If someone told me a couple of months ago that I’d be writing a blog post on how to render your own lard, I’d say they’re crazy! Move over Crisco, there’s a new fat makin’ girl in tha house.
We are all familiar with this stuff, in fact, I have a container in the back of my fridge from a couple years ago – yes, time to toss it! Crisco is commonly used in pie crusts and other flaky baked goods, and claims to be “all vegetable shortening” but it is full of hydrogenated oils, GMO soybean oil and some other junk I can’t pronounce. We’ve become so accustomed to the fast paced world of “I need that now!”, that rendering lard has become a lost art and totally foreign to most people – including me – until now!
It might be hard to wrap your head around this seeing as most of us come from a fat-phobic world. I know I did before going keto, but pure, organic lard has many wonderful health benefits such as:
- High in Vitamin D
- A great source of monosaturated fats, the same fatty acids found in avocados and olive oil which has wonderful benefits to cardiovascular health
- Excellent fat for cooking and baking
- Cheap and easy to make
It’s funny how lard gets a bad rap. Contrary to popular belief, it will not clog your arteries. Clogged arteries come from eating a high inflammatory diet full of unhealthy fats (re: Crisco), excess carbohydrates and sugar.
Step 1 – Buying your fat
Lard is usually made from pork fat, and sometimes duck or goose. In this case, I used pork fat. It is key that you get your fat from your local butcher or pig farmer. It must be free of hormones, antibiotics and organic. You want the highest quality of fat from a healthy animal.
Ask for leaf fat, this makes the best lard. Leaf fat is the fat around the organs which has less pork flavour and makes glorious snow-white lard which is perfect for baking. Back fat is a second option if you can’t get your hands on leaf fat.
Cook on MEDIUM-LOW heat. This is a slow process, it took me about one hour total. Keep a close eye on it because you do not want to burn the fat as it will ruin the whole batch. Continue cooking and stirring the fat. After about 10-15 minutes you will see the liquid fat starting to form. You may also want to open a window or turn on your fan; some people find the smell unpleasant – I didn’t find it too overwhelming.Step 4 – Straining
As the liquid fat continues to form, it’s time to strain. I recommend you do this throughout the cooking process instead of at the end; that way if you do burn the fat it won’t ruin the whole batch. As soon as some fat begins to appear, spoon it out and strain through a mesh sieve or cheese cloth into a glass measuring cup or container. Continue this process until no more liquid fat is being rendered and the fat has turned to crispy bits. These crispy pieces are called lardons. Now, don’t throw them away! They are great to add to salads, omelettes, pasta sauces or simply sprinkle with salt and pop ’em in your mouth! Step 5 – Storing your lard
I strained the lard once more through a cheese cloth, then transferred it to a mason jar. You can store your lard in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 months and in the freezer for up to one year.There you have it! Glorious snow-white, organic lard. It really was a simple process. All it takes is a little bit of time 🙂