I've been canning a lot lately. Not only is it the season of abundance, but I feel a sense of urgency to get my pantry as full as it can possibly be. In fact, I've been canning so much that I'm getting dangerously low on jars. While I have a sufficient quantity of quart jars, I'm down to only three dozen pint jars.
Nonetheless when I came across three-pound packs of bacon ends for a good price, I cleaned out the store. We'd just finished using up our stash of bacon bits I'd canned last year, and bacon bits are excellent in so many dishes that having a nice supply is a bonus.
Besides, with the horrible drought plaguing the midwest, pork prices are on the rise. Best to can bacon bits while I can still afford it.
Cutting up the bacon ends.
I wished I'd stopped to count how many three-pound packages I started with, but I forgot to. I cup up and cooked the bacon ends over a period of days, so I lost track. But it was lots of bacon ends.
Two packages (six pounds) of bacon ends filled up my pot.
Then I cooked it down. This took a long time -- again, I did it over a period of days -- because I prefer to cook it slowly.
I drained it about half-way through, and of course drained it when it was completely cooked.
When all the bacon was cooked down, I started canning. I re-heated the bacon bits, then filled pint jars dry (meaning, I added no other liquid).
Scalding lids and rings.
I came away with a total of 18 pints of bacon bits.
All meat gets canned in a pressure canner, 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts.
Because of our elevation, I keep the pressure between 12 and 13 lbs.
Because I like having lots of bacon bits in the pantry, I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for additional bacon ends on sale. The more the merrier!