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Oct 7, 2011 08:58 AM

Duck fat

I am going to be doing some confit and want to reuse the fat. So the question is this. How many times can the fat be reheated and used is there a limit? Should I freeze it or is it ok to keep in the fridge. Will it make a difference if it is frozen and defrosted. I know with other foods this should not be done but was not sure with fat.

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  1. Ummm. I don't ever reuse my fat after having used it. My duck fat sits in the fridge and should be quite fine there for a few months. No need to freeze.

    1 Reply
    1. re: linguafood

      O.K., everyone. Time for your duck confit recipes. Heck, how's about all sorts of pates, terrines, etc. The holidays are coming up, after all.

    2. You can absolutely reuse frying oil, incld. duck fat.

      The biggest thing you have to guard against is rancidity.

      To prevent your oil from going rancid, follow these guidelines:

      - Strain it with cheesecloth or a strainer to catch any leftover food particles
      - Shake off excess batter from food before frying it.
      - Fry foods only at 190°C.
      - Turn off the heat after you are done cooking. Exposing oil to prolonged heat accelerates rancidity.
      - Don't mix different frying oils (e.g. duck fat and vegetable)
      - Store leftover oil in a cool, dark place.
      - Avoid using iron or cooper cookware for frying oil that is going to be reused. Copper and iron tend to accelerate rancidity.

      All of that said, the most times of frying I've gotten out of one batch oil is about 5 or 6 uses.

      Hope that helps and enjoy your duck fat.

      9 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        One thing to add, when duck fat used for confit is reused it does impart the flavours used in the prior confit.

        1. re: Scary Bill

          confit is typically only duck fat, salt, and duck, so there's not much to impart.

          1. re: sunshine842

            Yours may be that way, but its far more typical in my experience to dry cure the duck with various aromatics (shallot, thyme, clove, bay leaf, garlic, juniper, black pepper, etc.) rather than just salt. The process was developed to store meat before refrigeration, and strong seasoning helped mask rancidity and off flavors. Just like sausage.

            So, yes, leftover confit fat does impart a definite flavor to whatever you use it for -- which is a good thing

            1. re: rjbh20

              okay. French confit du canard, whether cryovaced, frozen, packed into a tin, or packed into a glass jar, is nothing more than salt, pepper, and duck fat.

              It's only full of aromatics if you pack it that way.

              But thanks for assuming that I have no idea of the history.

              1. re: sunshine842

                Perhaps in 19th century France duck/goose confit was prepared with salt only and mainly for the purpose of preservation, rather than form of preparation as it is today.

                And the fat was not for reuse or repurposing, rathe it was used as a preservation medium-remember it is now very salty.

                Most ( I do not know anyone or any place that does not) confit preparations today-even in France-see Larousse- use flavorings- as did many confit recipes in 19th century France), so yes I guess unless I'm reusing your duck fat, there would be flavourings, however in any event, the fat now contains a whole lot of salt, which should be accounted for in any future use.

                1. re: Scary Bill

                  No -- in 21st century France, I can show you any number of brands that preserve it with JUST salt, just as it's been done for generations -- and in any number of kinds of packaging.

                  EVERYBODY saves the fat from confit and uses it for potatoes, etc. All the time. French and non-French.

                  Really and for true...most confit in France is just salted. Honest. I buy it regularly and I read the labels. The giant tin in my pantry says cuisses de canard, gras de canard, sel.

                  That's all.

                  And it's ALWAYS been very salty - it's that whole preservation thing.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    I'm not 100% sure I want to dip my toe into this argument as I am not a food historian.

                    But, that said . . . . . I have had a few conversation about duck confit with a few well known french chefs. They have all instructed me to coat the duck with salt, pepper, bay, and thyme (a few garlic as well) in the fridge for 24-48 hours before actually confit-ing the duck.

                    So this could be a distinction between commercial "brands" practices and home/restaurant preparations.

                    There are plenty of "traditional" foods from around the world that also change from family to family or town to town (cassoulet in France comes to mind as one). I wonder if confit seasoning may be similar to those other hotly debated dishes as well. . . . . who knows.

                    It is good anyway as far as I'm concerned!

                    1. re: thimes

                      You CAN find confit that's prepared with ...whatever... up to and including one brand that includes pommes de terre Sarladaise (vile, vile stuff -- more overcooked nasty potatoes than confit, and more fat than both of them put sounded like a good idea at the time!). I buy most of my confit from small producers -- most of them are salt-only, too.

                      But most of it is just salt -- I'm guessing is that they're assuming you'll then season it for whatever you're using it in.

                2. re: sunshine842

                  Why, don't mention it. Always happy to help set things straight.

        2. Yes you can reuse your fat. I do confit a lot and do this regularly given how much fat is needed (though to be honest I have recently switched to doing my duck confit via sous vide and doing it that way only takes a few tablespoons per leg, so much more cost effective).

          The only thing you have to consider in reusing fat from duck confit is that the fat can get very salty over time. Duck confit is usually rubbed with a salt/spice mixture and even though that salt is washed away before cooking there is still a lot of surface salt that can get into your fat.

          I typically was able to use the same fat (if I hadn't added fresh fat) 3-4 times before it just was too salty for my taste. But now that I sous vide in just a few tablespoons, I use that fat to crisp the skin and there really isn't any to save anymore.

          I keep my fat in the freezer - just because - I have no idea if you "have" to or not. I would guess it would depend on how long you were keeping the fat. . . . .