How to Can Bacon
By Cordi Howell
Canning bacon is not recommended by the USDA, so do it at your own risk. As a note, we have eaten home canned bacon for years and have never had any illness from doing so.
Here’s how to do it:
Prepare the jars and lids.
Get your parchment paper ready.
Trim bacon ends (or do this as you go, if you prefer)
Starting at one end of the parchment paper, lay a strip of RAW bacon across it, roll it over once, add another strip, roll, and keep going. You can lay all of your bacon strips out on the parchment paper first, just be sure to leave a little space between each strip, then roll it all up.
When your roll is about the same size as the jar opening, either continue wrapping the rest of the paper around, or cut it off.
Now, just stuff your bacon roll in the jar. That’s it. When they’re all full, wipe the rims clean, put the lids and bands on the jars and can them.
Process in a pressure canner for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Check a canning book if you are in the higher elevations.
I use my leftover bacon ends by frying them until they are almost crisp, wipe off the grease and then put in my dehydrator until they look completely dried out. They will resemble a darker version of store bought bacon bits, but the taste is much better. Store in Ziploc bag and use as you would store bought bacon bits. Or you could bypass the dehydrator step and just store them in the freezer.
Now when you are ready to use your canned bacon, the entire roll will come out all at once. This gets just a wee bit messy. I lay the paper on a baking sheet and roll it out. It’s a good idea to prop a towel or pot holder under one short end of the baking sheet, so that it sits at an angle. This helps all of the grease that runs off of the paper to drain downward. You can save this grease by putting it back in the jar with the liquid/grease that is still in there, then place it in your fridge and use it when frying food.
Fry your canned bacon as you would fresh bacon. It looks a bit differently than its fresh counterpart, but it tastes just fine! Nice and bacon-y!
Now, it sort of crumbles as you cook it, so again, it’s your choice on using the parchment paper step. It does stay in larger pieces than bacon bits, the pieces are more like ‘chunks’ than ‘slices’.
If you prefer your bacon not so crispy, it will stay in strips. It seems to break into chunks more when you fry it crispy.
Since it has already been cooked during the canning process, you just need to cook it enough to get it to the texture you desire and nice and warm.
Use wide mouth quart canning jars.
It takes a little over a pound of bacon for each jar.
You’ll need some parchment paper (can be found in the grocery store section with foil and plastic wrap).
Prepare the jars and lids as you would for canning anything else — Wash and boil the jars to sterilize. Bring the bands and lids to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Keep everything in hot water until ready to use.
Pull off about 3 or 4 feet of parchment paper. Depending on the width, I usually cut mine in half lengthwise.
Now you are going to roll the bacon slices up in the parchment paper and put them length wise into the jar. You want to roll the paper about as wide as the jar is tall.
Don’t worry if the paper is a bit short or too long, it won’t make much difference.
I reckon you could just bypass using the paper altogether, but then you wouldn’t have your canned bacon come out in slices when you’re cooking it. It would all just group together.
Another tip is to cut the bacon to about the same length, as the jar is tall, so that it fits to about 1” below the rim.
It doesn’t have to be exact, but if it’s too long, you’ll end up wasting space stuffing ends in the jar. You’ll get more bacon in each jar if they fit better.