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bacon grease storage

 
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For weird health reasons I have been vegetarian since 1983, and before that off and on since 1976. Due to more weird health stuff I'm attempting to eat some meat. It's ... not easy, I am getting it down the same way I get down noxious tasting herbal remedies, just shut up and do it, doesn't matter what you think of it.  
So classify me as a newbie to this...  

How do I make bacon grease store best?  

Got a 10 pound box of bacon ends and pieces, diced it up, cooked it all. Bagged and froze it, will use it by handfuls in foods. Lots of bacon grease. I fine sieved it into a metal can (it was still warm) and it's on the counter. Is this wise? My experience, and my mom's, is no one refrigerated bacon grease in the past. But was it a big can full? This is about a 2.5 quart can, with a top. I don't use a lot of bacon grease yet, still learning, but I expect this to take a long time to get through.

I really have fridge space issues, and the freezer is ... packed. And I pack WELL. Know the kind of person who can fit massive amounts of stuff into a car or suitcase, way past what you'd think was possible? I'm one of those, and I packed that freezer, and if I say there's not room, I am serious. :D

I have canning jars, and can put it down into airtight glass easily (although I'd not run it through a canner! Grease on the lids blows seals.)

How do I make bacon grease store best?

Thanks for help

:D

 
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my folks here store bacon grease in cans in a cool pantry-- not sealed or canned, just in a metal can. Personally i think they're nuts and store my grease/lard/etc in the fridge. It gets wicked hot, there are varmints, and my there's only so much counter space; it's not supposed to go bad if you get ALL the liquid out but I've smelled it go bad and it's vile. My mother in law and aunties render down pork skins for the fat and they keep it liquid in bottles in the kitchen. but i don't think it lasts for more than a week with them, since they deep fry in it.

Personally if I were you and I had the volume you have I would divide it into smaller jars and keep one on the stove or counter and the rest in the coolest place you have in the house, basement, whatever, that way if you lose one jar you won't lose it all.
You've noticed one problem is using it- if you keep it near your stove you're more likely to use it than if it's hidden somewhere.
 
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I'd keep a small pint sized mason jar on the counter if you use it up fast enough, the rest I'd keep in pint sized jars in a deep freezer. Fat in a deep freezer (0F) can last for a couple of years. If it's bad you'll smell it.
 
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I store it anywhere cool - preferably under 80°f. I don't can it or worry about sealing it, beyond keeping critters and dust out. But, I typically use smaller containers than that - pint to quart size, typically. Nothing fancy - just recycled pickle jars and the like.
 
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I agree with Teresa. It seems to keep rather well on its own. I would also not want to risk it above about 80F for extended periods. I presume when it's cool enough to be solid, it would keep longer. If it is cured, I would also presume that curing would extend to after it has been rendered. If not, perhaps adding a little sodium nitrate might help. I believe commercial lard is preserved with a little citric acid also. I also wonder if a little coconut oil might help stabilize it.

Canning is interesting. I've never known anyone to do it in my area. If sealing is an issue with modern jars and lids, I would imagine just leaving the rings on them tightly would allay any concern. If you have any old bail type jars, I would think them ideal. Or maybe Wick style jars. I've even wondered about some of these modern bail type glass containers for canning, but I don't know if they can withstand heating.
 
Pearl Sutton
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I wouldn't can it, just put it into airtight glass jars.
So far it's not solid, and it's hot out, but the A/C is keeping this house fairly tolerable, between 78-80 or so. I'll have to check that thread about lard not hardening...

Smaller containers I can do. Airtight I can do.

Is filtering it through a fine strainer enough? That strainer will pass flour, but not grains of quinoa. I have cloth I can strain through if it matters.
 
Carla Burke
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Is filtering it through a fine strainer enough? That strainer will pass flour, but not grains of quinoa. I have cloth I can strain through if it matters.



I have a fine stainless steel coffee filter that I use, but my grandmas just used a cheap metal sieve - and they kept it on the stove, between burners, year 'round. Granted, they used it every day, and added to it 3 - 8 times per month. In this heat, it will take quite a while to solidify, the first time. Sounds like you're on the right track.
 
Tereza Okava
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Carla Burke wrote:cheap metal sieve


here too.
I don't think you're going to have problems, especially if you have air conditioning in the house.
like anything else, use your senses, give it a sniff when you open the jar, maybe even taste it if you're extra suspicious (I had a bitter batch of bacon once, which ruined the whole greasepot because of course I didn't taste the bacon til after I poured the grease in. we never found out what it was, my cousin claims "old bacon" gets bitter but we sometimes store bacon for a long time here, so not sure about that.). I don't really think you can go wrong though.

Bacon grease is a magical ingredient, it gives a little something something to everything (I often use it in the wok for Chinese cooking). I only started using it a few years ago and I remember growing up my mother would literally be sick if she knew something was cooked in lard or bacon grease-- how far I've come!!! 😂
But once you start, mmm mmm. Use instead of oil/butter in your cornbread, is my suggestion....
 
Pearl Sutton
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I'm a Discworld fan, and all the restaurants there offer "fried slice" with things like sausage and eggs. I had the pan with not scraped out well drippings, decided to try it. Ezekiel 7 grain sprouted bread and bacon grease with bacon crumbs in it still. That's addictive! That's the best thing I have tried with any of the meat stuff I have been doing!  :D
 
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when I was a kid, over 50  years ago, we scraped or poured out the bacon grease into a can. The can was kept by the stove so you could use the bacon grease to put oil in a pan so things wouldn't stick.  It was the never ending can of bacon grease.  I don't think my Mom had heard of Olive oil at that point in time.  It was either lard, crisco or corn oil or the ubiquitous can of bacon grease.  

Fast forward to today.  I don't cook bacon often enough to have bacon grease sitting around. If I did, and I had room in the frig, I would probably put it in there especially in the summer. However, I do render lard from our home raised pigs.  I cut up the pig fat and put in in the slow cooker with about a quarter cup of water and I let the slow cooker melt the fat. I then strain the liquid hot lard through a bakers sieve, what you use to sift flower over a funnel into quart jars. Then I put a new canning lid on it and it seals down on its own. This stuff keeps for at least six months in my basement at about 60 to 65 degrees.  So I suspect that you could easily store bacon fat the same way in either pint jars or quart jars.  

I made my own home cured bacon and hams from our own pig last year. It was easy and worked great. The bacon is awesome, but I just don't eat bacon that much and neither does my husband.  I don't keep a can of bacon grease sitting around because it would probably go rancid especially in the summer. I do cook bacon in a pan then saute up veggies and what not in the fat when making certain soups.  

You can also render chicken fat and duck fat and beef fat.  I have some duck fat in the door of my frig in a pint canning jar.  I raised and butchered the ducks so wanted to keep some of the fat. The duck fat does taste good for frying/ sauteing.  

good luck
 
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I keep some fat from cooking meat (hamburger as well as bacon) in this can on the counter:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B095BLGTZS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1   I used to just keep the grease in a can or a canning jar, but I like the strainer that comes with these cans.

If it starts to go bad, toss it and start over.  If the house was warmer indoors (like before we got AC in here), I'd keep it in the frig.
Grease that goes bad often has too much meat juice left in it (like butter going rancid because the milk wasn't all rinsed out of it).  Grease on it's own, as long as it's reasonably cool, will keep well for quite a while.

I got two of those grease cans, by the way, intending to use one as a milking pail for my Nigerian Dwarf goats.  

Hopefully eating meat will help with the health problems.  I've had to go to eating almost nothing but meat, attempting to deal with auto-immune issues.  (It's working, thankfully, though I miss being able to eat fruits and vegetables.)
 
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When you say store bacon grease, it depends on how long.  Pork fat contains approximately 1/3 saturated fat which will last almost forever; 1/3 monounsaturated fat which will last a long time; and the rest is polyunsaturated fat which has a relatively short life span (which causes the rancid odor); because it is in a mixture, it will generally stay good for a few to 5 or 6 years (depending on all kinds of factors - such as what was the pig fed) before giving off the rancid odor.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Thank you, everyone for your replies!  :D

What I ended up doing was taking the filtered grease in the can I had it in, heating it just enough to melt it, then carefully using a ladle to take off only the super clean stuff on top. I put it into sterilized canning jars, got them so full there is only about a teaspoon of air bubble in each jar. Tightened the lids well, put them in the fridge and let them set up solid, and put them in my coolest room in the house where I store food.

The rest went into a smaller can to be used immediately.

So I went for as little air as I could, as few meat bits as I could, all done as clean and neat as I could, and stored as cool as I can. Hopefully that will work!

:D
 
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I put the fat part in the freezer, and slice it to use like butter. Low salt bacon makes a "sweeter" grease, but it doesn't keep as well.

I use the drippings part, or sometimes all of it, to make bacon grease gravy -- a basic milk gravy. Delicious!

I make bacon a very lazy way -- I cut the meatiest bacon I can find into bite-sized pieces and microwave it in a covered glass dish (stirring as needed). This doesn't extract near as much fat as pan-frying it, but makes more juice that is really tasty for that gravy. Doesn't get crisp, but I think it's a good trade-off.

 
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We store our bacon grease and rendered lard in the fridge and freeze extra if there’s a bunch.

Ive heard its fine to leave out at room temperature but it just seems safer to us to cool it down. No worries of flies or rancidness that way.
 
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If your bacon contains nitrates then the best thing to do is to throw it out as nitrates are toxic.  The best place for storing organic bacon grease is in the fridge, at the back in glass jars.  You need to be careful when storing food....you can poison yourself if it's not done properly.
 
Brody Ekberg
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I would also add that modern bacon is probably significantly different than bacon 100 years ago. Different kinds of pigs, different feed, different additions to the bacon. I know when we cook store bought bacon it makes a mess out of cast iron. Probably the sugars, nitrates and whatever else they put in it. But if we cook uncured bacon, or any other pork or pork fat in cast iron the pan just needs a wipe afterwards.

Just saying this because maybe it used to be fine to leave bacon grease out at room temperature 100 years ago but now maybe it is different 🤷🏻‍♂️
 
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No idea if this is helpful, and maybe someone will tell me I'm making a huge mistake, but...

I've always stored my bacon fat in recycled plastic takeout containers (the squat cylindrical kind you often get from Chinese or Indian restaurants), in the fridge next to my butter. I have been storing and using it that way for years and never noticed any ill effects.

Worth noting: I strain my bacon fat on its way into the container. One time I didn't and the little bacon bits affected the flavor in a way I didn't like. But that's the worst thing that happened.
 
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Hi Pearl, I am wondering if your bacon grease is still liquidy since the room temperature should be cooler now. I observe something interesting about bacon grease.:
My house is kept at 72-73F, bacon grease from Burger smoke house is solid and one from a different supplier is not. The latter one is not totally liquid but slushy and flowy. If I filter this slushy bacon by heating it up and passing through a filter (70 micron maybe, I didn't try a different pore size.) The filteredgrease now solidify at the same temperature. I don't know if there's certain impurities that keep it from turning solid or wether that affects the shelf life. Kind of fun and I thought you might be interested in testing yours.
 
Pearl Sutton
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May Lotito wrote:Hi Pearl, I am wondering if your bacon grease is still liquidy since the room temperature should be cooler now.


I checked. I can't tell. I got those jars filled with less thnt a teaspoon of airspace, they don't change visibly when I turn them over. No clue if they are solid or liquid.
It's definitely cooler in that room now though.
:D
 
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Oils and grease can oxidise, if left open to the air. It can affect the flavour somewhat, but provided you use it in a reasonable time frame it shouldn't be an issue.

Animal fats have been used to conserve meat for centuries - things like confit duck are based around using the fat to cook with, then using the fat to seal the meat from the environment. I'm sure such processes are safer with modern refrigerators, but I would expect a reasonable period of time for the fat to be shelf stable.

Here in the UK it certainly used to be traditional to keep a drippings pot near the stove. After cooking meats you would simply drain the fat into the pot, while still hot. Any juices sink to the bottom, where they are protected from the air by the fat layer. When you need to cook simply take a generous spoonful from the top of the drippings pot.

Personally, I like to periodically clean up the pot - dump it all in a pan, put it on the heat, and gently cook it to cook out residual moisture. Then as you pour it back into the clean pot you can leave the solids and other residue behind. My feeling is separating the fat from all the other bits helps stop it going bad, and removing residual moisture helps it set up.


 
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I do very much as Pearl does.  Buy ten pounds of bacon, divide it into ten one-pound packages in food-saver bags, and then freeze.

I cook bacon on the George Foreman Grill every morning.  I collect the bacon grease in a little tray below the grill.

I grew up with a metal can on the cooktop that said "grease".  My memory says that when we seasoned vegetables that is where we got the seasoning.

I also grew up using a cast iron frying pan.  We continually used that frying pan over and over without pouring off the grease except when we made gravy.

With trying to be more "food safe" the bacon grease was then stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar.

I remember seeing an episode on Food Network about a restaurant that was using 100-year-old grease.

Dyer's Burgers in Memphis, Tennessee cooks its beef patties not on a grill or flat top, but in a skillet filled to the brim with grease that's been collecting for over a century.



https://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2023/04/19/memphis-grease-burger-dyers-diner-restaurant-ttw-orig.cnn
 
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