Frugal Fridays – Rationing Bacon

There are some things we all know to be true, even if they aren’t usually mentioned in public.

  • Women get snarky at certain times of the month.
  • Little boys don’t always hit the target in the bathroom.
  • Men are almost always up for nookie.
  • And medical bills for chronic illness often bankrupt families.

Add to that last one the cost of eating an organic, real food, allergy friendly diet, and you’ll realize that FPIES families are often not doing as well financially as they would be without FPIES complicating their lives.

It’s gettin’ real for the Summers family now, folks.

Finances haven’t been great for a long time, but we shuffled and juggled and kept things afloat, with one thing in the back of our minds: I would be returning to work.

I did. And it was a beautiful financial pressure-relief! But it was short-lived. Zac needs me at home now, so we have to face the reality that not only am I not earning money for the next 5 months, but I may not be able to return to work in February if things don’t improve for Zac substantially in that time.

So my mindset has finally completely shifted into “Depression-era” thinking.

My grandmother’s generation lived by the mantra:

Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do or Do Without.

On those lines, I decided to start my first ever feature: Frugal Fridays. I’ll share any useful, frugal ideas or tips that we use that might benefit other families.

After all, FPIES families struggle, but frankly, it’s not so great out there for average families, either.

So here’s my first Frugal Friday tip, and it involves BACON!

Frugal Fridays Bacon

So, you’re in the grocery store and you buy some bacon. It comes in a 1 pound package…but the serving size is something ridiculous, like “2 slices”. (Let’s ignore, for a moment, my personal belief that a “serving” of bacon is equal to “however much bacon is cooked”, of course!)

What happens when you get home?

You forget about the whole “bacon serving thing” and toss the entire package in the freezer. 

Then, when you want to eat bacon some morning, you have to thaw an entire package of bacon and cook it all (within a reasonable amount of time) to prevent spoilage.

Well, that’s what you do if you’re me.

Even worse, I’m usually just cooking bacon for one little person: my three-year-old. Much as he loves it, no child needs to eat a whole pound of bacon in a day!

Honestly, though, this idea only came about when I found a “safe” brand of bacon for Jed to trial…and the most economical way to buy it was a 3 pound package! No way was I going to either cook or waste 3 pounds of bacon!

This idea will be especially useful for those of you who make your own bacon; I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve read about the process. THAT is some serious  DIY, folks – you won’t want to just serve your bacon willy-nilly. Each slice will be the equivalent of a rare delectable that should be savored and lingered over. Yeah, not cookin’ up a pound of that for a single person!

SO…if you’d like to make your bacon last longer, serve appropriate serving sizes, and make your money count in the kitchen, simply make a bacon roll-up!

Start with your refrigerated bacon. Open the package all the way. Also get out a roll of freezer or parchment paper and unroll as much as you can while still fitting on your counter.

*You may recall I used wax paper for this originally. Turns out, it didn’t work very well on the unrolling end of things! So I changed my instructions to reflect the needed use of parchment or freezer paper instead.

Bacon on the left. Paper on the right. Ready to go!

Bacon on the left. Paper on the right. Ready to go!

Because I cook breakfast for Jed 7 days a week and only cook breakfast for my husband 3 days a week, I go one step further: I cut the bacon strips in half first.

Some days, this doesn't matter. He eats full sized equivalents anyway. It helps on occasion, though!

Some days, this doesn’t matter. He eats full sized equivalents anyway. It helps on occasion, though!

Then start laying your strips out on the paper. Leave a small edge of paper before your first strip.

Lovely little strips of delicious piggy!

Lovely little strips of delicious piggy!

When you’ve laid out as much bacon as will fit on the available paper, simply fold up the edge of the paper over the first strip like so…

Folding the starting edge.

Folding the starting edge.

And start rolling!

Rollin' up.

Rollin’ up.

Keep laying strips of bacon down and rolling over them as you go until you have no more bacon left. Instead, you’ll have a bacon roll-up!

Bacon Roll-up!

Bacon Roll-up!

I used a piece of freezer tape to hold the edge of my roll-up closed.

Stuck on you.

Stuck on you.

Then, since air is bad when freezing, I put the whole roll-up in a FREEZER Ziploc bag and sucked as much air out as I could. I’ve used regular Ziploc bags for freezing before, and the ones designed for the freezer really do make a difference in how long the food stays good. They’re worth it, so look for coupons!

Sucking the air out.

Sucking the air out.

Since I don’t have a fancy vacuum-sealer device, I use the highly technical approach of sealing the Ziploc as much as I can, sticking a straw down into the bag, zipping it closed up to the edge of the straw, and sucking until I think my lungs are going to explode. As soon as it seems mostly devoid of air, pinch the straw closed, pull it out and snap the last bit of Ziploc closed.

Then store the bacon roll-up in the freezer, and as you need bacon simply unroll the roll-up, peel off the small number of strips you need, re-seal and re-freeze the roll-up.

No need to thaw and cook 3 pounds of bacon at once any longer! Now you’ll be able to cook only what you need.

Good for the pocketbook, good for the waistline.

That’s a win-win, folks!

Oh, and if you want to make life really easy on yourself, when you go to cook that bacon?

DO IT IN THE OVEN.

Just sayin’.

So there’s my first frugal tip. If you have any frugal tips you use that you think others could benefit from, leave a comment!

Hope this helps!

__________

This post shared with:

Real Food Wednesdays, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Whole Food Wednesdays.

Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Frugal Fridays – Rationing Bacon

  1. Lori says:

    We ration our bacon too! Except I cook the whole package – yes,in the oven, then I freeze it. I take out one strip for each kid for breakfast or dinner, then microwave for 20 seconds. Works perfectly. Its a time saver as well as frugal.

  2. Jeshyr says:

    I freeze my strips in pairs and in separate freezer bags, which works fine as we usually cook enough for multiple adult serves. We reuse plastic bags often enough that it’s economic that way, and it seems more intuitive for paid carers – if I was doing the cooking myself I’d prefer to roll it up the way you have, but that only works if folks understand how do deal with the roll!

    I freeze all our meat and most of the bread in our house too, just reserving whatever fresh bread we’ll be able to eat before it goes stale. Things last a lot longer that way!! I wish I had more freezer space but my fridge is one I was given so there was no chance to pick one with a bigger freezer – beggers can’t be choosers!!

    • Carrie says:

      That’s a good thing to consider: if you have someone unfamiliar with your routines handling some situations in your house. Making it as easy as possible on them is important! Good thinking, Ricky!

      Do they have an Australian form of Craigslist? You might be able to find a second hand freezer for a steal that way. Just a thought for more freezer space.

      • Jeshyr says:

        It’s to my advantage to keep the helpers happy so they stick around, but also it’s easier on me if it’s easier on them so our interests happily coincide.

        There is an Australian Craigslist, as well as other stuff like freecycle, but I also have no space for another freezer so that’s not an option at this house at least. We have approximately 1000 square feet for the two of us, which would be fine generally but there’s a ton of disability equipment, two wheelchairs, etc. and not much built-in storage so it’s a bit squashy!

        • Carrie says:

          Good thinking on keeping the helpers happy. 🙂 I’m sure they enjoy taking care of you!

          Bummer on not having more space. I’ve been there before and it stinks. I wish Pinterest had been around when I was in squishier digs; I’ve seen so many awesome small-space storage solutions on there! My biggest problem is getting rid of stuff. I’m not a hoarder by any means, but I do have a hard time parting with perfectly good things that I *may* one day use. Makes for a cramped house no matter what my square footage may be. I’m getting tired of tripping over my own two feet, though, so we’re about to purge big time.

  3. We don’t eat bacon at our house – but I really like your method for preserving all sorts of single-serve foods! : )

Comments are love! Tell me what you're thinking!