Before you toss out that bacon grease, check out these creative bacon grease uses that can make your life easier. Back in the old days, it wasn’t unusual to save bacon grease for cooking. These days, a lot of people dispose of bacon grease before they can take full advantage of its money-saving benefits. Yes, you read that right: You can save money by hanging onto your bacon grease — here’s how.
How to Store Bacon Grease
Before we get into all those money-saving tricks, it’s important to know how to store bacon grease properly. A common question regarding bacon grease storage is, “Does bacon grease need to be stored in the refrigerator?” The answer is no, not always — but there are a few things you want to keep in mind.
If you’re going to leave it out on your counter, make sure you strain your bacon grease before bottling it. Any tiny leftover bacon bits mixed in with your grease will spoil in a matter of weeks, which makes the rest of the grease unusable. We recommend using your bacon grease quickly if you plan on leaving it at room temperature.
Another option is to store your jar of bacon grease in the fridge after you’ve strained it. Refrigerating bacon grease will extend its shelf life up to a year as long as it’s stored in an airtight container. It’s a bit trickier to scoop hardened bacon grease from a jar, so we suggest pouring your cooled bacon grease in an old egg carton. If you need your bacon grease to last longer, freeze it in an ice cube tray. This way, it’ll keep for more than a year and you’ll have bacon grease pods you can grab whenever you need.
7 Ways to Save Money With Bacon Grease
Now that you know how to store bacon grease to reuse it in the future, let’s take a look at all those bacon grease-related money-saving tips. And don’t worry, there are more ways to use bacon beyond just cooking (although that’s a pretty delicious option, too).
1. Make DIY fire starters.
One of our favorite fall activities is curling up in front of a fire with the family to sip hot chocolate and watch holiday movies. To prepare a roaring flame that will warm the room, you’ll need a fire starter. Instead of spending money on costly store-bought fire starters, why not make your own?
All you have to do is dip a piece of cloth or fabric in your bacon grease and tie it with a string so you can easily light the strip without burning your fingers. Then, ignite the grease-soaked fabric when your fireplace is ready. Pretty simple, right? It gets easier: Dipping your kindling in the grease may be good enough to get a good blaze going.
2. Add it to your favorite recipes.
There are so many ways to use bacon grease that go beyond just lubricating the pan. We’ve rounded up a dozen surprising ways to add bacon grease to your recipes so you can get the most out of your dishes. One of our favorite cooking hacks is whipping up a bacon salad dressing — because who said bacon doesn’t belong on a salad? We’re also big fans of using bacon grease as a mayo substitute on sandwiches and potato salads.
3. Build homemade suet balls for birds.
Now’s your chance to help the wildlife in your backyard stay warm, fat, and fed this season. Making homemade suet balls for birds and squirrels is easy: Roll a spoonful of bacon grease in bird seed. Then, put it outside somewhere hungry critters can easily access it. Before you know it, you’ll be a real-life Snow White with a backyard full of stunning winter birds.
4. Oil squeaky doors and hinges.
You know that one bedroom door that wails and whines every time you open and close it? You can enjoy the sounds of silence simply by dipping a Q-tip in bacon grease and dabbing it along the door hinge. The bacon grease will act as a natural lubricant and allow all the working parts to function smoothly.
5. Prevent expensive plumber bills.
Pouring bacon grease in sinks is a bad idea, because it could eventually clog the drain. Then, your food bits will get stuck, making for one smelly mess — and a pricey visit from your plumber. Save yourself the hassle and stress (and not to mention money!) now by saving your bacon grease instead of trying to toss it down into your pipes.
6. Create DIY candles.
DIY bacon grease candles will come in handy should you lose power this season — plus there isn’t a craft that gets much easier than this. To make your emergency candles, simply add a wick to a small jar and pour in the bacon grease. You can speed up the cooling process by sticking it in the fridge. And should you ever have to use it, your whole house will end up smelling like delicious bacon.
7. Grease your pans.
The easiest way to use bacon grease is to oil your pans with it. If your grease has already hardened in the fridge into handy little pods, simply plop it in your heated pan and watch it melt. Then, toss in whatever meat or veggies you need to sauté. Cooking with bacon grease will add a smokey, meaty flavor to whatever’s in the pan.
And with that, we’ll see you at the grocery store. We’re going to buy some bacon now.