Bacon grease is the left over fat that accumulates in your pan after making bacon. It can be stored and used later in the cooking process. It is extremely flavorful to cook with, is great for sautéing brussels sprouts, making scrambled eggs and for use in fried rice. Essentially, bacon fat may be used to fry just about anything under the sun that would benefit from having a bacon flavor!
If you’re new to using bacon fat, you might find yourself wondering, how do you store bacon fat for later use? Is it a case where you have to make fresh bacon grease each time you need it? Interesting questions, continue reading below for some answers.
Does Bacon Grease Go Bad?
Despite the fact that bacon grease is a long-lasting product, it, like other fats, will spoil over time. However, if you keep it stored properly, it won’t happen too quickly. Bacon grease technically won’t spoil unless it is exposed to the elements.
Fat oxidation, which occurs when fat comes into contact with oxygen, is one of the main factors that will cause bacon fat to grow rancid. As a result, regardless of how you store your bacon grease, you should keep it covered at all times.
Why Does Bacon Grease Spoil?
Bacon grease becomes rancid when exposed to the elements. Rancidity is a process of fat oxidation or hydrolysis which takes place after the grease has had exposure to bacteria, excess light or moisture in the air.
How to Tell If Bacon Grease Has Gone Bad/Spoiled?
If you are wondering if bacon grease has spoiled, there are a couple of signs that can be used to tell if it has really gone bad.
The Smell Check:
For meat lovers, nothing beats the smell of fresh bacon. Edible bacon grease will have that homey familiar bacon smell. Grease that has gone off will have a sour, rotten, or fishy odor that renders it inedible.
Has The Color Changed?:
Cooled bacon grease should solidify somewhat and appear cream to white. Any discoloration such as green or brown tinges throughout the grease is an indication that the fat has started to rot.
What Is The Texture Like?:
Stored bacon grease as earlier indicated will be in a semi-solid format, similar to what happens with coconut oil when it’s cool. Touch the bacon grease with clean hands if you’re not sure if it’s rotten. If it feels slimy or sticky to touch, then it has started to disintegrate and you should avoid using it.
Is It Moldy?:
In the rarest of instances, spoiled fat can grow mold. If you notice any mold at all, no matter how minimal, you should toss the grease.
The Taste Test: Fresh bacon grease has a savory flavor. Bacon grease that has gone rancid, on the other hand, will taste sour. The taste test should be your last option as no one wants to eat rancid fats.
Does Bacon Grease Need To Be Refrigerated After Opening?
If your bacon grease is the home made variety, you should cool it down before placing it in the refrigerator. The refrigerator will keep the bacon grease at a constant temperature and lengthen its lifespan. Bacon grease will harden at the low temperature in the refrigerator, but it quickly melts once removed from the fridge.
If you have a lot of bacon grease or won’t be using it for a long time, freezing it is the best solution. It will last at least a year this way. Ensure you keep it in an airtight container, take it out a day ahead of time, and let it defrost overnight in the fridge. Once you’ve thawed bacon fat, don’t put it back in the freezer.
How Long Does Bacon Grease Last?
Bacon grease stored in the refrigerator will be good for up to a year – that is for the homemade variety. Store bought bacon grease on the other hand, will generally last about 2 years in the refrigerator.
The homemade version will spoil more quickly because it will have residual bacon bits and no preservatives. It’s not recommended that you keep adding new grease to your old stock as this can ruin the whole batch.
When stored at room temperature, homemade bacon grease can last up to about six months. The store bought variety will be good for roughly nine months to a year. Because environmental conditions impact grease, if there is any change in the storage conditions, you should always do a quality check before use.
Best Ways to Store Bacon Grease So It Doesn’t Spoil
If you’re making homemade grease, once you’ve finished cooking the bacon, remove the grease and allow it to cool down for about 30 minutes to an hour. Be careful not to leave it too long as it will solidify in cool temperature.
Once it’s cooled, you should strain it to remove bits of bacon, as these will cause rancidity if left in the grease. Next, you can pour it in a mason jar or other airtight container for storage. When fully hardened, high-quality bacon grease should be firm and creamy white.
Storage at Room Temperature
Once your bacon grease is containerized you will need to decide where to store it. The first option is at room temperature. This means on a cool kitchen shelf away from heat producing appliances or in your kitchen cabinet. Otherwise, a pantry should be perfect. The ideal room temperature for bacon grease is around 21 degrees Celsius or 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Storage in The Refrigerator
As earlier indicated, a refrigerator is perfect for storing bacon grease, and will generally give you about six months on the lifespan. When storing in the refrigerator, be careful not to leave the container out on your counter while cooking. Instead, remove the amount of grease you need and place it in a bowl and return the grease container to the refrigerator ASAP.
Risks of Using Spoiled Bacon Grease
If you are unfortunate enough to have consumed bacon grease that has gone bad , symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach ache could result. This situation will be highly unlikely though, as it is kind of hard to miss the rancidity that happens when grease goes bad. Not only will it smell off, but it will look and taste different.
Wrapping it up
Bacon grease is a great additive in many recipes. It enhances the flavor of many meals and adds a bit of savory element when needed. Whether it’s homemade or store bought, bacon grease will eventually go bad, but with proper storage, you can delay this for some time.