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Freezing Bacon


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I'm catering a friend's party this weekend and some of the dishes require that ingredients be sauteed in "drippings". I was going to use bacon fat since the dishes in question are generally beef/pork dishes anyway. In order to get enough bacon fat for use, I was going to fry up about 2 pounds of good bacon and save the fat in a container in the fridge. The odd thing is that none of the dishes call for crumbled bacon directly in them. I would hate to throw away good cooked bacon that I could use in other dishes a couple weeks from now.

So, my questions:

1) Is it possible to freeze the bacon once it's cooked? If so, is there a process other than just throwing them in a freezer bag? Also, how long can I freeze it?

2) Is there an alternative to having to fry up bacon in order to get bacon fat? I've been to a number of the stores in my area and none of them have bacon fat, chicken fat, etc. already prepared.

Thanks guys!

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I'm not sure about freezing the bacon once it's cooked. I think it would compromise the texture.

Is there any way you could cut the fat from around the meaty parts and then just freeze the meaty parts for later use?

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tino, think of this as an opportunity to push the frontiers of bacon science and take one for the eGullet team! Freeze a quarter of the bacon, refrigerate half the bacon, and plan to use the other quarter in sandwiches, chopped salads, etc. in the next couple of days.

I think that cooked bacon would last at least two weeks in the fridge and indefinitely in the freezer. To reheat, I'd sandwich the slices between paper towel and zap for a short time in the microwave. I don't think the texture will suffer if you reheat it like this.

Let us know!

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

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1912-2008

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I think if you cooked the bacon low and slow to pull out the fat, but not completely done and cripsy, you could freeze it, and later reheat it and finish it as crispy as you want without the texture changing too much. My family freezes raw bacon often enought, but I've never tired it with cooked bacon (it doesn't stick around long enough! :rolleyes: ).

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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I've done it. I make bacon bits and freeze them. Now usially I vacumn seal them, but they do last for some time in the freezer. I've also had fresh bacon bits last in the fridge in an airtight container for a week or so and still be fresh.

Marlene

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Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Thanks for all the responses.

I thought about lard, but I do think that the meaty (and smoky) flavor of either bacon fat or chicken fat would actually add an extra layer of flavor that lard wouldn't because it is so refined.

I think at this point, I'll probably do as maggiethecat suggested and freeze some and use the rest out of the fridge over the next week or so. If the frozen stuff doesn't do so well, it'll be a lesson for all of us, I guess. :biggrin:

I'll post results as I find them.

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Tino, I would always save the bacon drippings from the breakfast bacon that I would cook for my kids. I would scrape it up in a small jar and then put it in the fridge for later. Over months I would get about two little pickle jars of bacon drippings (which my southern Kentucky hubby would make sausage milk gravy out of). Just a tip, should you need it again.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

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I think everyone is making this too complicated. I have done this for years . . .

I "fry off" a pound (or 12 oz.) of bacon at a time. I have the half sheet aluminum pans with the racks that fit in them. About an hour or less at 325F usually results in wonderfully crisp bacon.

The crisp bacon gets wrapped in a paper towel and put in a zip-lock baggie in the fridge. The paper towel is there to absorb any condensation from taking it in and out of the fridge. The bacon fat gets poured off into a small canning jar and put in the fridge for use in other things.

You don't have to freeze anything. The bacon is there for sandwiches or salads and it doesn't really last long enough to need freezing. Bacon fat in a little jar lasts forever in the fridge.

I don't think I have ever kept cooked bacon long enough to consider freezing it. Uncooked, yes. When a brand that I like has gone on sale, I have been known to buy several pounds and freeze them (uncooked) forever.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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It should be noted that none of the dishes I am making for this party actually calls for bacon ... just the drippings.

That said, I discovered one very important thing about rendering two pounds of bacon extra crispy to get as much fat as possible. When you know you don't need the bacon, it's literally impossible to get all of the cooked bacon from the oven to the freezer without incessantly nibbling pieces here and there.

Between myself, the roommate, and his girlfriend, we probably ate half of the bacon. I did manage to freeze the other half. :biggrin:

I'd make a terrible vegetarian. :wacko:

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Cooked bacon has so much salt/preservatives in it that it lasts forever in the fridge. Just make sure you cook it well- the less residual moisture, the better.

Freezing cooked bacon doesn't work that well- because of the thin slices, it's got a huge amount of surface area. The more surface area you have, the easier it absorbs freezer odor and develops off flavors.

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  • 3 years later...

I don't think I have ever kept cooked bacon long enough to consider freezing it. Uncooked, yes. When a brand that I like has gone on sale, I have been known to buy several pounds and freeze them (uncooked) forever.

I use bacon in fits and starts, so I would love to have some raw bacon in the freezer for when the mood strikes. Aside from fifi, has anyone frozen raw bacon? I'm interested in how you freeze it (the whole pound+, or individual strips) and how long it lasts. I'm trying to cut down, so a good bulk package from CostCo might take a year or so to be used up (if it were frozen, obviously I wouldn't keep it in the fridge that long).

edited: to add a closing parenthesis

Edited by Shamanjoe (log)

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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I freeze raw bacon all the time, both store-bought and home-cured from a friend. I tend to get the home-cured in small vacuum packs, so I just freeze them as-is and pull them out as needed. When I buy pounds from the supermarket, I try to divide them up into quarter-pound chunks and freeze them that way, so I don't have to pull out a whole pound at a time.

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I cure my own, vacuum bag unsliced (sizes vary from 1/2-1 lb), and freeze. It's indistinguishable from never-frozen as far as I can tell. I can't comment on really long-term storage, but I've probably had portions in a chest freezer for around 6 months with no noticeable decline in quality.

eta: clarification of portion size

Edited by vice (log)

 

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Those of us who make our own bacon slice, bag and freeze it all the time.

There was some discussion over on the Charcuterie thread that it actually keeps curing to some extent while it is frozen so it actually improves the taste (see this post and several around it for more information).

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
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Like Janet, I cut the raw bacon package into quarters, which I then freeze. No need to thaw when you want to fry up a quarter - the slices peel off easily as they warm up in the frying pan. A quarter-package seems to be just right for one or two people.

I hesitated to say quarter pound, since I don't think most supermarket packages nowadays are 16 ounces.

Edited to add admonition on package size

Edited by crinoidgirl (log)

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Why freeze? If you are curing your own just keep the brine crock going in the fridge, cure in small joints, take your piece of bacon out when it is ready, keep it on a tray in the fridge to dry off and slice every day when you want it. If you do need to keep it for longer than about a week vacuum pack it - it will keep for several weeks but why cure more that you need in the first place? It will carry on curing in the vac pack. We have been curing hams and bacon for about 40 years. Nothing is ever as good when it has been frozen, avoid doing it whenever possible, always remember the three f’s, - freezers f*** food! :biggrin:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Why freeze?

For many folks, I suppose it's because fridge space is too limited to keep a permanent brine crock. Bacon and pancetta lend themselves well to making more than you need at once.

 

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I don't think I have ever kept cooked bacon long enough to consider freezing it. Uncooked, yes. When a brand that I like has gone on sale, I have been known to buy several pounds and freeze them (uncooked) forever.

I use bacon in fits and starts, so I would love to have some raw bacon in the freezer for when the mood strikes. Aside from fifi, has anyone frozen raw bacon? I'm interested in how you freeze it (the whole pound+, or individual strips) and how long it lasts. I'm trying to cut down, so a good bulk package from CostCo might take a year or so to be used up (if it were frozen, obviously I wouldn't keep it in the fridge that long).

As you can probably see, freezing bacon is the norm. It's especially helpful for folks, like me, that have lived alone at various times in my life. For myriad reasons, health being among them, I can't (or shouldn't, anyway) get through an entire pound of bacon by myself in a reasonable length of time, so I always freeze it. I separate the bacon into sections of about six or eight slices, wrap them very well, and then freeze them.

Now that I'm living with kids and grandkids in a family of five, we buy bacon on sale. Usually we slice down through the middle of a package (so that there are all half-slices left), and wrap it and freeze it that way. It seems to make more compact 1/2 lb packages that aren't as susceptible to freezer burn. I probably wouldn't try to freeze individual slices. Seems like the quality and texture might suffer considerably. Even when I am freezing five or six slices, I try to fold them over so it's a more compact unit. And I generally have no problem eating up five or six slices in the week after thawing.

________________________

Edited by Jaymes (log)

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Like Janet, I cut the raw bacon package into quarters, which I then freeze. No need to thaw when you want to fry up a quarter - the slices peel off easily as they warm up in the frying pan. A quarter-package seems to be just right for one or two people.

I hesitated to say quarter pound, since I don't think most supermarket packages nowadays are 16 ounces.

Edited to add admonition on package size

Thanks crinoidgirl, that's a wonderful idea. I occasionally have times where a pound or more of bacon is going to be fried up, but that's usually during a breakfast party. A normal breakfast is my wife and me, so a quarter pound would be perfect (expecially since she'd like to see me cut down my bacon intake). And don't hesitate, unless you're shopping at Fresh N Easy, most supermarket packages of bacon are still 1 pound. Even Fresh N Easy, whose packages used to be 12oz recently came out with a "new" 1 pound package.

I have to ask though, how do you wrap them for freezing? My mother used to freeze bacon, but that was in the 1 pound cryovac package, straight from the grocery store and into the freezer. If I'm going to be quartering the package, should I wrap in parchment or butcher's paper, then wrap in foil and stick in a plastic freezer bag? That is my usual way of prepping meat for freezing, but I'm wondering if it's too much. As long as it's air tight the fat in the bacon shouldn't pick up any off flavours, right?

As far as Pam's comments.. I already have a bigger fridge than most, and it still doesn't seem big enough. But I would love to have a walk-in for brining my own bacon, keeping a huge vat of kimchee, sauerkraut, etc. or dry-aging my own steaks. Not all of us have mansions though. :raz:

edited: to correct word usage, grammar and punctuation

Edited by Shamanjoe (log)

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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Why freeze? If you are curing your own just keep the brine crock going in the fridge, cure in small joints, take your piece of bacon out when it is ready, keep it on a tray in the fridge to dry off and slice every day when you want it. If you do need to keep it for longer than about a week vacuum pack it - it will keep for several weeks but why cure more that you need in the first place? It will carry on curing in the vac pack. We have been curing hams and bacon for about 40 years. Nothing is ever as good when it has been frozen, avoid doing it whenever possible, always remember the three f’s, - freezers f*** food! :biggrin:

I take it you mean green bacon. If the bacon has been cooked and smoked, this is not an option. A number of us also do sous vide cooking and use vacuum sealers to package the cut bacon prior to freezing. Comparing freshly sliced and cooked to the pre-frozen bacon, I can't detect a difference in texture. Have already talked about the flavor difference above.

What is your brine recipe so you can leave it in and not get oversalting? I assume that the saturation that you use represents the level that you want so the osmosis process reaches equilibrium. Does this lead to a longer brining time?

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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