Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Rendering Lard

Lard, is it good, is it bad?  Well it just so happen it's not as bad for you as we've been told.  Pure lard has no trans fats and has half the amount of saturated fat of butter and is also high in Vitamin D. When I say pure lard I'm not talking about supermarket lard, I'm talking about home grown hog fat rendered into lard.  Lard that you purchase from a supermarket has chemicals and hydrogenated fats that are bad for you.  Another thing to think about with supermarket lard, pigs that are raised with antibiotics store antibiotics in their fat.  When you raise your own pigs you know what they eat.  I'm not saying you should live on Lard, everything in moderation.

Last year we raised up 2 hogs, when we had them processed I requested that they save the fat for me.  So it came in this large frozen hunk.  I weighed the hunk but can't for the life of me remember what it weighed.  I think it was around 10 to 12 pounds.

I thawed out the fat and chopped into about 1 inch squares.  Now that I've completed this process, I think next time I would run the fat through my grinder or cut into even smaller pieces but thinking the grinder is the way to go.
I think grinding the fat will cut down on the cook time.
Once cut into pieces I put it into my crock-pot with about 1/4 cup of water and turned the crock-pot on low.

Within a couple of hours you will start to see the fat turning into a liquid.  The trick to pearly white, unflavored lard is to cook it low and slow, yes it is time consuming but very much worth it!

I forgot to take a photo at this point in the process so I've borrowed this photo from mommypotamus blog, she has a very nice blog on rendering lard that I found very helpful.

Once your fat has cooked down to this stage you are ready to strain the fat but keep these nice little bits to make some cracklings, yum.

Pour the liquid through a cheese cloth right into your jars.  I put the jar lid on while the liquid was still very hot so that the lids would seal.  I keep mine in the pantry not in the refrigerator.  When I open a jar I do store it in the refrigerator.

This is what it looks like before it cools and hardens.
I know I told you to cook it low and slow, but to be honest, at the end of the day I was ready to pour that lard in the jar so I cranked up the crock-pot and finished it off.

Even though I rushed it in the end I still had pearly white lard.  It does have a tiny hint of pork flavor but it is amazing!!  I've not tried to make pie crust or pastries with it but it makes the best fried chicken, fried potatoes and stir fried vegetables are out of this world good!  
When finished I ended up with five half pint jars and two quart jars, I feel it was very much worth the effort.

To fry up the cracklings, just throw those brown bits of fat in a skillet, salt them and fry.  Be careful they will pop on you.  Marvelous!!
Have a great Day!