The other day I was boasting on a recent meal I completed which included pretty much everything good in a kitchen from 1898: potato, onion, garlic, cheese, jalapeno and — the coup de grace — bacon.
(In a #6 cast iron skillet, layer the bacon so it hangs out the sides of the skillet. Layer in sliced taters, sliced onions, diced garlic, cut jalapeno and cheese about three times; then wrap the hangy-overy bacon on top, plop it in an oven that is heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for two and a half hours. If you go online to read this, I will post a picture.)
I stated something like, the meal was scalloped potatoes on crack, but that there was a lot of bacon grease I needed to drain. This lead to a brief conversation on what do you do with bacon grease and how do you store it? That conversation lead me to hop online to see what people do with their bacon grease.
Me, I store it in an brushed aluminum can that has the letters, “G R E A S E” on it and I store it in the fridge. But, this column isn’t about me; it is about “all” the time and effort I put in doing “research” for you on this burning question of the week. I, your humble scribe, live to serve you, the exalted reader.
So, I went to Google and typed in “How to store bacon grease” and received “about 1,650,000 results in 0.77 seconds.” There are a lot of people asking that question and as many, I think, answering.
The website I found during this research I trusted the most was: www.HillBillyHouseWife.com. If anybody knows how to handle bacon grease, it will be a hillbilly wife. (Is that a racist, sexist statement?)
Wrote, she: “I use the bacon grease to cook eggs in the morning, when I’m sauteing veggies and even some meats (pan fried pork chops anyone) and when I’m starting soups or stews. Of course, it also makes awesome gravy to serve on biscuits or toast.”
And, about storage?
On The Counter: You can keep that jar on the counter, next to the stove. If that’s what you decide to do, strain any little bits and pieces of bacon from the grease before storing it. A strainer and some cheesecloth work well for that. On the counter, the fat will stay good for about a month. After that you will notice that it starts to go rancid.
In The Fridge: I prefer to keep my grease in the fridge. It’s out of the way, doesn’t clutter up my counters and lasts a very long time – 6 months in fact. That’s why I’m comfortable having a continuous jar of bacon drippings, adding to it each time we cook bacon. Every six months, I use up what we have and clean out the jar before starting over.
In the Freezer: If you don’t use your bacon grease much, or want a longer storage option, freeze it. In the freezer, your bacon grease will last for up to a year. I’ve never frozen bacon grease because we go through it so quickly. It’s a nice option to have and may come in handy if you’re leaving home for a few months and still have some bacon grease leftover.
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So, what should you store it in? I found my metal can wasn’t the bestest way. One website states, “Your best options for storing bacon grease are a glass or ceramic container, such as a Mason jar or a ceramic jar. Glass and ceramic don’t absorb odors. Another option for storing bacon grease is in a high-quality stainless steel container, which completely blocks out light and can go directly onto the stove to reheat the grease. Avoid storing bacon grease in plastic because the plastic tends to react with the grease and make it difficult to clean.”
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How do you know if the BG goes bad? Everybody says, to use your nose, you WILL know when it goes rancid.
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Other uses for bacon grease? I found some interesting things from Yumi Sakugawa (a comic book artist and illustrator based in Southern California, so what he says has to be true, right?) about “other” uses for bacon grease.
1. Of course, was to “season” your cast iron skillets. But, dig these next uses.
2. Need to get a painful splinter out of your skin? Apply some bacon grease onto the affected area and place a band-aid on it overnight. The bacon grease will soften the skin tissue and draw out the splinter, making it easier to remove with tweezers the next day.
3. Bacon grease candle: pour grease into jar, suspend a natural fiber wick using a toothpick and put in fridge until needed.
4. Bacon grease soap. Yup. Mix grease, water and lye and bingo, you can clean yourself and smell like bacon when you leave home.
5. Bacon-infused bourbon. WHAT? Writes Sakugawa, “add one oz of strained bacon grease to bourbon in nonporous container … Infuse for 4 to 6 hours at room temperature … Then place in freezer until fat solidifies … Remove the fat and strain in back into the bottle…”
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My first Google search was, “the magic of bacon grease.” Guess what I found? For vegans there is a bacon-craving solution. “Born of necessity and mad science, 20 years of veganism, lots of traveling and being taunted by rich local foods in Mexico and the American South. Thus did Magic Vegan Bacon Grease come into the world . . . Don’t fret about no longer being able to make your down-home favorite dishes after going vegan, because with Magic Vegan Bacon Grease, you’re ready to recreate all those comfort foods you’ve missed for years.”
Here are the ingredients: coconut oil, soy protein, sea salt, maple syrup, black pepper, onion, garlic, torula yeast, natural smoke flavor. Want it, check out VeganEssentials.com.
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