Rendering lard, The good fat
Updated: 6 days ago
Another of today's projects... rendering lard. I have learned a lot of tips over the years in how to make it a better quality each time. Lard is so easy to do and is one of the best and easy to obtain sources of fat. It is a healthy fat and has many health benefits. It is quite a deception that was pulled on society which villainized lard and removed it from being used daily. There was an agenda and reason on how it got removed from being used as a common kitchen ingredient. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU WATCH THIS AND EDUCATE YOURSELF. Be your own advocate, speak with knowledge, not someone else's opinion. https://youtu.be/uJ0WJOQzrgg
Making your own lard is an amazing product. In my geographic location, it is about the only "oil/fat" that I can have access and glean myself. Even if you don't have your own pigs, lard is easy to purchase in the raw form through a farmer or butcher and for a very economical price. If possible, know the source and how it was grown and fed. Grassfed will be the best source as it also holds many other benefits, like high vitamin D levels. Here are some things that you may not know and will certainly go against most of what you have been taught concerning the medical or commercial information on lard. Lard is considered a stable fat and doesn't oxidize. Many of the store bought or processed fats that you buy, in any form, oxidize causing free radicles which in turn causes inflammation and cell damage in the body. Most disease in the body, stems from inflammation of some kind. Lard is a close second to olive oil and they have the same amount of monosaturated fats. It is a low-fat diet that causes high triglycerides and heart disease, but eating the right kinds of fats can offset the bad cholesterol (LDL) by adding the good cholesterol, HDL. Our bodies naturally need cholesterol to heal and cope with stress. It is also a main nutrient needed in brain health. When we restrict or prevent ALL cholesterol through a bad diet or medication, we are damaging our body's ability to operate and function optimally.
Lard can be used in baking and frying and is very versatile in application. It also can be used in soap, as a moisturizer or even candles and fuel for oil lamps. Lard is the best for seasoning cast iron pans.
When preparing to render down lard it is easiest if you work with it from a slightly frozen state. This makes it easier to handle and not squishy, which will be hard to handle to cut or grind. Next ... grind it with a meat grinder or cut it into small chunks. The more surface area you have, the faster it will melt down. By grinding the lard, it will provide your highest amount of finished product. At this point, you will want to put it on a very low heat to start it melting, then continue to melt, increasing the heat to a low/medium. You want to stir frequently and let it get to a "bubbling state" and continue to cook until all the bubbles start to become very small to almost no bubble happening. What the cooking process does is to render any other tissues and water out from the fat molecules. Any of these particles left in the lard, can cause it to go rancid quicker than it normally would. Your goal is to make it as pure as possible. Cooking it can be done in an oven or on the stove top, since I do large batches, I like to do it in an electric countertop oven. Once the bubbles stop or become very small it is time to strain and jar. I have found that if I first scoop out the tidbits with a metal slotted spoons or metal sieves, it works best. Then I add additional screening, like a paper milk strainer or strainer funnel over the jar and ladle in the hot oil. Fill the jar to the top to make the airspace smaller and lid tightly. This helps there to be the least amount of air that comes in contact with the oil as it stores. As the jar cools, it will seal. Store in a cool dark place. Fats are not a long storing, shelf stable product. This should last for about a year before starting to go rancid. You will know by the smell if it is starting to turn and each jar can last a different amount of time, so always test each jar before using.
Here are some precautionary tips that you need to be aware of when doing this job.
-Pay attention to your heat, always be safe and use a large enough pot for what you have. You never want it to be so full that it can bubble over.
-Always keep your attention on your cooking pot, especially if you are cooking over an open flame.
-Always remember this is an oil and is incredibly hot and will cause serious burns if spilled or splashed.
-*When looking into various recommendations for rendering I found that some recommended using a little water to start the melt... I do NOT recommend this as any moisture left in the finished product will cause your lard to go rancid fast...*.
The tidbits that you have strained out are delicious treats, just sprinkle with salt and enjoy. They also can be stored in the freezer and used in cooking or baking. I like to cook them down farther after gleaning the lard until they are super crispy and use them like a bacon bit on a tossed salad.
Thats it! Start honing your skill and at the same time make a great healthy choice for yourself and your family. Learn how to be self-sufficient and stock your pantry with what you have access to in your area. If you don't think you have access to any locally grown meat, start looking and making connections to learn how to get some.