Lard!!! LARD!!! You may say… that’s what most people say when they hear we cook with lard. “Don’t you know that stuff ‘ll kill ya’!” “That’s what my mama cooked with back in the day.” “Your a nurse and you use saturated fats?” YES! YES I DO! And we LOVE it! AND it’s good for you! There are so many benefits to good healthy fats. I’m not going to discuss all the ins and outs in this post of what fats are good and bad, but I did post on it a few years ago back in the early days of the blog when I was writing a review of Nourishing Traditions. That post you can find here.
I will say, I do proudly use lard, but not just any lard. You can find Morrell lard at Wegmans, Shoppers and other groceries in the area, but that’s not the type I’m talking about. Lard, or pig fat from healthy pigs. Pigs that were allowed to roam and forage on their own and only had feed supplemented when needed. Pigs that weren’t fed GMO grains and kept penned up so they didn’t burn any of their fat. I get my leaf fat and back fat from Wiffletree Farms. Jesse is an awesome farmer who works super hard to supply the northern VA area with good, amazing, healthly foods. Free range chickens, pastured eggs, foraging pork and grass fed, grass finished beef. We’ve ordered a partial pig from him multiple times and are always so happy and pleased with the quality meat we get! Thanks Jesse for all your hard work to provide us with healthy food!
So on to rendering lard from back fat or leaf fat. Here is the secret…. it’s really easy.
Pretty much, just throw it in the pan. Cook )or melt really) on the lowest setting possible (so it doesn’t burn or splatter) Strain off the cracklings (I like to put these on salad or use in place of cooking that uses bacon, but it never makes it that far. My kids sneak them off the counter until the plate is empty. Let the fat cool and pour into containers. It should look creamy white once completely firm. The most important things to remember:
- As soon as the cracklings start to turn brown remove them and take the liquid fat off the heat so that it doesn’t burn. You can burn the fat and then it doesn’t taste nearly as good.
- Let it cool before pouring it into containers. If it’s too hot it can crack a glass jar or melt a plastic container.
- I keep a pint jar in the fridge and freeze the rest. It will store in the fridge indefinitely. My fridge space is just at a premium!
- It’s great for cooking eggs
- Adding to baked sweet potato fries so that the salt will stick when baking them.
- Fry fish, chicken or anything else for that matter.
- Great for using in making pie crusts and biscuits (not that we eat much of those anymore)
- I use it for greasing pans prior to baking muffins, quiche, pies, etc.
- Frying Krupuk a yummy shrimp cracker from Indonesia (will post on this another time)
- We use it for EVERYTHING… or so it seems!
Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you!