Don’t throw that jar of bacon grease away just yet — it’s packed with flavor that will enhance anything from sauteed vegetables to scrambled eggs and popcorn. Bacon grease also adds moisture and flakiness to pastry dough and when added to frying oil, gives battered foods and ultra-crispy crust. Whether you buy bacon grease by the tub at a specialty food store, or render bacon yourself for its grease, storing it properly is essential to keeping it fresh for as long as possible.
Cool It Down
When storing bacon grease, let it cool down enough in the pan so you can handle it without getting burned. Pour the grease through a piece of cheesecloth into a container to strain out the tiny bacon bits left over. If you prefer to keep these flavorful bits in your bacon grease, leave the grease to cool until it solidifies. You can then scoop it into a container, bacon bits and all.
Your best options for storing bacon grease are a glass or ceramic container, such as a Mason jar or a ceramic jar. Glass and ceramic don’t absorb odors. Another option for storing bacon grease is in a high-quality stainless steel container, which completely blocks out light and and can go directly onto the stove to reheat the grease. Avoid storing bacon grease in plastic because the plastic tends to react with the grease and make it difficult to clean.
Refrigerator and Freezer Storage
If you wish to keep your bacon grease for several months, keep it in the refrigerator. It will solidify, but you can still scoop it out with a spoon, or just let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so to soften before using it. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to six months in a glass or ceramic jar with a tight lid. For even longer storage, place it in the freezer and use it within nine months.
Room Temperature Storage
Bacon grease can be stored at room temperature, although it will go rancid much faster than if stored in the refrigerator. Bacon grease that is rancid will have a distinct unnatural or unpleasant odor and should be thrown out in a glass jar. For best results when storing at room temperature, keep the bacon grease in a dark-colored, opaque, tightly sealed container and always strain the bacon bits out first to prolong its freshness. Wipe down the outside of container with hot water to remove any grease before storing to avoid attracting pests. Keep your pantry between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In these conditions, bacon grease can keep for up to three months.
References and ResourcesHuffington Post: Cooking With Bacon Fat
Food & Wine: Lard: The New Health Food?
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service: Deep Fat Frying and Food Safety
The Kitchn: Tip: Save Your Bacon Fat
The Kitchn: Tip: Store Bacon Fat in Glass, Not Plastic
Southern Plate: Bacon Grease Uses
Still Tasty: Bacon Fat/Drippings -- Homemade
ResourcesLeite's Culinaria: A Different Kind of Love: Fat and Me
Simply Recipes: Rendering Bacon Fat