Bacon are little strips of heaven and always makes everything better, doesn’t it? My family recently bought half of a pig from a local farmer and guess what was eaten first? That’s right, the delectable bacon. But what about the leftover bacon grease? This happens to be one of the most thrown away items, but can serve more than one purpose. There are many ways to use this healthy animal fat and in our quest to be less of a throw away generation, it’s time we learn how this useful byproduct can be used.
Fats are one of the four main food sources that should be in your food pantry. Those who are prepper-oriented know of the important role that fats have in our nutrition, especially during times of emergencies.
- Fats are an essential component in any diet for proper vitamin absorption. Specifically, Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be digested, absorbed, and transported in conjunction with fats.
- Fats also plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating body organs against shock, maintaining body temperature, and promoting healthy cell function.
- They also serve as energy stores for the body.
- Fats are also sources of essential fatty acids, which are an important dietary requirement and also serves as a useful buffer towards a host of diseases. (Source)
- Fats are one of the 4 Things You Must Eat To Avoid Malnutrition.
As a southern girl, we always had bacon on the weekends and my mother would pour the fat into a metal grease collector and put in our fridge. When my mother needed to add some extra “flavor” to dishes, she would take a spoonful or two and add it turnip greens or to use for grandma’s famous biscuits. I could go on and on about how to cook with bacon grease (I did include a few in the list), but I know that you all probably know those secrets too. Instead, I wanted to share some more practical applications you can use bacon grease for. But first, you need to know how to properly store this animal fat.
To Store Bacon Grease:
2 pounds of bacon will create 3/4 cup-1 cup of bacon grease
Reserve an old coffee tin or bacon grease crock and pour over a paper towel or strainer while it is hot to get out the little bacon bits. Lard will keep longer if you strain it because the meat bits are the first thing that will go rancid.
If you’re using a glass container to store bacon grease, allow the grease to cool before pouring it into the container so the glass will not to break from the extreme temperature change. Some people have used coffee mugs to avoid this problem.
When the grease is cool it will be an off white to brown color depending on how the bacon was cooked and at what temperature.
Cover your container with a lid or plastic wrap to keep outside smells from flavoring your grease. Many people claim that it can be kept indefinitely on the countertop but I keep mine in the fridge just to be sure. You can also freeze it for longer storage.
Bacon grease will last 6-9 months in your refrigerator or freezer.
20 Uses for Bacon Lard
Leftover bacon grease has many uses including a quick splinter removal or even making a quick candle (See how easy this is below). As well, consider these other additional uses for bacon grease.
- Those who are interested in natural living will be happy to know that it can also be used for biofuel. One a side note, if a vehicle was run solely on bacon grease, would that make it a bacon mobile? I kid, I kid; but if you plan on using lard for this, make sure the lard or grease is filtered to remove any bits of leftover food.
- Did you know that lard can be used as a preservation method? Many homesteaders swear by this method. Author, Carla Emery explains how to do this in her bestselling book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living.
“The fat seals the air out… After slaughtering a hog, the fat was rendered into lard. Those cuts of the hog that were not cured for smoking, or made into sausage, like the shoulder, were fried. While still hot, these slices of pork steak were preserved through the winter by larding. In a large crock, layer on layer of the fried steaks was covered with hot lard. This meat was then used through the winter by scraping the lard off each layer. The amount necessary for a meal was removed and reheated. The used lard was reused in pies or other baking or cooking and ultimately for soap.”
- Make cookies just like grandma with these bacon fat ginger snaps.
- Reward your dog with homemade bacon flavored dog biscuits. Along those lines, you can also drizzle a little bacon grease in your dog’s food bowl and this will encourage Fido to eat his food.
- Season your skillet or your cast iron cookware.
- Make bacon gravy. Did you mom ever make cream gravy? All you need is some milk, flour and bacon grease and this will make your meal sing! Here’s a recipe you can use.
- Make a candle – Pour the bacon grease in a cup or can, and place a wick inside. Give the grease a few minutes to soak into the wick, and then place it in the fridge until it solidifies. Viola! You now have the best smelling candle that money didn’t buy (at least if you like the smell of breakfast).
- Bacon grease is a great substitution for butter. 1 tablespoon of bacon grease can be used in place of butter or oil in just about any recipe; and don’t even get me started on how delicious bacon grease is with sauteing potatoes!
- Make some handy firestarters for your next camping trip by dipping a cotton ball or a piece of tinder in the fat and storing it in an unused Altoids tin can. Voila! You could even use bacon grease that has accidentally been left out and gone rancid, to make the most of what you have.
- Who wouldn’t want to bathe themselves with some bacon soap? You can use just about any animal fat to make soap, including bacon grease.
- How about some tasty pemmican? This Native American superfood is made of fat (typically deer fat but any will do), jerky made from lean meat, and dried fruits and/or berries. You just ball up the ingredients in equal parts and tuck it away. Here’s a great recipe!
- If you’ve run out of your leather boot protectant and need a quick alternative, animal fat is the way to go! In fact, one of the secrets that backpackers have used to waterproof boots is with animal fats.
- Make a bird feeder! The Girl Scouts taught me this one. Take a pine cone and cover it with bacon grease and then sprinkle wild bird seed over it. This is a great craft you can do with your kids!
- Fix those squeaky hinges! Add a dollop of bacon grease to a rag and grease hinges. They should quiet down without a problem. This will also work on squeaky wheels!
- Trap bugs. You can trap annoying bugs by placing a plastic container of bacon grease and a bit of vegetable oil in a common bug area. The oil will be too thick for bugs to fly out of, trapping them for life.
- Moisturize your hands and heels. Cracked hands and heels can be very painful. Instead of Vaseline, rub some bacon grease on your heels. Apply a bit before bedtime, put on your socks and get cozy. In the morning, your feet will be brand new again and soft as ever. This is because animal fat contains vitamins A, D, K, and E.
- Grease your muffin, pie or cake pans. This will no doubt add just a touch of bacon flavor to your baked goods, but who wouldn’t want that?
- Stop boiling pots from overflowing. I just learned this handy little trick. By dropping a bit of oil or bacon grease into the pan when boiling pasta will help it not boil over.
- Take your sandwiches to the next level with baconnaise. Here’s the recipe. You’re welcome. You could even add a spoonful of bacon grease to condiments like ketchup or barbecue sauce to give it a little extra flavor.
- Pour used bacon grease into a tuna or cat food can, chill until firm, and wire the can to a tree to give your feathered visitors some food. Bacon grease may be gross to some of us, but it attracts bluebirds, crows, jays, ravens, starlings, woodpeckers and Carolina wrens.
Now that you know twenty more ingenious ways to use bacon grease, it’s time to get crackin’! This healthy animal fat is one of the most popular and one that adds the most flavor to any recipe. Best of all, it’s free with your bacon; so don’t let it go to waste!
How do you use leftover bacon grease?
Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.