7 Ways to Stockpile Bacon

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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

7 Ways to Stockpile Bacon

Bacon, with its irresistibly crispy texture and smoky flavor, is a must-have staple in many households. However, preserving this delectable treat for the long term may pose a challenge. Luckily, throughout history we have uncovered many ways to help overcome this obstacle.

By the end of this article, you will be equipped with the knowledge to ensure you always have a stash of bacon ready to liven up your meals, regardless of the season or circumstance.

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1. Freezing

BACON ON PARCHMENT PAPER

Freezing is a popular and straightforward method to prolong the shelf life of bacon without compromising its taste and texture. The process involves sealing the bacon in airtight packaging and storing it at sub-zero temperatures. This halts bacterial growth that could cause spoilage, ensuring your bacon stays fresh for extended periods.

To freeze bacon, follow these simple steps:

  1. Separate the bacon strips. It’s far easier to use later if you need only a couple of slices at a time.
  2. Wrap each strip or small batch of strips in wax paper. This prevents the bacon from sticking together.
  3. Slide the wrapped bacon into a freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air before sealing the bag.
  4. Label the bag with the current date. Although the frozen bacon can last up to six months, it’s best to consume it within one month for optimal flavor.

If you require more detailed instructions, this guide provides an in-depth look at how to freeze bacon properly. While this method is simple, you can rest assured that your stockpiled bacon retains its savoriness, ready to be thawed and cooked whenever you crave a crispy, smoky meal.

2. Canning

CANNED BACON

Canning is another effective method for long-term bacon storage. This process involves sealing bacon in an airtight container and applying heat to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and molds. The canning method not only extends the shelf-life of bacon but also retains its nutritional value and flavors.

Here’s a brief outline of the process:

  1. Cook the bacon lightly, ensuring it remains soft.
  2. Roll each strip and place it standing in a canning jar.
  3. Pour hot grease over the bacon in the jar, leaving about 1 inch of headspace.
  4. Wipe the jar rim with a damp cloth.
  5. Secure the lid and use a pressure cooker to apply 10 pounds for 90 minutes.
  6. Allow the jar to cool before storing it in a cool, dark place.

The process of canning bacon is a bit more involved than freezing, but the result is a shelf-stable product that can last for years when stored properly. For a detailed guide on this method, refer to this reputable canning tutorial. Canning is an excellent solution for those who wish to stockpile bacon but have limited freezer space.

3. Vacuum-Sealing

VACUUM SEALER

Vacuum-sealing is a great option for preserving the freshness and taste of bacon for an extended period. This method works by removing air from the packaging, slowing down the oxidation process, and stopping bacteria from multiplying.

Here’s a quick insight into the process:

  1. Arrange the bacon strips in a single layer on a baking tray and freeze for about two hours.
  2. Once the bacon is frozen, transfer the strips into a vacuum-seal bag.
  3. Follow the instructions on your vacuum sealer to seal the bag.
  4. Once sealed, the bacon can be stored in the freezer.

Vacuum-sealing not only extends the freshness of bacon but also protects it from freezer burn. It’s a practical solution for bulk storage and ideal for maintaining the quality of bacon. For a comprehensive guide, check out this vacuum-sealing tutorial.

4. Dehydrating

DEHYDRATED BACON

Dehydrating involves removing the moisture content from the bacon. Without moisture, bacteria has a hard time growing. The equipment you’ll need for this process includes a dehydrator with adjustable temperature settings and parchment paper.

Here’s a general overview of the steps:

  1. Lay out the bacon strips on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  2. Set the dehydrator to a temperature of around 160°F .
  3. Dehydrate the bacon until it becomes crispy, usually for about 6-8 hours.
  4. Once dehydrated, allow the bacon to cool and then store it in airtight containers.

Dehydration not only preserves bacon but also maximizes its flavor. It’s a great option for camping trips or long-term storage. For more detailed instructions, refer to this dehydrating guide.

5. Salting

SALT

Salting is a traditional method of preserving bacon, harking back to times before refrigeration. This process involves coating the bacon in salt, which draws out moisture and completely stops bacteria growth.

Besides preservation, salting also plays a crucial role in enhancing the flavor of bacon. It permeates the meat, providing a savory, mouthwatering taste that is uniquely characteristic of bacon.

The salting process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Coat the bacon with salt, ensuring all sides are thoroughly covered.
  2. Place the coated bacon in a container and refrigerate, allowing the salt to absorb the moisture over time.
  3. After several days (typically a week), rinse off the salt and pat the bacon dry.

Despite its simplicity, salting requires a delicate balance. Over-salting can result in overly salty bacon, while under-salting may not effectively preserve the bacon. For a good guide to salting bacon, consider referring to this salting guide.

6. Curing

BACON CURING

Curing is another traditional method of preserving bacon, often used in combination with smoking. The process involves applying a mixture of salt, sugar, nitrate, or nitrite (curing salt) to the pork belly, which not only preserves the meat but also contributes to bacon’s distinct flavor and pink color.

The curing of the bacon can be achieved through the use of meat lockers or cold storage units. These specialized storage environments maintain temperatures just above freezing and have regulated humidity levels, slowing the growth of bacteria and preventing spoilage. The meat should be wrapped tightly to avoid exposure to air and moisture.

The curing process can take anywhere from a week to several months, depending on the desired depth of flavor.

7. Smoking

SMOKING-BACON

Smoking is a traditional method of preserving bacon that imparts a unique, smoky flavor, making it a favored technique among bacon enthusiasts. This process involves exposing the cured pork belly to smoke, usually derived from hardwoods such as hickory or maple. The meat absorbs this smoke, enhancing its flavor and contributing to its preservation.

Smoking can be done either cold or hot, each method delivering differing levels of smoke flavor and texture. For comprehensive guides on smoking bacon, consider referencing this smoking guide. This is a slow process where the end reward is only part of the journey, don’t try to rush it along or you risk the shelf life of the bacon.

Final Thoughts

Preserving bacon can be an enjoyable and rewarding process. Salting and curing are essential first steps, removing moisture and impeding bacterial growth, making bacon safe to eat over extended periods. Smoking not only enhances the flavor of the bacon but also contributes to its preservation.

Choosing between cold or hot smoking methods can significantly impact the bacon’s texture and taste. The key to any method is maintaining optimal conditions to prevent spoilage. Don’t hesitate to experiment with bacon preservation – it’s one of the more forgiving foods in this regard.

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