Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Canning bacon

There has been a lot of chatter lately about ...BACON!  Bacon has been in the news because it is reportedly going to be on the shortage list next year.  My family are big bacon eaters.  I don't eat it so much but they love it so I will be canning some extra bacon this fall.  I don't believe there will be a shortage per se, I think it will just be very expensive due to grain shortages as a result of the drought. 

Fall is usually the time of year that pork is on sale. Pigs are butchered year around but all those little Spring piggies are Fall Hogs and go to market.  For that reason there is usually a lot of pork sales this time of year.  I personally buy bacon whenever it is on sale, stick it in the refrigerator and when I have enough I can it. 

Buying canned bacon is very, very expensive.  Canning it yourself is very, very cheap!  All you need is wide mouth quart jars, rings and lids, a pressure canner (you cannot can meats in a water bath) some food grade brown paper or parchment paper, (although some people do use brown masking paper that comes in large rolls, it isn't food grade therefore I don't use it)  a sharp knife, scissors, and you are good to go. 
I prefer to use Parchment paper, it's a little more expensive but I find it is easier to use than brown paper.

Lay your bacon out side by side just touching but not overlapping.  If the bacon is thin you can and should put two slices on top of each other. You shouldn't put more than 8 single slices side by side or 8 doubled slices side by side for thin sliced bacon.
I like to use a ruler or thin wooden dowel in the middle of the row of bacon, then flip it in half so you have your bacon folded in half.
Trim your paper close to the bacon.

Roll you bacon in the paper tightly into a roll.

Put it into the wide mouth jar fold side down into the bottom of the jar.

 Put your lids and rings on the jar, do not add liquid of any kind.
Place the jars into the pressure canner on the rack, you may have to weight down the jars to keep them from floating.  Some people use a plate with a brick or rock on it.  Process for 90 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure for quarts.  Turn off the stove and let the pressure canner return to normal on it's own.
After removing from the pressure canner be sure to check all the lids to be sure they have "pinged". This bacon will keep for 2-3 years stored correctly in a cool dark place.

This is what the bacon looks like as it is unrolled.  Just fry it or oven bake it as usual. 
Be sure to check your jars occasionally to be sure there is no mold or that the lids are still in good, clean order.  Any sign of mold or rust and you should throw out the contents immediately as that jar did not seal correctly.
This is a great way to buy bacon on sale and be able to use it 2 years down the road. 
 Frozen bacon has to be used within a year so this will definitely prolong it's use.  You can buy your bacon bulk from somewhere like Zaycon Foods or you can just buy it by the pound as its on sale and when you have enough to fill the pressure canner you can defrost and can.  Commercially canned bacon sells for 16.95 a can!  So you do the math!


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