Sunday, April 15, 2012

Adventures in Lard Land

I made lard this weekend. Yep, lard.

Saturated fats have been demonized for years. I was scared of "artery-clogging-saturated-fat" for a long time. I think most of America was ... and still is. After watching Fat Head, digging through the research of Mike and Mary Dan Eades (that link is a good one, read it) and reading some of Gary Taube's work, I overcame my trepidation. More than that, actually. I embraced saturated fats in my diet.

So, I began buying lard at Walmart instead of Crisco or other synthetic "vegetable" oils ... until I learned that the lard sold at most stores is hydrogenated (which creates a trans-fat by product -- the exact thing I was trying to avoid). Being hydrogenated gives the lard a long shelf life, so I see why they do it. I just didn't want to eat it anymore.

So, I picked up some pre-ordered pig fat from a rancher from my local farmers market. All of his meat (chicken, beef and pork) is pasture raised and grass-fed and- finished. This means the animals graze all day in an open pasture and aren't fed grains, so their meat and fat is higher in omega-3 fats. (This is the good kind of fat). The fat in traditional grain-fed animals produces omega-6 fat, which is in abundance in our standard American diet and also why people take fish oil supplements (omega-3 supplements).

But enough of the context for why I did this. Here's what I did.

Picked up 5 lbs fat and brought it home:


Cut it up and plopped it in the crock pot:


I set the crock pot to low, and just let it do its thing (this takes a long time and a lot of attention. As the fat begins to render off, you have to remove it. I forgot to take a picture in the middle of the ladling process, so this is near the end of the first batch.)


I strained it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. (Those are my hunky boyfriend's hands there. He's great in the kitchen.)


Then I poured the strained fat into jars:




I let it cool down a bit, then put it in the fridge. The next morning, I had this!




I gave one pint to my dad, but had six total pints rendered from the five pounds of fat I purchased. I'm so happy it came out all snowy white. Apparently, it has a tendency to turn a darkish tan color if not rendered properly. If I ate wheat, this stuff would be ideal for baking.

Lard is the perfect fat for frying. Or deep frying. It's stable and holds up to high temperatures. I also plan on using some of it in the near future to make my first foray into making carnitas. :)

It will stay good in the fridge for about three months, or much longer in the freezer.

There you have it, folks. Lard.

To your good health,

Allison




3 comments:

  1. way cool thanks for the detailed information on how this is done! and good for you for doing it its will be well worth your efforts..!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I use my homemade lard all the time! :)

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  2. Home made things are always best and can never be replaced with anything else. i liked you post thanks for sharing the info with us..

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