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Canning Bacon Grease  RSS feed

 
Lee Morgan
Posts: 35
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Can you "can" bacon grease? Like make it entirely shelf stable without it going rancid?

Right now I leave a jar of it in my freezer, but is there an option to either pressure can or water bath can bacon grease so that I can store it without using power?
 
Nicole Castle
Posts: 151
Location: Madison, AL
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Safety-wise? No. You can't home can fat safely; the bacteria doesn't all get killed in the process. Fat also prevents a good seal from forming.

Some people do it anyway, but it's among the least-safe things you can can.
 
Justin Hitt
Posts: 35
Location: Martinsville, VA (Zone 7)
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Lee,

Heard there will be a shortage of bacon, that grease might be worth a fortune! Other than that, freezing small jars or keeping it cold is about the only way to save it. Bacon fat is not stable at even cool temperatures. Just can't imagine having enough that you'd put it up.

How about a cool temperature stable fat like rendered lard? Some cook it down in a crock pot and it will last a while in a root cellar. I used to keep filtered bacon fat in the refrigerator (same jar for years) but don't eat enough bacon now to bother. I use lard or crisco for baking -- while bacon fat does make good biscuits.

Best,

Justin
 
Paul Gardner
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Nicole Castle wrote:Safety-wise? No. You can't home can fat safely; the bacteria doesn't all get killed in the process. Fat also prevents a good seal from forming.

Some people do it anyway, but it's among the least-safe things you can can.


I don't entirely agree with your response. If canning fat doesn't kill all the bacteria in the process, then that means that no food with any fat should be canned. Sorry, but you cannot get 100% lean meats and yet they still can it. I realize of course there is a difference between canning very lean mean and (near) 100% fat, but the premise is still the same. If you get the temperature high enough for long enough it will kill the bacteria. Fat or no fat. That is why different requirements for canning Tomatoes versus Chilli. Granted the higher temperature for Fats might not make the bacon grease (or other fats) as palatable though.

Also if the Fat is preventing you from getting a good seal, then you are doing something wrong anyway. Part of the canning process is to ensure that the top of your jars are CLEAN which might mean using a warm/hot clean rag to thoroughly clean it as well as ensuring your sealing lids are clean as well. I have even heard of people using Alcohol to clean the top of jars and then following it up with a clean rag/towel.

People can butter all the time even though the County Extensions and FDA don't recommend it. It must be possible, otherwise why would one be able to buy Canned Butter? http://www.internet-grocer.net/butter.htm To be sure the ingredients in Red Feather Canned butter are Pasteurized Cream and Salt, so no other preservatives. So if they can do it why can't we. Same holds true for bacon. If they can Can bacon, (http://www.campingsurvival.com/yodersbacon.html) I guess one could take it a step further and can the bacon grease.

Now, if you are going to can bacon grease (or butter or bacon) you definitely need to be aware of safety. I wouldn't use the "Oven Canning" methods as found on youtube rather I would opt for Pressure Canning. Obviously keep everything as sterile as possible (is that even possible with Bacon grease?) and expect that the flavor and/or consistency of the final product will likely change (which may make the whole effort a waste for you). I have canned butter, and I can tell you that it does alter the taste and consistence of it, but not enough to upset me at all

Lastly, I would like to say that before using ANY canned product, Commercial or Home Canned (or any product for consumption for that matter), You need to be cautious and follow a few common sense guidelines:

  • Make sure the seal is intact - If not dispose of it
  • Make sure it looks ok (as best as possible as canned food often changes from it's fresh state appearance) - If not, dispose of it.
  • Make sure it doesn't smell funny - if it does, dispose of it
  • Taste a small amount, make sure it doesn't taste funny - if it does, dispose of it.


  • Safety is always relative. It's inherently not safe to travel in a 2000 pound bullet (i.e. a car) at 65 Miles per hour, but if we take care and follow some common sense guidelines, we will be ok. Same with canning ANYTHING.

    Lastly, you should take care where you store it. Cool dry place out of light is ideal
     
    Nicole Castle
    Posts: 151
    Location: Madison, AL
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    Paul Gardner wrote:If canning fat doesn't kill all the bacteria in the process, then that means that no food with any fat should be canned. Sorry, but you cannot get 100% lean meats and yet they still can it. I realize of course there is a difference between canning very lean mean and (near) 100% fat, but the premise is still the same. If you get the temperature high enough for long enough it will kill the bacteria. Fat or no fat. That is why different requirements for canning Tomatoes versus Chilli. Granted the higher temperature for Fats might not make the bacon grease (or other fats) as palatable though.


    Fat, bacon grease or others, is too dense to reach the required 240F temperature for non-acid foods inside a jar while in a pressure cooker. It's the same reason you can't can squash puree but cubed squash is okay. A little bit of fat in the meat you are canning is not enough to affect the internal temperature of the can, but that's why all canning recipes tested for safety say to remove visible fat as much as possible -- to prevent dense spots where the Clostridium botulinum bacteria are not killed and can then reproduce inside the can.


    People can butter all the time even though the County Extensions and FDA don't recommend it. It must be possible, otherwise why would one be able to buy Canned Butter? http://www.internet-grocer.net/butter.htm

    Safety is always relative. It's inherently not safe to travel in a 2000 pound bullet (i.e. a car) at 65 Miles per hour, but if we take care and follow some common sense guidelines, we will be ok. Same with canning ANYTHING.


    You are confusing commercial thermal processing methods with home canning methods. They are not the same, and that's why there are many things you can buy in a commercial can that isn't safe to do at home. Fat is one of them. Commercial processing heats the product to 240F+ and sterilizes it, then hot packs inside those conditions, being monitored constantly. It requires special equipment. We can't reach inside a home pressure canner while it's at pressure.

    There is a difference between an adult taking an informed risk, and assuming because someone lived to tell the tale that a process is safe. You can't smell, taste or see botulism and the can may not swell; that doesn't stop it from being deadly. It's fairly rare -- hence why so many get away with it. So I understand why people choose take that risk, but they should do so in an informed manner, and keep the risk to themselves -- which is to say, don't can risky foods and then have a dinner party.
     
    Lee Morgan
    Posts: 35
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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    Is lard that you buy by the block at the grocery store processed a specific way? What is the shelf life of that (which is just wrapped in a piece of parchment)?
     
    Alder Burns
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    Location: northern California
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    I would think fat would be quite easy to can, since it's quite possible to heat it well over 240 before putting it into the containers. The danger might be breaking the jars with the hot grease....so one would need to heat up the jars also. Then pressure-can for as long as you want.....I think the guidelines for fish call for something just shy of two hours....
    The second safety factor is that botulism toxin is itself destroyed by heat, so if you're using the grease for frying or baking or any kind of cooking, then there's an additional security....
     
    Nicole Castle
    Posts: 151
    Location: Madison, AL
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    Lee Morgan wrote:Is lard that you buy by the block at the grocery store processed a specific way? What is the shelf life of that (which is just wrapped in a piece of parchment)?


    If it is unprocessed lard, it *should* be in the refrigerator section at least. I usually see it in the freezer section here, but sometimes it is in the meat case.

    Fully hydrogenated lard is shelf stable for some time: months, even up to a year. Sometimes the stuff in the store is fully hydrogenated, but sometimes it's only partially hydrogenated. Don't get the partial stuff, that's really bad for you. The jury is still out on fully hydrogenated. Store lard is also bleached and a few other chemical things done to it to make it smell less piggy. At that point it is basically Crisco, but from a pig. Again, it's not something you can do at home.

    IMO, it's an completely inferior product to home rendered lard, but it's popular and useful in places without reliable refrigeration.
     
    Lynn Jacobs
    Posts: 40
    Location: At home with my soulmate <3 Living in a hot dry place.
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    Justin Hitt wrote:I use lard or crisco for baking -- while bacon fat does make good biscuits.
    <shudder> The only reason I still have Crisco around is because I had one of the huge containers purchased at Costco years ago, and the only thing it gets used for nowadays is to grease my pans when needed. If you want a healthy substitute for baking, use coconut oil or you can also get palm oil shortening.
     
    Justin Hitt
    Posts: 35
    Location: Martinsville, VA (Zone 7)
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    Mrs. EdJacobs wrote:use coconut oil or you can also get palm oil shortening.


    Thanks for the tip. Will coconut oil or palm work for greasing pans? I try not to use the crisco for biscuits anymore, instead saving up other fats or using real butter. Have never tried coconut oil or palm oil shortening -- but will give it a go if it is a one-to-one substitution.

    Best,

    Justin
     
    Lynn Jacobs
    Posts: 40
    Location: At home with my soulmate <3 Living in a hot dry place.
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    Yup, either of those will work as a one-to-one substitute in recipes, as well as greasing pans. I just use the Crisco for that menial job b/c I have it

    Oh, and the best prices I have found for coconut oil, as well as many other oils, is Soaper's Choice. Yes, the company mainly sells for soap making and other skincare things, but most of their oils are food-grade as well. I have a friend who researched coconut oil specifically, and it is the same oil as the more expensive sites. One of my new favorite oils for cooking/frying is red palm oil. So yummy! Especially for making garlic bread

    (Now that I've derailed this thread...) I'm pretty sure it's a bad idea to try and can bacon grease to preserve it. However, what I would do if I had a lot of it, like when rendering lard or tallow, is while it's good and hot pour it into clean jars and put on new lids. As it cools, it will seal. But then I would make sure to store it in a cool location, such as a root cellar, cold basement, or refrigerator/freezer if I had nowhere else to keep it.
     
    Debra Bish
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    Yes, you can can butter, bacon & bacon grease, and lard.

    You will need to clarify the butter, grease, or lard first, by slowly bringing it to a boil in a pan, then allow it to cool & become solid, perhaps in the fridge.

    Drain or scrape all the salty cream from the bottom of the butter, it will be at the bottom of the pan. You can flip your saucepan upside down into a large cake pan or whatever you have. The greasy yellow butter is clarified butter. It won't harm your butter if you leave it in, but it will leave unappetizing specks of brown cream in the bottom.

    Re-melt the clarified butter, carefully pour into pint canning jars leaving a 1" head-space, clean the jar rims with a rag with vinegar on it to get all butter off rim of jar, seal jars, put into pressure canner with 2 or 3 quarts of water in the canner, per manufacturers' instructions; process 90 minutes at 10psi as per your pressure canner instructions for meats.

    Same process can be used for lard, bacon grease, beef or pork fat. Bacon grease is very good in biscuits, for frying eggs, potatoes, chicken, etc. I have had the most wonderful results with frying chicken in bacon fat.

    Like anything canned, butter will not taste the same as fresh, but it's just as useful, maintains a longer shelf-life, and is a welcomed luxury in hard times.
     
                        
    Posts: 238
    Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
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    You all might try a google search of: slippery elm bark fat preservation.

    I think slippery elm inner bark is really neat stuff, you peel the rough outer bark away, to reveal the smooth white inner bark, the inner bark is what might be used as an all purpose kitchen ingredient. Early Spring time is a good time to obtain said inner bark, as the tree will heal quickly at that time, it is often recommended to use only the branches so as not to kill the trunk of the tree. Peel the inner bark away and save the shavings for further processing, beginning with immediate dehydration. Don't shave so deep that your shavings become red colored from the inner wood of the tree. Once your shavings are properly dried, store them only in a paper bag, never plastic.

    The dried shavings can be used as a soup thickener, boiled in a sauce pan with some water, quickly revealing a thick, clear, jello-like water, remove the shavings and add whatever soup ingredients you normally use.

    I never tried preserving fat with it, but if I were to try, I would probably grind the dehydrated slippery elm inner bark shavings into a very fine powder, and mix it into the fat. I don't know about the clarifying of the fat, so there is that part of the processing that should probably require some attention as previously mentioned, by Debra.

    Slippery Elm bark fresh or dry really doesn't have much of a taste, but it is kind of fun to just chew on it kind of like chewing gum, it won't hurt you if you swallow some of the shavings.

    james beam;)
     
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