The mere thought of bacon is enough to turn all meat-lovers into a quivering wreck! The sizzling sound of fat when bacon is frying, the delicious smell of the bacon, and the mouthwatering taste of bacon, are the best ways to start any day of your life. Don’t forget the taste of bacon grease on a slice of freshly baked bread.
Speaking of grease, what do you usually do with the remaining fat after making bacon? Do you store it and use it later to fry with eggs and sausages? How do you keep it, and for how long? Will it go bad someday? Let’s unravel the mystery together.
Does Bacon Grease Go Bad?
Unfortunately, whether homemade or store-bought, bacon grease does go bad, but after such a long time. For bacon grease, going bad does not mean becoming infested with bacteria, as it’s high in fats which do not provide a suitable environment for them to thrive. Rather, bacon grease going bad entails the breaking down and oxidizing of fat molecules present, leading to rancidity. Rancid fat does not cause food poisoning but can lead to stomach and digestion issues when consumed.
Store-bought bacon grease can last up to six months when properly stored at room temperatures. The time can be considerably extended if stored in the fridge. Under refrigeration conditions, bacon grease bought from stores and supermarkets can last up to two years. Note that these are rough estimates, and the fat may last longer than these dates. However, it may lose some of its classic features.
As for homemade bacon grease, this one spoils faster than the store-bought. That’s so because it is not thoroughly cleaned and often contains residual bacon bits, which can fasten the rancidification process. There’s also the act of continuously scooping grease from the jar and adding a new one directly affecting its shelf life.
So, the best thing to do is to determine the freshness of bacon grease before using it. This way, you’ll be sure it’s safe, edible, and tasty, just as you like it.
When Does Bacon Grease Go Bad?
Bacon grease takes time before it goes bad. But, if you suspect your fat is spoilt, look out for the signs below:
For appearance, start by observing the color of bacon. If you notice any discoloration, know that the grease has gone bad. If you also see a green, brown, blue, or gray tinge, the fat is rotten. In that case, discard the grease right away.
Another good indicator of rotten grease. Fresh bacon grease smells like fresh meat. So, if you notice a weird smell other than fresh meat, the fat has gone bad. Spoiled bacon grease may also have an unbearable sour, fishy, and a rotting odor that makes it inedible.
Use your hands (clean hands) to sense how the bacon grease feels. If the bacon grease is slimy or has a sticky layer on the surface, it has gone bad and should not be consumed.
Mold rarely grows on fat due to the lack of moisture. But when poorly stored and the bacon grease gets exposed to water, it can facilitate mold growth. So, always look for the slightest signs of mold presence. And if you notice any, discard the grease.
It’s always a good idea to taste bacon grease before using it to prepare meals. This way, you’ll be sure it’s safe, edible, and has the flavor you want in your dishes. Fresh bacon grease has a rich, pleasant, and savory flavor. So, if your bacon grease doesn’t taste as fresh or has a peculiar taste, the odds are high that it has undergone rancidification and should not be consumed.
How To Safely Store Bacon Grease
Here are different ways you can use to store homemade or store-bought bacon grease.
This works best for homemade bacon grease, not store-bought. Once you’ve poured the fat into a ceramic container, close the lid tightly and store it at room temperatures. Use the fat only when needed and within 1 to 2 months. However, this depends on your kitchen’s temperatures.
Always clean the container’s outside surface to prevent pests’ attraction. And anytime you recognize unusual odors, the fat is likely spoiled and should be discarded.
Homemade and store-bought bacon grease can be safely stored in the pantry or kitchen cabinet. Keep the fat at 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum quality and longer shelf life. When storing, pour the grease into a dark, airtight container and place it away from the oven and cooker.
This way, the heat from the cooker and oven won’t soften the fat when kitchen temperatures rise above 80 F and subsequently harden when it reduces. The constant change in temperatures can significantly affect the quality of your grease.
Homemade bacon grease can be refrigerated to prolong its shelf life. When refrigerating, pour the cooled fat into a heat-proof jar, container, or bowl, wrap it with aluminum foil, and place it in the fridge. Homemade bacon grease can last for six months when stored in the refrigerator. Once the six months are over, clean the storage container and begin with fresh oil. Remember, the fat will solidify in the fridge but quickly melt once it’s out of the refrigerator.
For commercially packed bacon grease, there’s no need to refrigerate this one. Unless the product came with such specifications that it should be placed in the fridge. Otherwise, store it at room temperatures, ensuring its package is tightly closed.
Suppose you have plenty of homemade bacon grease that you don’t plan to use for a while; it’s best to freeze it. This way, it will last up to one year. When freezing, use airtight containers. Remember to defrost the fat a day before using it by letting it thaw in the fridge overnight. Once melted, don’t refreeze it.
Bacon grease does go bad, but after staying for a while. Store-bought bacon grease can last up to two years in the fridge, while the homemade one can keep for six months under refrigeration conditions.