How to Properly Dispose of Grease and Oil
If you have a habit of preparing delicious meals, you are probably cooking with some kind of fat. And regardless of whether you cook eggs in olive oil, grilled on beef fat fries or chicken nuggets , you find yourself a certain amount of the remaining cooking oil that you want to repurpose, reuse or discard. …
Never empty it down the drain
Before we talk about what you can do with used vegetable oil, let’s talk about what should not be done under any circumstances. Pouring any fat into the sink is strictly prohibited. Even if fat is liquid at room temperature, it can clog your pipes and destroy your personal or nearby plumbing system, creating back-up sinks or, even more annoyingly, flooding basements with sewage. Don’t do it, that’s what I say.
In fact, fat should be protected
I don’t dump fat or fat unless absolutely necessary. If you’re cooking fatty meats that require a lot of rendering, you’ll want to save, not discard, the delicious plum. If you plan on using it pretty soon (straight away or after a couple of days), you can pour the bacon grease directly from the skillet into a jar or pan for future frying. Unless you have immediate plans for the smoked, salted fat, strain it through a sieve and coffee filter to remove any pieces of meat and store in the refrigerator, then add some as needed to make scrambled eggs, salad dressing, or delicious. mayonnaise .
You can also do this with chicken, duck, and goose lard, as Schmalz and his hilarious cousins are truly a game changer in cooking. In fact, if you find you have poultry remains, you must process these babies for a delicious, greasy taste. (Plus you get the crackle, and the crackle is pure joy.)
You can clean it up
Most cooking oils cannot be used on a one-time basis and can be refined – even liquid foods used in deep-fat frying. If straining – even through a coffee filter – isn’t enough, you can use unflavored gelatin to get rid of any putrid bullshit. Food Lab recommends half a glass of water and a teaspoon of powdered gelatin for every liter of lukewarm, dirty oil. Add the gelatin to the water, then let it turn red for a few minutes before bringing to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin dissolves. Add the dissolved gelatin to the butter, then stir vigorously before covering and refrigerating overnight. The oil will float to the top, leaving the dirt in a neat little disk.
If you just have to get rid of it
If your oil is too thick to be economical, or you just don’t want to spoil it anymore, there are some very easy ways to get it out of the kitchen. First, you will need a special collection vessel. This could be an old coffee can, a plastic bottle, or a milk carton. Pour the oil or grease into a container, close it and discard it in the trash. If you want to be less wasteful, do a quick search to see if your city has a vegetable oil recycling program and take your greasy trash to the drop-off site. Just, please, out of love for food, don’t pour it down any drain. Only jerkily drain the oil down the drain.
This story was originally published in October 2019 and updated on November 6, 2020.