Oh My Lard!

My go to fats that I use most frequently are coconut oil, olive oil, leftover bacon grease and rendered and skimmed chicken fat.

When you raise and process your own hog you end up with a lot of fat, which normally I just portion out in packages and freeze.  Sometimes I salt it, and sometimes I don’t.

This hog season I decided to try rendering down the fat into lard.

These pictures really don’t do it justice because you can’t see the actual snow white color of the lard.

There is absolutely no piggy smell to it, which just amazes me.

I’m so pleased with the results of our first time rendering lard.

lard5

It was so easy to do…

  • start with very cold fat
  • grind fat through meat grinder, or cut into small cubes
  • add 1/2 cup of cold water to your crock pot
  • put “cold” fat into a crock pot (no more than 1/2 the size that your crock pot will hold)
  • cook on low 1 to 2 hours depending on how your crock pot’s temperature runs
  • make sure to stir fat quite frequently
  • once you see all the fat melted and little beige/brown bits appear then strain the very hot fat through a fine colander.  Use caution here, it is hot.
  • Strain liquid fat again through cheese cloth then pour hot fat into jars for storage.

lard4

I’ve mentioned before one of my favorite blog sites is The Healthy Home Economist by Mary Enig.  She is also the author of Know Your Fats.  Here is some of what she writes about lard.

Lard is the second highest food source of vitamin D, after cod liver oil. One tablespoon of lard contains 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D. Also important, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it requires fatty acids – including saturated fatty acids – to be absorbed and utilized in the body. Lard provides the perfect package of vitamin D along with the required fatty acid cofactors.  Other food sources of vitamin D, including pastured egg yolks and liver, pale in comparison to the amount of vitamin D in lard.

There is a catch, however: only lard from pastured hogs contains vitamin D, since the pigs must have access to sunlight to synthesize the D and store it in their fatty tissues. Grocery store tubs or sticks of lard are from confined, antibiotic-laden pigs and should be avoided. Purchase your lard from a butcher or farmer who can tell you how the pigs are raised.

What are some examples of fats that don’t fit these guidelines? Canola oil, corn oil, fake butter, cooking spray and reduced-fat dairy products. Lard, however, was enjoyed by your ancestors thousands of years ago. My great-great-grandmother, a hard-working Danish woman who lived to the ripe old age of 107, grew up on copious dollops of lard, homemade sauerkraut and gallons of fresh milk from the family cow. You won’t see it advertised on TV, either, because large corporations won’t make money promoting the products of your local farmer.

I love learning and adding another homesteading skill to our know how toolbox.  I think back to my Grandmother and my great Uncle Jimmy and I believe they would enjoy knowing that their traditions and lifestyles are revered in a healthy light and becoming the lifestyles of later generations.

I believe it’s important for us to remember the traditions of our ancestors and get back to the old fashioned way, the right way, the sustainable way of life.

Till next time,

Lori

 

3 thoughts on “Oh My Lard!

  1. I love rendering farm raised lard as well as tallow. Both are sunny yellow as they melt then turn beautiful snow white. Such great gifts from our home raised and loved animal friends.

  2. Thank you for providing such easy-to-follow instructions for rendering lard! I have a lot of back fat (or fat back) in the freezer and was thinking I should render it but didn’t want to burn it (as I’ve done with suet a few times when I tried using the stovetop).

    I love lard.

    Just to be sure, after you render it the in the jars, you can keep it at room temp, right?

    1. I think the real trick is to get the fat cold and grind it down, putting it cold into the crock pot with a little water to keep it from burning. It honestly only took no more than 2 hours to completely render down. There is some controversy out there about storing lard, so you will need to make your own judgement call. I put my very hot liquid lard into my mason jars and put the lid on. The heat from the lard created a seal. Also, I store all my canned goods in our basement which is mostly underground and very cool, and even cold this time of year. I feel very confident in my storage process, however I will probably keep the “in use” opened jar in the fridge just for good measure. 🙂

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