Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tightwad Tip-In the Kitchen

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but cooking oil is not cheap. A little tip that I learned from my grandmother was to save your grease. Bacon grease has a special little jar in the refrigerator. Once the grease is cool, I spoon it into the jar. I am a traditional southern cook and all veggies are season with pork fat. A cheap way of doing that is to add a little bacon grease to your beans or peas instead of using fat back which is not so cheap anymore. Same flavor and seasoning, but far less cost. A little bacon grease in the pan to fry up eggs in the morning is also cheaper than using fresh oil and frankly the taste is better also. When I fry something like rabbit or pork chops, I save the cooking oil. I have a jar and when the oil is cooled down I simply pour the majority of the clean oil into the jar. There are always the little bits in the bottom of the pan and those go into a cup to be put on the dog and cat food (not more than a little spoonful each). Cooking oil can be used three or four times depending on what you are frying. Meat usually is about three times, but potatoes and such can stretch it another time before it needs to be discarded. Most restaurants only change out their fryer grease once a week (at least they should). Since we only fry something about once a week this allows me to go almost a month using the same amount of grease. Sometimes, I might have to add a little bit of new grease to have enough. However, that is usually on the third or fourth use. And another plus is that you get a better browning once the grease has been used at least once. The downside to that is by the fourth use you can brown too much too quickly so be careful to keep your temp down to slow down browning. The structure of the cooking oil by that time is breaking down so slower cooking at a lower temp is necessary to keep the food from burning on the outside before it is done on the inside. Usually for later usage I choose something that doesn't need to cook as long like cubed steak instead of rabbit or pork and then I use a lower temp setting. Another thing that I save is the fat trimmings from butchering. I have a bag in the freezer and when I have fat trimmings they all go in that bag. I will render all that fat and then make my laundry soap from it. I also put excess grease from cooking hamburger or sausage etc, into that bag. I had a turkey carcass that I made broth from not too long ago. I always put my broth in the refrigerator overnight for any fat to congeal at the top before I can it. So once I took it out of the refrigerator I scooped all the fat off the top and put in my bag in the freezer. I got a good half cup of fat that otherwise would have been wasted, but now will be put to good use. Saving grease and re-using is definitely a good way to save a little money in the kitchen. Remember that every little bit here and there adds up to a lot over the long term. Blessings, Kat

1 comment:

lisa said...

Oh my goodness bacon grease!! You brought back so many memories! Fresh green beans cooked with bacon are the best ever! Fry the bacon and add bacon grease. Super delicious!! Thank you for reminding me..Lisa