There is a jar on my counter top that carries on a wonderful tradition. It's the awe and wonder of the grease jar. My aunts had grease jars, my grandmother had a grease jar and probably my great and great grandmothers before them.
I don't know if this is purely a southern thing or if this happens all over. I don't know if many people still hold to this tradition. But I do know that this is one of my traditions that I am happy to display daily.
There is a Ball Mason jar that frequently fluctuates between half to almost full. It's one of my go-to ingredients when I'm cooking and want a burst of delicious flavor, because who doesn't love the flavor of bacon?
I've used this bacon grease to add to everything from southern cooked green beans (did you know some people don't cook their green beans to a mush? Who knew?!), fried eggs, refried beans (yes, I know it's redundant and probably not healthy in the least but trust me...the flavor is unbeatable). Anything that I can imagine would benefit from this secret ingredient of yumminess gets a good dose.
It's really simple to create a grease jar. After you've cooked a pack of bacon, either in the skillet or in the oven (I'll confess, I've given in to the ease of baking mine lately), just wait for the grease to cool some. Don't let it cool too much though or else it will begin to become solid. You can still transfer it if it has become solid but it's easier in the liquid state. Pour into a jar or good solid container. I prefer something with a good lid in case it ever gets knocked over. You don't want to clean up a counter full of bacon grease.
That's it. It's that simple. I add to my jar every time that I make bacon and use about a tablespoon or two whenever I need it.
My bacon jar is a tradition that takes me back to the great Appalachian kitchens of the past. It's a connection to something I hold dear and memories that are irreplaceable. It's so much more than just a great cooking tool but it's also a link to my heritage. Do you use a grease jar in your kitchen? What do you enjoy adding it to?