Bacon: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the world of bacon with our ultimate guide, covering its history, health benefits, types, and storage tips for a balanced and delicious lifestyle.

What is Bacon?

Bacon is a type of salt-cured pork that comes from various cuts, typically from the pork belly or back. It has a rich, savory taste and a satisfyingly crispy texture when cooked. Bacon is a versatile ingredient used in a wide range of dishes, from breakfast staples like eggs and pancakes to salads, sandwiches, and even desserts.

Is Bacon Healthy?

Bacon has a somewhat controversial reputation when it comes to health. It's high in fat, particularly saturated fat, and sodium, which can contribute to health issues when consumed in excess. However, bacon also provides essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. Moderation is key when enjoying bacon as part of a balanced diet.

5 Benefits of Bacon

  1. Rich in protein: Bacon is a good source of high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
  2. Provides essential vitamins and minerals: Bacon contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12, as well as minerals like phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
  3. Supports brain health: The choline found in bacon is crucial for maintaining healthy brain function and memory.
  4. Boosts energy levels: The B vitamins in bacon help convert the food you eat into energy.
  5. Improves mood: Bacon's amino acids can help regulate mood and reduce stress.

History and Background of Bacon

Bacon has a long and storied history, dating back to ancient China around 1500 BC. It spread to Europe, where it became a staple in many cultures. The word "bacon" comes from the Old French word "bacun," meaning "back meat." Today, bacon is enjoyed worldwide, with each country putting its unique spin on this versatile ingredient.

What is the Best Way to Store Bacon?

To keep bacon fresh and maintain its quality, store it in the refrigerator in its original packaging or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. For longer storage, bacon can be frozen in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to six months.

What are the Different Types of Bacon?

  • Streaky bacon: The most common type, made from pork belly and featuring alternating layers of fat and meat.
  • Back bacon: A leaner cut from the loin, popular in the UK and Canada.
  • Pancetta: An Italian bacon that is typically unsmoked and seasoned with spices.
  • Turkey bacon: A lower-fat alternative made from ground turkey, often used as a substitute for pork bacon.

What is the Best Substitute for Bacon if I Don't Have Any?

If you don't have bacon on hand, suitable alternatives include pancetta, prosciutto, turkey bacon, or even smoked salmon, depending on the dish and desired flavor profile.

What Cuisines Use Bacon?

Bacon is a popular ingredient in various cuisines, including American, British, German, and Italian.

How is Bacon Made?

Bacon is made by curing pork with salt, either through a dry-curing process or a wet-curing process involving a brine. The cured pork is then typically smoked to add flavor and improve shelf life.

Can Bacon Go Bad?

Yes, bacon can go bad if not stored properly or consumed past its expiration date. Signs of spoilage include an off smell, sliminess, or mold.

What is Bacon Jam?

Bacon jam is a savory-sweet spread made from cooked bacon, onions, sugar, and various seasonings. It's often used as a condiment on sandwiches, burgers, or even as a topping for crackers and cheese.

Is Processed Meat, Including Bacon, Linked To Cancer?

Numerous studies have suggested a link between the consumption of processed meat and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has classified processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen. This classification means that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that processed meat consumption can cause cancer in humans.


The main concern with processed meats is that they typically contain nitrates and nitrites, which are chemicals used in the curing process. When consumed, these compounds can form nitrosamines in the body, which are known carcinogens.


This is why there are so many "nitrate-free" options of bacon available for purchase today and we recommend that you buy "nitrate-free" bacon when it is available.

What Is Best Way To Get Rid Of Bacon Grease?

Dealing with bacon grease requires proper disposal to avoid clogging drains and causing environmental issues. Here are some safe and eco-friendly ways to handle bacon grease:

  1. Allow it to Solidify: After cooking bacon, let the grease cool and solidify in the pan or a heat-resistant container. Once solid, you can scrape it into a compost bin, trash bag, or store it for later use.

  2. Strain and Store: If you want to save bacon grease for future cooking, strain the cooled grease through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any bacon bits. Store it in an airtight container or a jar with a lid in the refrigerator. Properly stored, bacon grease can last for several weeks. If you do this often, you should consider getting a bacon grease container that makes straining and storing easy.

  3. Reuse in Cooking: Bacon grease adds a delicious flavor to various dishes. You can use it to sauté vegetables, fry eggs, or even add a smoky touch to your recipes. Just be mindful of using it in moderation due to its high saturated fat content.

  4. Compost: If your local compost facility accepts fats and oils, you can compost small amounts of cooled bacon grease along with other compostable materials.

  5. Freezing: Another option is to freeze small amounts of bacon grease in an ice cube tray. Once solidified, transfer the cubes to a sealed container and keep them in the freezer. This way, you can use small portions of bacon grease when needed.

  6. Dispose in Solid Waste: If none of the above options are available or appropriate, dispose of the cooled, solidified bacon grease in the regular solid waste/trash. Be sure to place it in a sealed container to prevent leakage.

Most importantly, it is essential not to pour bacon grease down the sink or toilet, as it can solidify in the pipes and cause blockages, leading to costly plumbing problems. 

What Is A Bacon Grease Container?

A bacon grease container is a specialized kitchen tool designed to safely and conveniently store bacon grease for later use or disposal. It is typically made of heat-resistant materials, such as ceramic, glass, or metal, to handle hot grease without melting or warping.  Many bacon grease containers have a built-in strainer or filter that separates the liquid grease from any bacon bits or solids, making the stored grease cleaner and ready for reuse in other recipes.