball bat as a primary and a CZ-75 (9mm) as my sidearm. My car is just a regular car repaired to sustain slightly more abuse.

Fair enough, I’ll make it a priority to craft one since I don’t really have another play direction currently. I need Fabrication 3 to make it so I think I’ll just construct and deconstruct an empty window frame until I level up. Will I be able to deconstruct it using regular methods or will I actually have to destroy it like a wall? How would I go about doing that, do I need something like a Sledgehammer to destroy walls? I wanted to do a little renovating regardless.

What would be a good source of meat for winter? There’s a massive bee hive nearby but I don’t know if I can take a giant bee on yet. They made pretty quick work of those Scarred Zombies last I checked.

You don’t charge your device directly form the recharging station, you recharge your batteries (assuming you got rechargeable ones) in the recharging station and then plug it back into your welder.

There are sometimes single solar cells lying around on the ground, but they are pretty rare (and would require skill to assemble into a panel anyway).
However, you can find solar panels mounted on some cars (which require bolt turning 2 and mechanic 2 to remove from the vehicle), or installed on the roof of some buildings, which can be taken down by the [*] Construction menuDeconstruct Furniture.

What “it”? The window frame? In that case, yes, you’ll need to destroy it, you can’t deconstruct it (you’re probably better off by building and deconstructing doors).
If “it” is the kiln, those can be deconstructed (it even says so in the construction menu).

Yes, something that has a high bash value. It also takes your strength into calculation.
Be careful, though, as smashing walls can (and will) cause some parts of the roof to collapse. There’s currently no way (that I know of) to prevent roof collapsing.

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Damn, no easy way to make an indoor garage then. Good thing I cleared up some of the nearby wooded trail, guess I’ll park my vehicles outside.

Good thing I don’t need a hacksaw, so far all the decent vehicle parts I could find (spikes, steel plating) did unfortunately require one. I believe installing solar panels still requires welding power, right? Still no convenient way to power my makeshift welder…

EDIT: I made a battery compartment mod for the welder so now I should be able to use the car’s storage battery to temporarily power it in order to repair and install car parts.

Nope, only a tool with bolt turning 2. However, it also requires a mechanics 4 skill, so you might be a bit out of luck there.

It seems I have eaten too much mutant jerky. I now have the “Concerning symptoms” status effect, although there is no noticeable effect on my statline or limb health. What should I do? I read in another thread it’s really nasty to get rid of, took the OP weeks to recover. Took some antibiotics in case they help, don’t really know what else I can do.

I made a battery compartment mod for my makeshift arc welder, I may be able to resume the installation of car parts once the small storage battery on my car recharges. I also found a canning pot in one of my raids which should allow me to make dog food and tame a dog once I find another source of meat. Is taming dogs worth it? Last I remember they sucked at melee combat and died pretty quickly.

I’m halfway through Mechanics 3, Wiki says crafting water purifiers should be the way to level up from this point on. I don’t have any rubber hoses though. Also haven’t found any solar panels.

EDIT #1:

I did mean the window frame. I can’t build regular doors, that would require me to have a wood saw. I deconstructed an existing door inside the house and built a makeshift one, however, which gave me quite a lot of Fabrication experience. Furthermore, deconstructing it does not destroy any supplies in the process, so I will simply construct and deconstruct the same door for the next day or so until I level up.

EDIT #2: I now get splitting headaches from the aforementioned status effect. I’m guessing things are getting worse. I’d be happy to receive some advice on how to deal with this.

Antibiotics do not help with toxins.
From what I can see by checking the code, valium helps preventing most of the effects that toxins can have. However, there’s no “cure” for the toxins in your body itself.
If I understand it correctly, toxins will decay over time (it will deduct 1 unit of toxins every 15 (ingame) minutes). Based on your stated status effect, you have between 950 and 1400 units of toxin in your body. So it will about take 10 days to get rid of all of the toxins in your body.

Pain is actually the lowest effect toxins have. The worst would be to randomly fall unconscious (if you get more than 1400 units of toxin built up).
Valium will suppress all effects, with the exception of pain.