Back in June we took in our large pig boar, Ardy, to the meat processor. I still have a wrist strain injury from browning all of the ground meat, but that’s another story…… 🙂
While we here are always looking to learn ways to preserve food without freezing or canning, in the mean time, I learned how to pressure can bacon several years ago and, since it is so easy, I thought I would share it with you in case it might be helpful to anyone. The price of bacon has seemed to skyrocket over the years (at least in actual prices). Wouldn’t you love to “pounce” on a good bacon sale and be able to preserve it in bulk without using up freezer space or risking freezer burn? AND, it would already be pre-cooked! Real bacon! Well, below is a simple tutorial as to how I process and pressure can bacon pieces. (Sorry, if you want to can entire pieces there are other tutorials on line). Investing in a canner and some jars/lids is really not very expensive at all compared to the savings over time when you find great sales. You can pressure can just about anything.
Okay, let’s go!
Here is how the bacon comes from the processor:
So, I just take it out of the package and lay it on a cutting board with my preferred knife ready to cut it into strips. REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure the bacon is still partially frozen for nice, clean cutting. As it thaws, the fat gets greasy and slippery and becomes increasingly difficult and more dangerous to cut. You may as well put it back in the freezer at that point:
I cut it into approximately 1/2″ strips. If you want smaller pieces, cut to your preferred width:
Then I cut the strips cross-wise into several small sections, again, approx. 1/2″ (cut to your preferred size). Don’t worry about trying to separate each layer; it will all separate in the cooking:
Yeah, Ardy was a big boy…..
Okay, then I just lightly cooked the bacon in frying pans, about half-way or more cooked, and the fat is released from the meat:
I then strained out the meat with a slotted spoon. If you want less bacon grease in your jar, use a colander or more thorough straining method:
Here is the big bowl of bacon grease I strained, which will be canned in separate jars along with the bacon. This way, the grease will be preserved indefinitely until I’m ready to use it, and it won’t become rancid:
The yield: 22 pints of delicious bacon pieces!!!
I strained the bacon grease to get out the little remnants of bacon for a clean, clear lard result:
Four and a half pints of bacon grease – not bad!
I processed the bacon and grease in pint jars at 15 lbs. pressure for 75 minutes in my trusty pressure canner (don’t be intimidated, if I can do it, anyone “can” 😀 ), dutifully following the canning book instructions. We live about 1,100 feet above sea level so please can according to your own altitude and guidelines:
And the finished product! It may not look that appetizing, but here is delicious pre-cooked bacon, ready to be poured out of the jar and used in your recipe of choice. You can heat it up and get all of the grease out of it, or include the grease to fry with, etc. When bacon is called for in recipes, it usually takes time and planning. This way, it’s all ready right away!
Here is a closer look:
We are so very thankful to God for these provisions and a way at this time to preserve and be good stewards of them. Bon appetit!