How to Can Bacon at Home!
I LOVE BACON! And I love canning. So naturally, it is fun to combine the two. It’s EASY, CHEAP, and FUN to can bacon at home. You MUST use a pressure canner to can bacon. You CANNOT water bath can bacon.
Here are very detailed instructions on canning bacon… I hope you enjoy!
Oh no! Bacon was on sale and you couldn’t resist stocking up. But you don’t have freezer space or don’t want to risk losing all this delicious bacon from a power outage or maybe you just want to save the room. Let’s can it!
It is necessary to can bacon in quart jars for the most convenience. You MUST use WIDE mouth jars to get the bacon to fit. One quart jar will hold approximately one pound of bacon as a roll. The first step is to get your parchment paper.
Lay the bacon side by side flat on the parchment paper. With luck, your paper will be the right size for the bacon to fit with a little room to spare. You should be able to get approximately one pound of bacon on the sheet. For me, this is between 12 and 14 slices. You’ll get the hang of how much bacon to use really quick once you try to get it into the jars. I like to stagger my strips, alternating top and bottom of each slice to help them fit on the paper more uniformly.
Now place the smaller, remaining piece of the parchment paper over the lower half of the bacon strips. Slide your hand across the paper to make it adhere to the bacon really well.
Now gently fold the top half of the big piece of paper over the smaller piece on bottom. It may take a couple of attempts to get good at this motion. This folds the bacon in half in a very neat way. Then run your hand down the strip to make it flat and even.
Now you have a very compact roll of bacon wrapped in parchment paper with a piece of parchmen paper between the folded slices. It is now time to slide the roll of bacon into the wide mouth quart jar. I prefer to leave the open end on top. Sometimes it helps to twist the roll to get it to slide into the jar. I also prefer a tight fit, this is where you really learn about how much bacon you want in each roll for the next jar.
Now make sure to use a clean cloth or paper towel to really wipe the rim of the jar. Often, grease from the bacon will get on the rim when you’re sliding it in and this oil will prevent a good seal from forming during the canning process. Use clean jars, but I do not sterilize my jars when I will be pressure canning for a long period of time. You can use sterilized jars that you have boiled for 10 minutes if it makes you feel more safe.
Now place the lids and rings on the jars and tighten to just finger-tight. You do not want the lids on too tight.
Once you have all of your bacon jars prepared, it is time for them to go into a pressure canner that already has about 3 inches of water in the bottom. I use the Presto pressure canner from WalMart and it holds 7 quarts at a time. I start my water heating as I am filling up the canner to save on time. Once all your jars are in the canner, the water level will have risen higher in the canner, this is normal. You do not need the water level to cover the jars for pressure canning.
Put the lid on the canner and allow the canner to heat up and some steam to begin to vent from the vent outlet for a few minutes. Then carefully place the weight on top (10 pound weight unless you’re high altitude, then 15 pounds) of the vent.
After the canner has heated and adequate pressure has built up, the top weight will begin to wobble and make a distinct sound. When this is consistent and not an intermittent sound, set a timer for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes has elapsed, turn off the heat. WAIT until the pressure drops to zero before opening the canner. This will be known by the pressure tab that had popped up during heating falling once again or by the pressure gauge falling to zero if your canenr is equipped with a gauge. THIS IS IMPORTANT. DO NOT open your canner until you’re sure the pressure is at zero, even if this means you must leave it overnight. Usually this just takes less than an hour or so. Once you’re sure the pressure is down, open the canner and carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter. They will be very hot. Place them on a towel on a clean countertop, with space between each jar allowing them to cool. Once cool, verify that the jars have sealed by observing if the top is indented and it does not pop when you push on the center of the lid. Remove the rings for storage, as they will likely rust causing problems with the seal remaining intact for long periods of time.
You may be wondering what a finished jar of bacon looks like. You may be even more curious what the bacon looks like after an extended period of time and has been opened and cooked. Well here it is! I canned this particular bacon in October of 2011 and I am creating this post in July of 2012. Nine months have passed since this bacon was canned. You can see the liquid fat in the jar near the bottom with a white layer of bacon grease above the liquid, about a quarter of the way up.
Often, the bacon coming out of the jar is very tender and will fall apart. This is normal, just don’t expect to end up with pretty strips after it’s cooked. I usually just cook it like this and not worry about cooking it in flat strips. My husband cooked this batch of bacon a little longer than I would have. It was crunchy, but he likes that.
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