Bacon is most commonly cooked on the stovetop or in the oven. If you’re opting for the former, start with a cold pan with the bacon strips touching, but not overlapping. Set the burner on low and allow the bacon to slowly release its fat. As it begins to cook, use tongs to flip the strips and fry them on their opposite sides. Continue to flip and turn until the bacon is browned evenly. Let the cooked bacon drain by carefully placing them on paper towels or a newspaper.
To cook bacon in the oven, simply line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the bacon strips on its surface. If your baking sheet does not have grooved edges, be sure to fold the aluminum corners upwards to catch excess grease. Bake at 400°F for ten to 20 minutes (depending on your texture preference), remove, and place bacon strips on paper towels or a newspaper. The bacon will crisp as it cools.
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Pre-packaged bacon has an impressive shelf life, but not once it’s opened. While it’s best to freeze uncooked bacon, the slices can be tightly wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a ziploc bag for up to a week. The same storage technique should also be applied to fresh bacon purchased directly from the butcher.
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Next: How to Freeze Bacon
Bacon actually holds up quite well in the freezer, though its peak flavor quality will only last one to two months. To freeze, you may keep the bacon in its original packaging, but wrap around it with another layer of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Just be sure to keep your freezer at a consistent zero degrees for optimal freezing results.
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Pork fares best in the freezer if packaged with freezer-friendly materials like waxed paper, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic bags.
Wrap any meat tightly so that air does not escape and freeze at 0°F. Generally, fresh cuts of pork can last up to six months, while ground pork can last up to three.
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Pork is easiest to thaw when placed in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Small roasts will take three to five hours per pound, while larger roasts can take up to seven hours per pound. Thawing ground pork depends entirely on the thickness of its packaging.
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork, but its cooking time may take 50 percent longer. Frozen pork should not be cooked in a slow cooker.
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Sealed pork products can typically last in the fridge for two to four days, with ground pork having a slightly shorter shelf life at one to three. Ham or other smoked pork products like bacon can be stored for up to a week, though this only applies to products that aren’t vacuum sealed or prepared with preservatives. The latter can obviously last a lot longer.
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EQUIPMENT: small pot, large pot with lid, wooden spoon
In all mussels recipes, all you really have to do is make sure that the mussels, when served, are reasonably coated with the sauce and are sitting in a bowl, steaming hot. (And in case you haven’t been paying attention: If they don’t open all the way, don’t eat ’em.)
But let’s say the boss is coming over for dinner, or a photographic team from Gourmet magazine is on its way to chronicle your swinging lifestyle. You might want to get artsy—and burn your fingers: When you yank your mussels off the fire, instead of just dumping them into a bowl—or eating them right out of the pot (both perfectly acceptable, fun ways to go)—you can stick your tender paws into the pot and quickly pick the mussels out and arrange them in a shallow, heated serving bowl. Spreading each shell open slightly and resting each mussel upright in a sort of tight floral or concentric pattern, starting with the outer layer and working inward and upward, you can (if you don’t burn your fingers too badly) make a cookbook-ready money-shot of a presentation that will have your guests thinking you do this all the time.
Just do it quickly. And give the sauce left in the pot a good shot of heat before pouring it over your erotically gaping mussels. If you do this in a restaurant, you can whack the customer another $2.50 for the same dish. So it might be worth a try.