In North America, bacon is part of the way people eat, in most regions. It is like using olive oil to cook, in many parts of Europe. In a culture that enjoys eating their breakfast all day long, it is quite normal that the taste of bacon has become something people look for in other dish. You can even find bacon-tasting chips! But is it is safe to keep the bacon grease to cook with, later on? Here is what you should know.
Bacon: Comfort Food
The smell of bacon in the house is often related to calm, relaxing days. Most of the time, bacon and eggs are cooked at home (with pancakes, fried potatoes, steaks, etc.) on the week-end, when there is time to enjoy the first meal of the day without having to rush to the office. Otherwise, those needing their eggs and bacon every day can stop in a restaurant and grab them at the counter quickly, with a few cups of coffee, before heading to work.
Many grandmothers, and also mothers, keep the bacon grease from the breakfast, to cook with later on. It’s a perfect way to fry eggs, instead of using butter (or oil for those who prefer that method). You can also use it to fry potatoes and onions, bringing that unique smoky taste to the meal. But is it dangerous for our health to do so? Although the question never came up in the “good old days”, today people are much more aware of what they eat and the danger that can come along if we don’t store food the right way.
Why do People Keep Bacon Grease?
Before we discuss the possibilities of keeping bacon grease to cook, and how to store it safely, it is interesting to understand why people started to do so. Our grandmothers and great-grand mothers often had many children to feed. The idea of wasting food was simply unimaginable for them. Their first duty was to nourish everyone in the household. They considered bacon grease to be perfectly good fat to cook with, so they stored it once the meal was over. That way, they didn’t have to buy more butter, oil or grease at the store.
Back then, the method of keeping fat grease from bacon, wasn’t even something important. People would even keep it close to the oven, so they could grab it to cook, any time they needed it. Therefore, it wasn’t even refrigerated! Such a thing is simply unthinkable today, even though no one ever seemed to get sick from such usage, back in the days. Today, doctors would explain to your grandmother why it is unsafe to do so and would beg them to be careful. But the culture of keeping bacon grease won’t die tomorrow, and that is fine, because there are ways to keep and use bacon fat to cook with, without danger.
How to Store Bacon Grease Safely
You should know that some people are wondering if BPA in cans are healthy. However, this is not an aspect we will be looking at in this article. If you want to know more about this, do some research online, as what interests us here, is only the bacon grease itself and how to store it to cook with, later on.
Let’s start with reminding ourselves that bacon is a preserved meat. It’s important because it keeps it from going bad, unlike fresh meat. Bacon is also a saturated fat. That means it won’t break down or turn rancid, at room temperature. These two elements about bacon are indicators that it can be kept over a period of time, safely.
Before technology changed things, food was often preserved by laying fat on top of it. That kept the air out, preserving the food from spoiling. The elements that can cause the fat to go rancid are light and air. Therefore, you either need to stock your bacon grease in a dark room or in an opaque container. Make sure the container you use can be sealed tightly, that way you eliminate the air problem.
You should also strain your bacon grease to take out all the food particles from it. They are a main cause of bacteria growth. Once all these steps are taken care of, it is best to place the container inside the refrigerator. Keeping it at a low temperature will keep it safer. Before doing so, make sure the grease has cooled down.
As you now understand, it is possible to keep bacon grease and reuse it for cooking purposes, later on. And even though our grandmothers didn’t particularly cared about the way they stored it, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. We now know things about food that we didn’t before. Storing bacon grease the right way, might just keep you away from higher risks of cancer. It takes a few minutes more to store it right, but it could help you live years longer.