Healthy Fats DIY: How to Render Lard


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Did you know that lard is a healthy fat? Unfortunately, a few decades ago canola oil started to be used as a substitute, but like bacon grease and real butter, lard is a great healthy fat to cook with. I had never cooked with lard until we bought half of a pig from a local farmer last year. My husband butchered it with a friend and we ended up with three large bags of pork fat in my freezer that I didn’t know what to do with. Luckily, a friend tipped me off that lard is really easy to render!

I used these instructions as a jumping off point and the result is beautiful, white lard that is divine for cooking (and makes for some delicious cracklins)!

To render lard from pork fat with my method, you’ll need:

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  1. Chop up the pork fat into small chunks (The smaller, the better. I should have chopped up my fat into smaller pieces than shown above.)
  2. Add a small amount of water to the slow cooker, about 1/4 cup.
  3. Turn the slow cooker to “low” and add the fat.
  4. Let the fat melt in the slow cooker. It will take at least a couple of hours. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  5. When a significant amount of the fat has melted, CAREFULLY pour it through the cheesecloth into the metal saucepan (here’s where the metal colander comes in handy). Return any solid pieces back to the slow cooker. Be very careful not to burn yourself!
  6. Continue cooking the remaining fat, repeating step 5 until all the fat is melted and all that remains are the cracklins that look like little pieces of bacon. Let them sizzle in the slow cooler until they’re nice and crisp. (I found that if I strained the melted fat every hour, the remaining solid pieces would melt more quickly.)
  7. Carefully transfer the rendered lard into mason jars. It solidifies when cool.

The process was far easier than I thought it would be and I felt like a bonafide Laura Ingalls Wilder in the kitchen! We’ve been using lard for almost everything lately! Granted, when we tried to use it to grease the griddle for pancakes the other day, they had a distinct flavor I might not want to repeat.

 


About the Author

Haley is a Catholic wife and mama of three little ones, ballet teacher, and lover of all things Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh, and Wendell Berry. Find her at Carrots for Michaelmas where she writes about urban homesteading, motherhood, literature, faith, homeschooling, and her undying love for bacon.

Comments

  1. So interesting. Thanks Stephanie, for keeping us up to date on healthy fats. I really enjoy your blog.

  2. Where do you get your pig fat? is it just cuttings from the meat you cook throughout the week??

    • We actually bought a whole pig from a local pig farmer and had several bags of fat in the freezer from when we butchered it. You can check with local farmers about just purchasing pork fat, though!

  3. How do you store the lard? Does it just keep in the jars in the pantry or do you have to keep in frig?

  4. This is intriguing to me. My husband is a hunter and often brings home a wild hog. Would this method work with a hog? If so, how do you store the lard? Should it keep in the refrigerator? How long will it last? Thank you so much!

    • Hmm, I’m not sure, Kathy, but I don’t see why not. I keep it in the fridge. I’m not sure exactly how long it will last, but I imagine a very long time like bacon grease.

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