Everything tastes better when cooked in bacon grease, right? Well, my entire family is totally crazy about bacon. I serve bacon for breakfast on some days of the week and I always end up with leftover bacon that I never want to throw out. We are all about not wasting anything.
I am pretty sure you have also been in a situation where after enjoying a good breakfast of bacon and eggs, or whatever you prefer, you have some leftover bacon grease in your kitchen.
I particularly like using bacon grease to cook my potatoes and veggies because it gives them this rich flavor that you can’t buy. The good news is that you can actually store bacon grease and use it later in your cooking.
Does bacon grease go bad? Yes, it does. Bacon grease is just like any other type of fat. With time, it will eventually go bad. However, if you store it properly, it will stay for a long time before it starts getting spoilt. If you store bacon in your refrigerator it will last for a couple of months.
A lot of people replace the regular cooking oil with bacon grease whenever they have any leftovers. Some even use it in baking. The flavor that bacon grease gives your food is to die for, and this is the main reason why we need to learn how to properly store bacon grease so that it lasts for the longest time possible.
Many stores now sell commercially packaged bacon grease. I tried it once but I honestly prefer the one that I get from cooking my own bacon at home. For some reason, it just tastes better.
I believe this commercially packaged bacon grease is a good option for those who feel that storing the normal bacon grease is a tough task that they would rather not do.
The shelf life of bacon grease
There are two types of bacon grease. The one you render at home, and the commercially packaged ones. These two last for different periods of time.
Bacon grease rendered at home
A lot of people claim that the bacon grease you render at home can last for years on end. It is a little bit difficult to tell exactly how long bacon grease lasts because different people have had a different experiences with it. Some say it can last forever while others say it is only good for a few months.
I will give you a rough estimate of how long bacon grease lasts. The bacon grease may still be safe to use a few months past the estimated period.
When you store your bacon grease at room temperature, it will retain its good quality for up to six months. Storing it in the refrigerator will significantly increase its shelf life. When you store bacon grease in the fridge, it will stay fresh for up to one year.
The bacon grease will still be safe to use a few months past the estimated period but its quality may not exactly be the same.
Commercially packaged bacon grease
Commercially packaged bacon grease usually comes with a best by date. The best by date is usually the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the bacon grease will retain its good quality.
It is important to note that the bacon grease will still be safe to use a few months past the best by date.
When stored properly, commercially packaged bacon grease can last for up to 6 months past the best by date. If by chance your bacon grease does not have a best by date, just count two years from the production date.
How to properly store bacon grease
Proper storage is key if you want your bacon grease to last for a long time. Storing bacon grease that you rendered at home is not as straightforward as storing bacon grease that you bought at the store.
Here are the details on how to store your bacon grease.
Storing bacon grease that you render at home
In order to properly store this bacon grease, you will need an airtight container or a mason jar. Alternatively, you can just purchase containers that are specifically made for storing grease.
The very first thing you need to do is let the grease cool down. For obvious reasons, the bacon grease will be extremely hot by the time you finish cooking your bacon. Let it cool down for a few minutes. However, it should not cool down to the point of hardening.
Once the bacon grease has cooled down, use a strainer to pour it into your airtight container or Mason jar.
Straining the bacon grease is very important because it usually has chunks of bacon in it. If you store the bacon grease with the chucks of bacon in it, the bacon grease will go rancid at a faster rate. Once you pour the oil into your container, seal it tightly.
You can store the jar of bacon grease in the pantry or the refrigerator. However, you should know that if you store it in the fridge it will retain its good quality for much longer.
Personally, I prefer storing it in the refrigerator because it gives me the peace of mind that I need. If I store it in the pantry, I will keep checking for signs of spoilage time and again.
Once you already have a jar of bacon grease, you can simply add more bacon grease to the same jar each time you cook bacon. Some people do this for up to a year. However, I recommend switching to a new container every 6 months.
If you continuously use the same container for a period of one year or more, you will never get around to using the bacon grease that you first stored in the jar. This is probably why people imagine that bacon grease lasts forever, which is really not the case.
Storing commercially packaged bacon grease
Storing commercially packaged bacon grease is pretty simple. All you need to do is make sure that you have closed it tightly after every use.
You can store commercially packaged bacon grease in your pantry or kitchen cabinet. However, if you decide to store it in the kitchen cabinet, do not store it directly above your oven. You should store bacon grease far away from any sources of heat.
The heat will make the bacon grease to liquefy each time it is exposed to heat. When there is no heat, the bacon grease will solidify. The constant change of state of the bacon grease will interfere with its quality.
It is important to note that there is absolutely no need to refrigerate commercially packaged bacon grease unless the package specifically tells you to.
Once you scoop your bacon grease from the jar and use it for cooking, you should not salvage the remaining oil and put it back into your jar of bacon grease.
When you use it in cooking, the bacon grease picks up the flavor of whatever you are cooking. Returning it to the jar will cause the rest of the bacon grease to go rancid at a very fast rate.
Once you have used it for cooking, just throw out the remaining bacon grease.
Signs that your bacon grease has gone bad
Since bacon grease eventually goes bad, you need to know the obvious signs that your bacon grease has gone bad. Using spoilt bacon grease can cause serious health complications. We don’t want that, do we?
If you have stored your bacon grease for a long time and you are not sure if it is still safe to use, there are some signs that you should look out for.
Here are a few signs that your bacon grease is no longer safe to use.
If your bacon grease becomes discolored, chances are that it has gone bad. The discoloration is an obvious sign of spoilage. Discard the bacon grease.
Although it is highly unlikely for mold to grow on bacon grease, sometimes they do. Molds appearing on the surface of your bacon grease indicate that the bacon grease is no longer safe to use. Throw it out.
- Unusual smell
When oils go rancid, they usually start smelling weird. Rancidity usually alters the taste and smell of your bacon grease.
If you open your jar of bacon grease and notice that it has an unpleasant smell, your bacon grease has gone bad and is no longer safe to use. Just throw it out because if you use it in cooking it will make you sick.
- Terrible taste
Usually, bacon grease has a rich, salty, and pleasant taste. If you are in doubt about whether or not your bacon grease has gone bad, smear a small amount onto your palm and taste it.
If you notice that the bacon grease has an unusual or terrible taste, chances are that it has gone rancid and is no longer safe to use.
Before using this method to tell whether your bacon grease is safe to use, look out for the other signs of spoilage.