Bacon grease is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can add flavor to many dishes. But when it comes to storing it, there seems to be some confusion.
Should you keep it on the counter like grandma used to do, or is the fridge a better option?
In this article, we’ll explore the best ways to store bacon grease and how long it can last. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting out, read on to learn more about this tasty fat and how to make the most of it in your kitchen.
Do You Store Bacon Grease In The Fridge?
When it comes to storing bacon grease, the fridge is the best option. While many people may have grown up with the tradition of keeping a jar of bacon grease on the counter, food safety experts now recommend against this method. When left at room temperature, bacon grease can quickly turn rancid due to its high content of polyunsaturated fats.
Storing bacon grease in the fridge will not only keep it fresh for longer but also make it easier to use. The fat will stay soft enough to scoop, and you can have delicious solid drippings at the ready whenever you need them.
To store bacon grease in the fridge, start by straining out any bits of leftover bacon with a coffee filter or mesh strainer. Then, pour the strained grease into an airtight container and close the lid tightly. Keeping the container airtight will help it retain its quality for longer, and you can scoop a spoonful from the jar whenever you need to.
Bacon grease stored in the fridge can last for up to three months. If you plan to freeze your bacon grease, portion small amounts by letting the grease cool slightly and then strain and pour into freezer-safe containers. Pop in the freezer and defrost it in the refrigerator overnight before using. Bacon grease stored in the freezer can last indefinitely.
Why Store Bacon Grease?
You might be wondering why you should bother storing bacon grease in the first place. Well, there are several reasons why you should consider saving this flavorful fat.
Firstly, bacon grease is a great way to add flavor to your cooking. It can be used to fry eggs, potatoes, and other vegetables, giving them a delicious smoky taste. You can also use it as a substitute for butter or oil in recipes, adding a unique flavor profile to your dishes.
Secondly, saving bacon grease can be a great way to reduce food waste. Instead of throwing away the leftover grease after cooking bacon, you can save it and use it for other recipes. This not only helps to reduce waste but also saves you money on buying additional cooking fats.
Lastly, bacon grease can be used for a variety of other purposes beyond cooking. It can be used as a fire starter, to lubricate squeaky hinges, and even as an emergency candle. By storing your bacon grease properly, you can have this versatile and flavorful fat at the ready whenever you need it.
Storing Bacon Grease On The Counter
While it may be tempting to store bacon grease on the counter, it is not recommended by food safety experts. When left at room temperature, bacon grease can quickly turn rancid and spoil due to exposure to heat, light, and air.
However, if you do decide to store bacon grease on the counter, there are a few things you can do to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible. Start by straining out any bits of leftover bacon with a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer. This will help prevent the grease from going rancid due to the presence of solid bits.
Next, choose a suitable container for storing your bacon grease. Mason jars or other heat-proof containers work well for this purpose. Make sure the container has a tight-fitting lid that will keep out air and light.
When storing bacon grease on the counter, it is important to keep in mind that it will only last for about a month before it starts to go rancid. To extend its shelf life, you may want to consider storing it in the fridge instead.
If you do store your bacon grease on the counter, make sure to keep it away from sources of heat and light, such as the stove or windowsill. This will help prevent it from spoiling too quickly.
The Benefits Of Storing Bacon Grease In The Fridge
Storing bacon grease in the fridge offers several benefits. Firstly, it helps to prevent bacterial growth and keeps the oil fresh for longer. This means that you can enjoy the delicious flavor of bacon in your cooking for a longer period of time.
Additionally, storing bacon grease in the fridge makes it easier to use. When kept at room temperature, bacon grease can become hard and difficult to scoop. However, when stored in the fridge, it remains soft and easy to scoop out whenever you need it.
Another benefit of storing bacon grease in the fridge is that it helps to reduce waste. When left at room temperature, bacon grease can quickly turn rancid and must be thrown away. However, by storing it in the fridge, you can extend its shelf life and reduce the amount of waste produced in your kitchen.
Finally, storing bacon grease in the fridge is a safer option than leaving it at room temperature. While many people may have grown up with the tradition of keeping a jar of bacon grease on the counter, food safety experts now recommend against this method. By storing bacon grease in the fridge, you can ensure that it remains safe to use and free from harmful bacteria.
How Long Can Bacon Grease Last?
Bacon grease can last quite a while if stored properly. Store-bought bacon grease typically keeps for a couple of months after the printed date. On the other hand, homemade bacon grease lasts about six months at room temperature and over a year if refrigerated. However, it’s worth noting that the storage time of homemade bacon grease can vary depending on how well you filter the fat, whether you seal it tight, and its overall quality.
If you want your bacon grease to last as long as possible, it’s best to store it in a cool, dark place such as the refrigerator or freezer. Improper storage, leading to exposure to heat and light, can make bacon grease go bad quicker, so avoid storing it in locations such as near the stove or in direct sunlight.
To determine if your bacon grease is still good for consumption, give it a sniff test. If it has a sour or rancid odor, then it has gone bad and should be discarded. Another way to tell if bacon grease has gone bad is by looking at its color. If it has turned from white to yellow, then it is no longer safe to consume. It’s important to note that once bacon fat has gone rancid, it can no longer be used safely.
Tips For Using Bacon Grease In Your Cooking
Bacon grease is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes to add flavor and richness. Here are some tips for using bacon grease in your cooking:
1. Use it as a cooking fat: Bacon grease is an excellent substitute for butter or oil when frying or sautéing foods. It adds a delicious smoky flavor that can take your dishes to the next level.
2. Make savory baked goods: Bacon grease can be used in place of butter or shortening in savory baked goods like cornbread, biscuits, and tortillas. It adds a delicious flavor and richness to these dishes.
3. Add it to vegetables: Bacon grease can be used to add flavor and richness to cooked vegetables like green beans, corn, and kale. Simply sauté the vegetables in the bacon grease until tender and flavorful.
4. Make homemade mayonnaise: Bacon grease can be used to make a delicious homemade mayonnaise that’s perfect for sandwiches and burgers. Simply mix the bacon grease with egg yolks, lemon juice, and mustard until emulsified.
5. Use it as a seasoning: Bacon grease can be used as a seasoning for soups, stews, and gravies. Use it to sauté onions and garlic before adding other ingredients for a delicious base flavor.
6. Make popcorn: Bacon grease can be used to pop popcorn for a delicious snack that’s full of flavor. Simply heat the bacon grease in a pot over medium-high heat, add popcorn kernels, cover, and cook until popped.
7. Season cast iron: Bacon grease is an excellent seasoning for cast iron cookware. Rub a small amount of bacon grease onto the surface of the cookware before baking it in the oven to create a non-stick surface that’s full of flavor.
Conclusion: Which Method Of Storing Bacon Grease Is Best?
In conclusion, the best method for storing bacon grease is in the fridge. Not only does it keep the grease fresh for up to three months, but it also makes it easy to scoop and use whenever you need it. While some may prefer to store their bacon grease at room temperature or in the freezer, these methods come with their own set of challenges.
Storing bacon grease at room temperature can lead to bacterial growth and rancidity, while freezing it can make it difficult to use and may affect its texture. Additionally, storing bacon grease in the fridge allows you to portion out small amounts and thaw them as needed, making it a convenient option for home cooks.
Ultimately, the decision of how to store your bacon grease will depend on your personal preference and cooking habits. However, if you want to ensure that your bacon grease stays fresh and flavorful for as long as possible, storing it in the fridge is the way to go.