In olden days, when cooks used to be more careful about throwing anything away, a common sight on the kitchen counter next to the stove was a coffee can to hold bacon grease. Frugal (and smart!) cooks would then use the grease in various ways in their cooking.
Nowadays, most people don’t even think about keeping their bacon grease (Facebook comments are going to be buzzing about that statement). But since pouring it down the drain can clog it up, it’s probably a good idea to think about storing it, especially if you cook as much bacon as I do.
If you start storing your bacon grease, you should keep it in the fridge instead of on the counter. In the fridge, it’ll last for six months. If you freeze it, it will last longer – up to nine months. But trust me: if you do start keeping your bacon grease, you’ll find so many uses it for that you’ll probably run out faster than you can keep replenishing it.
Many people just use microwave popcorn. But if you pop the popcorn the old-fashioned way – on the stove – you can do a lot of fun, different things with it. One of these things is to use your leftover bacon grease to pop the popcorn. It gives your popcorn a zingy (and natural!) bacon flavour. You can always heat up bacon grease and pour it into a bowl with your popcorn (I do that with my butter… I like lots of butter)
Bacon and greens: a winning combination
Have a picky eater who won’t eat his greens? Consider cooking your next batch of chard or spinach in bacon grease. It’ll add an irresistible flavour that will make everyone want to eat their veggies. Substitute equal amounts of bacon grease for the amount of cooking oil you would normally use.
Substitute bacon grease for butter in baking
Whenever your baking recipe calls for butter, consider substituting bacon grease. Bacon grease can be substituted for butter at a 1:1 ratio. If it seems scary at first – and you may not have enough bacon grease around for a full batch of cookies – so consider adding half bacon grease and half butter.
But even so, this may sound a bit crazy: adding something pork-flavoured to a sweet dessert. But the bacon grease doesn’t add a strong meat flavour. Instead, it gives the cookies a richer, denser flavour with, maybe in the background, a tiny hint of smokiness. It also works well in cookies that have sharp or strong flavours, like ginger snaps. The bacon grease helps balance out these flavour notes.
The base for soups
With winter coming up, it is time for soups. A great way to start your soup off right is to use bacon grease as your cooking oil. Just cook up a few strips of bacon in the pot you are going to use for your soup. When the bacon is cooked, take out the bacon. Leave in about two tablespoons of bacon grease for any of the vegetables you need to cook for your soup. The best thing is that you can either crumble bits of the cooked bacon over your finished soup (or just eat it by itself!).
What about you? Do you have keep your bacon grease? What are your favourite uses for your leftover bacon grease? Let us know, and we’ll feature a few of them in an upcoming post.
Image provided by Chiot Run