Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Frugal File #1 Bacon Stock

At this point in the economy, I find myself looking at everything a bit differently. Dimes are getting thinner and further between, and while I hope things get better for us all, I am not entirely disappointed in the change that is happening in me. I find myself thinking before I throw things away, and those thoughts have resulted in this part of my blog.

I decided that my first "Frugal File" would be an entry about bacon stock, timed to coincide with an article about Bean with Bacon Soup. As you may know, after reading some of my other entries, I buy organic and all-natural food as much as possible. I have also made a commitment to be a conscientious omnivore. That is a big term for the idea that I am committed to buying meat sourced from animals that were raised humanely, without antibiotics and hormones, and allowed to lead a natural lifestyle (for example free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, etc.). The meat that we buy is more expensive, so we buy less, which means that I want to make it go further.

I save the bacon grease for occasional use in cornbread or frying, but I also began to notice all the caramelized brown glaze that was left behind when I cooked bacon. Eventually I realized how much flavor I was sending down the drain when I washed the pan, and that I could use that flavor in soups and vegetables. Now I keep a second canning jar in the refrigerator for the deglazed bacon stock. When a jar is full, if I don't need it at the moment, I put it in the freezer (with sufficient head space to allow the liquid to freeze without breaking the jar). 

Fry bacon to desired crispness
Drain grease into a jar or dispose of according to your needs
allow pan to cool
add water and place pan on low heat
use a wooden spoon to ‘scrub' the brown glaze from the pan until you have a rich brown liquid
drain into a jar and refrigerate or freeze according to your needs (especially freeze the liquid if you are not going to use it in the near future)
add the resulting stock to the cooking liquid for dried beans (after they have been soaked and rinsed), or green beans, etc. 

I hope you find this as helpful an idea as I did. I can hear the ghosts of women from the depression era rooting me on as I do this, but I know some people probably just think I'm nuts, LOL. 

1 comment:

Sonja said...

This is a wonderful idea. I have a recipe for bean & bacon soup that I found on the flylady website, if I remember correctly. Just the leftover bacon grease is used in the soup, for flavor. Looks like you have a similar recipe that includes the bacon. I will have to try that soon!