As I said last week, I am trying to stop buying so much bacon (or maybe stop buying bacon entirely?), at least for a little while, while we’re in the season of resolutions. I do, however, have a reserve of bacon fat stored away in my freezer, so it seemed like a good time to revive the Building a Better Kitchen series and discuss just what to do with all that bacon fat.
Cooking bacon renders a lot of fat. You SHOULD NOT pour the fat down the sink, unless you want to be Drano-ing the daylights out of it some day soon. I’ve also heard from some of my friends that they just pour the hot fat into the trash and hope for the best. I hope it is obvious why this is not the best idea.
Dealing with all that bacon fat is actually simple enough. Just get a clean aluminum can and pour the fat in after cooking; store the can (covered with foil or plastic wrap or something) in the freezer. You can then use the frozen bacon fat instead of oil to cook with, though I’ve accumulated so much bacon fat that I probably am just going to throw out my can and start again. The main thing here is not to block up your drain (in much the same way bacon fat probably clogs your arteries); the side benefit is tons of bacon fat for cooking. (Here is a good description of rendering bacon fat from Simply Recipes, as well as a good photo of the solid white, kind of disgusting looking mass that frozen bacon fat becomes.)
What else should you keep in your freezer? This is a little less elaborate than the other posts in the Building a Better Kitchen series, but these are my must-haves (Kevin discussed his in this post):
– Alcohol: Keep your gin and vodka in the freezer. Duh. And duh, you have gin and vodka, of course.
– Ice cubes: I know, I know, but this is a toughy for some people, apparently.
– Bacon fat: Discussed above.
– Sliced bread: I can never eat a whole loaf of bread before it goes stale, but eventually I learned that if you toast frozen bread, it tastes just about as good as toasted fresh bread (not quite, but you don’t have to go out and buy a new loaf of bread every time). Just slice a loaf, whatever thickness you like, put it in a freezer bag and throw it in there.
– Stock: If I’ve made stock, it’s in the freezer.
– Leftovers: I’m a leftover machine. Currently, there are tupperwares with ropa vieja and enchiladas in the freezer.
– Parmesan rinds: I keep meaning to use these for minestrone or soup or some other such delicious, frugal Italian grandmother dish, but instead I just keep accruing them. I think part of my hesitation at this point is that I’ve been collecting them so long, and they have been so hard-earned, that whatever I make with them has to be amazing. Ideas appreciated.
– Other: Trader Joe’s edamame and garlic naan are two of my stand-bys to make an easy snack or meal; frozen berrries and mango chunks are my favorites also. And, of course ice cream and pre-made cookie dough (which I think I listed in the fridge edition of Building a Better Kitchen, but which I’ve since realized keeps better in the freezer, though it takes longer to bake).
What do you keep in your freezer? Any suggestions?