Bacon Bits on Demand

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bacon ice cube trayBacon bits, bacon bits, right at my fingertips.

Announcing she had something for me, Karen cracked open the farmhouse freezer like a back-room safe. Standing before the frosty shelves piled high with butcher-wrapped bricks of meat, she rifled around a bit, searching for my presumed prize. The voice in my head was pleading, “Please let it be bacon, bacon, bacon!” The telepathic powers of pining for pork prevailed, and she handed me a chubby baton marked “bacon.” I began to tear up.

Karen knows I love a good BLT, and that this week I was trying to harvest every last ripe and near-ripe tomato slicer before the rains set in. And as an added bonus and a tip of the hat to autumn and my penchant for pies,  this generous farmer added one more thing to my awaiting arms: a tub of leaf lard, the gold standard fat for making perfect pie crusts. (Swooning, I had to find a seat and fan myself.)

chopped bacon frozen

Frozen bacon cubes: out of the freezer and into the frying pan

After I finished  slicing up the thawed bacon slab into strips, I had some chunky bits and pieces left.  I decided to treat them as I do homemade pesto. By placing the uncooked bacon bits in an ice cube tray, I could freeze them in individual measures, ready to be dropped into a heated pan to flavor up a myriad of dishes, like wilted salad, green beans, soup, fried rice, or anything begging to be bathed in the smoky perfume of bacon.

frozen bacon cubeTwo frozen lumps of fatty smoked goodness

bacon bits frying panTo remove the frozen bacon from the ice cube tray, simply twist it as you would with ice cubes and the little bacon balls pop right out. Toss them all in a Zip-loc bag bound for the freezer and use them whenever a recipe calls for bacon bits or lardons or pancetta.  Now don’t forget to wash the ice cube tray with hot soapy water; I can assure you while bacon is great flavor enhancement to many foods, iced tea is not one them.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Tom,

    The hubs and I buy large packs of bacon at the warehouse store and freeze most of it. We roll each slice, place them on a sheet pan, freeze them and put the whole batch into a zip-lock. Very handy but I can’t claim the idea: I saw it in Fine Cooking magazine a long time ago.

  2. Tom,
    I now think I have been hanging out too long with you here!
    As I was reading, I could seriously smell that beautiful sizzling bacon…..
    Oh joy for the simple pleasures in life! Have a terrific day.

  3. Oh, Tom!
    I went to a “Pie Party” this past weekend and used the last of my precious “leaf lard” stash ……it is the very best!!!! Aren’t we blessed to be surrounded by such bounty?
    Amen,
    Neighbor Kate

  4. Never thought of freezing bacon THAT way; but, I sure know once its been frozen and thawed, it goes bad QUICKLY.

    TOMATO TIP: You probably already thought of this method of storing tomatoes, but if not, I like to share my ideas/tips. If you buy boxes of pears, peaches, apples, etc. where the fruit sits in the black plastic cradles and, after canning or using the contents, save the inserts (and boxes) for your end of season, not quite ripe tomatoes. They can’t touch one another to spread “rot”. If on the green side, wrap in newspaper first.

    This year, ending up with both large and small inserts, all size tomatoes fit accordingly. I store ‘stem side down’ as recommended by ATK. Also, for those growing “Lemon Boy”, this guy has a phenomenal storage life. I accidentally found one in February that had been wrapped in paper and was still firm and edible!!! So impressed, I planted four L.B’s this year. Sweet, mild, low acidity and are disease resistant (VFNASt).

    • Carol great tip on the tomatoes. I have a bunch of those boxes and inserts on hand, and may forego hanging up the pulled up vines in the greenhouse. Your idea is proven and seems a bit more practical. Thanks!

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