Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rendering Lard

This weekend  was  cool  here. So we decided to go to the freezer take out one of the boxes of pork fat we got back from having two hogs processed. (Yes ask for your fat back.) It took us a while but we finally cut all this fat into little bitty pieces. It is easier when it is partialy frozen. You need to cut it up into the same size pieces. Then you take about a cup of water and put it in your pan. Cast Iron works best.  Place your fat pieces into the pan and turn on the heat. (Not on High) We did this in our cast iron dutch oven over a fire. It takes a while and you need to stir it. When the fat pieces turn light brown and shrink in size remove them from the lard and add more. Do this until you get the pot 3/4 full. Then remove about half the lard. (Do not throw those cracklings away.)

When you take the Cracklings out  place them on a sheet pan and crisp them up in the oven. When you take them out, cool them, and place them in a freezer bag and freeze them. We use them in corn bread, for snacks (yes I eat them occasionally warmed up on a sheet pan and then a little salt.) and some times I put them in a stir fry.

When you are done with your lard you need to store it in an air tight container. We have a large metal bucket with a lid called a lard stand. It should set up kind of firm and be white in color.  Now you have a wonderful fat to cook with, fry stuff, and use for any other thing you can think of. 

It has been proven that lard is better for you than butter and margarine. I am not saying just start using it at every meal. I use it sparingly. It is even better when you make it your self. It has no preservatives in it at all.

If you are not like us and do not raise pigs for your own meat you can ask your butcher for some fat. Our butcher always has it. They make sausage and ground pork. When we got ours from the butcher they threw in extra fat for us. I keep it around also for making deer sausage in the winter. You can never have to much pork fat in your freezer.

Another thing to do with pork fat is make lardo. I have never tried to make any so this will be my first time. I have it in the fridge right now. I got a recipe off of line. Now I have to wait 4 weeks to try it.  Hubby has already turned up his nose at it. Wesley, Rebekka and I are patiently waiting. We are looking for recipes that use it. We have never tried any and no one carries it around here.  I will keep every one posted on the progress.