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I first read about canning bacon at Enola Gay's blog, Paratus Familia. I was very intrigued and since I love to do more than just canning fruits, pickles and green beans, I took a venture at it. My first attempts were fine, except that I didn't have parchment paper between the slices, and they were difficult to separate. I've included anecdotal notes about my experiences.
Disclaimer: the USDA does not recommend home canning bacon, and if you do so, you do at your own risk. The food police do not like people like me, who prefer to take our own lives into our own hands.
Last week Safeway had a sale on their thick cut bacon for $2.99/lb in 3 pound packages, so I bought four packages. First, of course you want to sterilize your jars and lids, and have parchment paper and scissors handy. I pulled about an 18" piece of parchment paper from the roll and lay it on the counter. Then I start laying bacon pieces, lining them up along the bottom edge. The bacon looks like it is really long in my picture, but you can see the normal size that it is by the remaining bacon that I haven't laid out yet.
I have found that with the thick sliced bacon, which we prefer, it takes 10-12 slices per jar. When they are all laid out, I trim up the right edge of the parchment, and then trim off the top 3 inches or so, then lay the strip that I cut off, on top of the bottom portion of the bacon strips. This helps keep the bacon from adhering to itself when you are peeling off the parchment paper.
Next, I fold over the pieces of bacon on top of that strip of parchment.
Then, I fold over the top half of the parchment paper.
Start at one end and roll up tightly. I put the package in a wide mouth quart jar with the open end of my bacon package and the bottom, and the folded portion at the top. You do not need to add any water or salt.
Now you're ready to put your hot lids and bands on and process in your pressure canner for your altitude for 1 hour and 30 minutes. I have also slightly precooked the bacon prior to canning. In the picture below, the jar on the left is bacon that is canned raw according to the instructions that are given above. Notice that it has a thicker layer of fat at the bottom of the jar and some liquid, as compare to the jar on the right, which was precooked. I have found that both methods produce acceptable results. I am lazy and prefer not to have to dirty pans and spend the extra time cooking the bacon for 10 min.
In addition, I have also partially cooked up pieces of bacon, about 1 inch square size pieces and canned those in 1/2 pint jars. They fry up quickly and beautifully as well. They are nice to use for bacon bits to top salads or what not. I got this great idea from Kris Watson over at Simply Living. You have to read the comments to read how she cans her bacon.
I have also found that with the bacon that is packed raw, there is a tendency for it to pop and splatter. I suppose that is from water in the product, some of which is cooked out when precooked. But, overall, it is very good, fries up nicely, and will satisfy that bacon craving the way nothing else can do.
I priced Yoder's canned bacon and it sells for about $14.00 for a 9 oz. can which has 50 (very thin) slices. My jar contains approximately 10-12 oz. of bacon (weight after canning), so it is very economical, at about $3.00 per jar. Enjoy!