My friend Mary over at "Adventures Of My Life!" asked if I would give details on how I can bacon bits, so I decided to answer her in a post just in case anyone else might be interested.
The end product is bacon bits - not the canned bacon strips. I haven't yet tried canning bacon strips, but there are lots of videos out there giving basically the same instructions. I may give that a go at a later date but right now, I can the bits.
I buy the packages of bacon ends and pieces. I'm going to chop it all up so I don't need pretty slices. They usually come in three pound packages and cost less per pound than regular packages of bacon. Most times I can nine pounds at a time.
Note: The only time I have had disastrous results was when I used bacon that was only smoked and not cured. It turned into a greasy, slimy mess that I wound up tossing. The bacon should be cured the same as the bacon that comes in the regular packages at the grocery.
I just grab a handful of bacon, flop it onto my cutting board and slice into about half-inch pieces. When the bacon is all cut up, I put about three handfuls into a dutch oven and fry it over a medium-low heat until it is lightly browned. (Sorry about the exact measurements here, but that's how I do things!) I want the bacon to be light brown in color rather than crisp because it will cook more in the pressure canner. As each batch is done, I just drain it in a colander that sits over a bowl to catch the bacon grease. I save the grease for other uses.
When all of the bacon is cooked and drained, I pack it into half pint jars, tamping it down with a wooden spoon, to within one inch of the top of the jar. DO NOT add any liquid or bacon grease to the jars. The rim of the jar is carefully wiped with a paper towel dipped in vinegar. The vinegar will cut any grease from the jar rim. This step is important because any grease left on the jar rim can cause the jar to fail to seal. Add lids and rings.
Process the jars of bacon in a pressure canner for 75 minutes at whatever the correct weight is for your area. Mine is 10 lbs. pressure. Higher elevations would be more. Follow the instructions for your particular canner. Mine doesn't have a gauge, so the instructions are slightly different from those that do have a gauge. Pints and half pints are canned the same amount of time.
The last batch of bacon bits I canned using nine pounds of bacon yielded 17 half pints. Probably would have had one more jar, but Son and I kept snitching bacon while it was cooling!
Bacon bits can be canned in pint jars as well, but I find for my use, the half pints are just right. I mix the bits in with scrambled eggs or use in omelets. They can be sprinkled on a green salad. They can be used in any number of egg or potato casseroles. I even add them to scalloped potatoes. The uses for these tasty little nuggets are limited only by your imagination.
So there you go, Mary. Hope this helps. :)
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