As common as pork bacon is, most vegetarians ask, can you freeze turkey bacon alike to preserve it? This is the question we shall answer today, along with other turkey bacon-related queries. If you ever had doubts about preserving your turkey bacon, which differs from pork bacon, this is all the information you’d ever need to get it RIGHT.
What is Turkey Bacon?
Unlike pork bacon, some people primarily make turkey bacon from turkey meat. Some variants of turkey bacon have a little pork added in them to better bring out the bacon flavor. Apart from that, turkey bacon undergoes the exact cutting and curing process as pork bacon. In fact, if you haven’t enjoyed various types of bacon, you may not at first distinguish turkey bacon from pork bacon.
What is Turkey Bacon Made of?
Again, turkey bacon is not ‘cut’ like pork bacon. Instead of slicing, turkey meat is chopped and ground with the desired seasonings and preservatives. The turkey meat is often mixed (light, dark, and skin), unlike pork bacon, which comprises individual cuts. The ground meat is then pressed to form strips resembling bacon.
Some manufacturers go a step further by pressing the bacon in alternating light and dark meat regions to resemble actual bacon, especially the streaky bacon.
As stated earlier, some types of turkey bacon contain pork, but these come with labels for distinction. These types of bacon are also sometimes uncooked (unlike strictly poultry bacon), so you’ll need to cook them properly.
What’s The Taste of Turkey Bacon?
Adept bacon lovers will outrightly point out turkey bacon from a pool of various types of (pork) bacon. Except for the turkey bacon mixed with pieces of pork, turkey bacon lacks several aspects of authentic bacon.
First, there are two methods of making turkey bacon. One method uses finely chopped white and dark turkey meats mixed with seasonings and curing brine. This mixture has a consistency resembling that of a cake batter. When finally formed and sliced, the stripes resemble pork bacon. This type of turkey bacon will not ripple or buckle when pan-fried, unlike pork bacon.
The other type of turkey bacon is made from larger pieces of meat cut from the thighs. These pieces can be as long as two inches, and when placed in a brining solution, the salts act on the proteins, causing the pieces to bind into a single mass. This mass is then pressed and cut into slices. These slices look like Canadian bacon or ham.
The first type of turkey bacon tastes more like a sausage than like pork. Also, because of the low fat in turkey, the meat does not crisp when frying. As we all know, fat largely contributes to the flavor of any meat.
You could use more cooking oil to make the turkey bacon crispier, but it still won’t taste like bacon since that’s not pork fat.
Can You Freeze Turkey Bacon? How Long Can it Stay Frozen?
You can freeze turkey bacon. You should consume your frozen turkey bacon within six months if intact flavor and texture if you want the same flavor and texture.
Cooked and uncooked turkey bacon should be stored or frozen distinctly. Let’s see how you should go about each type of bacon.
Freezing Uncooked Turkey Bacon:
Before freezing, any turkey bacon needs to be wrapped in wax paper and placed inside a heavy-duty freezer bag. If you don’t have a freezer bag, use an airtight container. This method is ideal if you are sure that you will use the bacon all at once, so you don’t have to thaw all of it, take out a small portion and then freeze again.
- To freeze in individual smaller batches, just roll the bacon stripes into small coils. Uncooked bacon will often stick together and tear when you try to set the loops apart. To avoid this, pre-freeze the bacon coils over parchment paper placed over a pan. Don’t cover the pan.
- Let the coils sit in the freezer for about six hours or overnight. You can then pack the coils in an airtight container or freezer bag before tossing them into the freezer.
- It’s good to mark the date when you package the bacon, especially if you have several containers with bacon.
Turkey bacon package in this manner can last up to six months in the freezer without changing the texture or taste. Although frozen food is safe to consume for a long time, slow chemical changes still impact the taste and consistency.
If you plan to store the bacon in a fridge, seven days is the maximum it can last without going bad.
Freezing Cooked Turkey Bacon:
- If your bacon is hot, let it first cool down to room temperature. Pat it dry to rid of excess grease.
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Place a layer of bacon strips over the wax paper. Place another wax paper over the already laid bacon layer and place your remaining bacon if you have more bacon. Continue separating every layer with wax paper until all your bacon is stacked up in single layers.
- Place the last wax paper or plastic wrap over the topmost bacon layer.
- Place the bacon in the freezer (pre-freezing) for at least four hours, but don’t exceed eight hours.
- Place the whole bunch of pre-frozen bacon into a freezer bag.
- When you freeze the bacon, you need to label the food and write the date.
Cooked turkey bacon should not be frozen for more than 6 months, beyond which you can be sure it won’t taste as good as it tasted before storing it.
Tips to Freezing Turkey Bacon
Do you want the best of your frozen turkey bacon? Be sure to check the following tips:
- Before freezing bacon altogether, ensure you have a plan to use it all once thawed. It’s never a good idea to refreeze turkey bacon.
- Pre-freezing is always necessary to prevent the bacon from freezing as a single mass. This is necessary if you do not plan to use the bacon all at once.
- When freezing cooked bacon, place wax paper over every layer to prevent the bacon layers from sticking together. For uncooked bacon, the equivalent of this process is coiling the bacon stripes before pre-freezing. These steps reduce the thawing time, so you don’t have to wait for the whole package to thaw.
- The airtight container or freezer bag can be skipped, but only if you plan to freeze the bacon for a shorter time. Otherwise, the bag or container protects the bacon from freezer burns.
- Never thaw the bacon at room temperature. Bacon will go bad within two hours at room temperature. Always let it thaw in the fridge (overnight).
Nutrition Fact in Turkey Bacon
Some people will claim turkey bacon to be ‘healthier than bacon from pig meat, but there is still some risk. Before we come to that, let’s explore turkey bacon nutritional facts.
Typically, you will have at least two slices of bacon, whether turkey or pork. The two slices weigh approximately 16 grams.
So, for every 16 grams of turkey bacon, you consume:
- 60 calories,
- 4.2g fat,
- 328mg sodium,
- 0.7g fiber,
- 0.7g carbohydrates, and
- 4.8g protein
Consequently, 16 grams of pork bacon contain:
- 80 calories,
- 6.0g fat and
- 6.0g protein
In comparison, turkey bacon may seem a healthier option, but both are processed (cured) foods.
Turkey Bacon Recipes
There are countless turkey bacon recipes. Basically, you can include turkey bacon in any recipe that calls for bacon or any whose flavor doesn’t get lost in the strong bacon flavor. If you don’t have a recipe in mind, here are three you can start with:
1. Turkey bacon breakfast potatoes
This recipe serves two and is easy to make.
- 1-2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
- 2 pieces of turkey bacon
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 3-4 unpeeled golden potatoes
- Pepper (optional
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- For ease of chopping, freeze the two turkey bacon strips. It’s essential that you place them in the freezer before doing the rest of the prep work.
- Wash the unpeeled potatoes, dice them into medium square pieces and place them in a basin with water. The water prevents them from developing a hard brown surface.
- Turn the oven or stovetop flame on to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil into a skillet and place it over the heat. Ensure the oil spreads over the skillet surface.
- When the oil is sufficiently hot, drain the potatoes and add them to the skillet along with salt and pepper for seasoning.
- Cook the potatoes for 12 minutes while occasionally stirring until a uniform browning form.
- Chop up the bacon and add to the tomatoes. You may need to add a little more oil because turkey bacon doesn’t release any, unlike pork bacon. Continue cooking as you stir for five minutes.
- When the turkey bacon is well done, tune down the heat to medium-low. Add the minced garlic. You can add a little more salt and pepper and then toss.
- Cook further for 45-60 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- When serving, you’ll want to drizzle a little maple syrup and then cook for 45 seconds to caramelize the potatoes.
2. BLT cheese sandwich
This recipe makes a single sandwich.
- 2 slices bread with eggs
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 4 slices of turkey bacon (cooked)
- 1-2 slices of tomato
- 4 slices of cheese (cheddar, lacy Swiss)
- Butter one side of each of the two slices of bread. Stack the bread so that the buttered sides are together, and then put two slices of cheese on top. Add bacon and lacy Swiss cheese, then tomato, then more cheese. With the buttered side down, put it in a frypan over medium-high heat. Place a lid on and cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
- Tune down the heat to medium and flip the sandwich. Let it toast for two to three minutes, after which the bread should be golden crusty, and the cheese will have melted entirely. Since the sandwich is already hot by the time you flip, expect this second side to cook in lesser time.
- Split the sandwich in half and drip tomato sauce over it.
3. Bacon-Egg burger
This is a tasty breakfast twist that I’m sure you won’t stop making.
- 10 slices of turkey bacon
- 5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1.5 pounds of ground beef
- 3 eggs
- Molten butter
- One large onion, grated
- Olive oil, extra virgin, or cooking oil
- 3 hamburger buns
- 5 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 0.5 pounds sliced white cheddar
- Turn the oven to 400 degrees. Put the turkey bacon slices on a broiler pan or on a cooling rack sitting on top of an oven baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes and then pour syrup over the bacon. Let it cook for another 5-6 minutes until it is crispy.
- Place a cast-iron skillet in the oven and set the heat to medium-high. Meanwhile, put together the grated onion, the Worcestershire sauce, and the minced beef. Add salt and pepper to season or divide three or four patties depending on the size you desire. Smear these patties with extra virgin olive oil/vegetable oil and place them on the now hot pan. Flip the patties after about 3½ minutes; that’s 7 minutes for both sides until they’re crusty. Apply cheese over the crust, allow each side to cook further for 2 minutes, and then cast them aside.
- Preheat a clean pan and place some butter in it to melt. Beat the eggs over the buttered pans and fry to your liking. You can then sprinkle salt and pepper to season the egg and set them aside.
- Brown the buns over a grill or in a toaster.
- Top the buns with burger patties, eggs, turkey bacon, and finally another bun on top.
At this point, you have the answer to whether you can freeze turkey bacon. Feel free to store your turkey, cooked or uncooked, for up to six months without worrying over a deteriorating taste.
You can also try the three recipes above, or you can modify them to your liking. Should you come by a more thrilling turkey bacon recipe, share it with us in the comments section.
Rita C. Donnell (Jennifer) has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Readmore