The magic is in the jar

Liquid pig
Hard to believe but we don’t eat a lot of bacon in the house. I find the prospect of cooking full strips of bacon a grease-filled mess, often leaving me cleaning the floors immediately afterward. But I love to include freshly cooked bacon bits into recipes on occasion: in mac and cheese, sauteed broccoli and garlic, incorporated into fried rice, etc.

Being the good citizen I am, I do not pour the bacon fat down the drain. It’s bad for the pipes and is one of the major causes of sewer clogs. Leftover bacon fat — and any cooking oil really — should be collected in a container and thrown out with the rest of the garbage. But if the bacon grease is strained, collected into a glass jar and stored in the freezer, it becomes something else — liquid pig.

The possibilities for bacon fat are endless, limited only by your imagination. A bit of fat incorporated into a dish imparts a slight essence of bacon without actually frying up the stuff. My mom used to cook eggs in bacon fat; not necessarily my preference of how I like my eggs but use it according to your taste. There are directions online on making your own bacon vodka and using the fat to make popcorn.

One of my favorite ways of using it is to saute mushrooms. Heat a little bacon fat in a frying pan. Toss in some clean, sliced mushrooms — don’t crowd the pan or they won’t brown — and season with a little salt and pepper.

Bacon-browned mushrooms
Of course, I try to use the bacon fat sparingly since excessive consumption (as with all foods) can lead to health problems, such as your own pipes getting clogged. Only a doctor can fix that.

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