Breakfast is cooked, and there’s a delicious pile of bacon on the counter waiting to be eaten. Now, there’s just the matter of what to do with all of the leftover bacon grease. Using bacon grease to saute vegetables or potatoes will add a rich, salty flavor, and keeps waste to a minimum, but there are only so many meals you can make at once. It seems like such a shame to waste it all, but can bacon grease go bad?
Can Bacon Grease Go Bad
Like all fats, bacon grease will eventually spoil, though if stored properly, this won’t be for quite some time. Refrigerated bacon grease will stay good in the refrigerator for up to six months, and can be used in place of butter or cooking oil in many dishes.
Storing bacon grease is actually quite simple. After cooking the bacon, let it cool for a bit until it has reached room temperature and then strain out the solid pieces of bacon with either a sieve or cheesecloth. Pour the remaining grease in a container, and seal. If the grease solidifies before it can be poured, simply reheat the pan on low heat until the grease becomes liquid again.
You may add more bacon grease to the container each time you cook bacon, but be sure to strain out the larger pieces. It’s likely that sediment will still remain, but this will fall to the bottom of the container as the grease cools.
Image used under Creative Commons from Chris Yarzab
Signs of Spoilage
Rancidity is the number one sign that bacon grease has spoiled. If the grease has a rancid odor, it has likely gone bad and should be discarded. Bacon grease will go rancid at room temperature far quicker than it will in a cold, dark place, so storage is important.
While unlikely, it’s possible that mold could appear on bacon grease that has been left too long. If there’s any sign of mold growth, the grease should not be consumed. To prevent any sort of contamination that could lead to mold growth, make sure you are always using a clean, dry utensil to portion out the bacon grease.
Freezing Bacon Grease
As bacon grease is entirely fat, it will freeze quite well for up to a year. Pour strained grease into a temperature safe, airtight container and freeze. To thaw, place the sealed container in your refrigerator overnight. Thawed bacon grease should be used within a few days. Refreezing bacon grease that has been thawed is not recommended, as the repeated temperature changes will change the taste and potentially make the grease go rancid a bit quicker.
For easier use, freeze bacon grease in an ice cube tray, then transfer cubes to an airtight container. This can also be achieved by cooling the grease in a container until it is a scoopable consistency, then using a melon baller to portion out balls of fat into an airtight container. This way, the grease is already portioned and can be used for cooking, directly from the freezer.