Since this year’s pig purchase is my first, this is my first experience receiving large quantities of fat in bags. Some of it I’m saving for making sausages, but yesterday I decided to render some of the fat into lard.
Lard has gotten a bad rap for a long time, but most of what deserves the bad rap is the hydrogenated stuff that is sold on shelves in grocery stores. Homesick Texan explains the bad stuff about shelf-stable lard, but also explains that lard is less evil than butter (less saturated fat, more monounsaturated fat). Given that the current wisdom that makes butter better for you than margarine, and lard is less bad than butter, bring on the home-rendered lard.
I’m looking forward to finding out what lard can do for a pastry crust. Stay tuned for more on that later.
Here’s my mise en place for rendering: Large pot, water, and pork fat.
First, I added some water to the bottom of the pot.
Then I added the pork fat, and lit the burner.
Note low flame. This is to prevent coloring/spattering/general mess-ups.
There was considerable crackling noise as the fat started to melt, and the water began to evaporate. The crackling noises got quieter as more and more of the fat melted, and the water evaporated. Here’s where I need a good ” more than 2 hours later ” image. I finally strained the liquid through cheesecloth into pint jars. When still liquid, there was a slightly yellow/amber shade, but once the liquid cooled, it turned white. I got about 6.5 pints of rendered lard from this big pile of fat. I’ve got two jars in my fridge, and the rest in my freezer. We’ll see how it works in cooking as the fall goes along.
Overall assessment- this is EASY to do, just time consuming. Much like many of my pork-related creations this summer.