Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Try It Tuesday: Rendering Lard

Yes, you read that correctly, I rendered LARD.

Why would I do such a thing? Well, I want to cut out shortening and vegetable oils. And since I don't believe in re-inventing the wheel, I'll just point you in the direction to an article that explains why lard is better than the "normal" options.

I've already replaced vegetable oil with coconut oil for baking, but many times that coconut taste just isn't appropriate for sauteing meats or veggies. And, since we can't use real butter due to our youngest's dairy allergy, I am hoping that home-rendered lard will give us the non-hydrogenated and non-transfat option I want, while boosting flavor for meats and veggies... all while giving us a much needed healthy dose of Vitamin D! Wow, sounds like lard is going to do a lot of good things for my family! :)

So on to my experiment of rendering lard at home:

1) I used fat back and cut it into small pieces (about 1" square). This particular slab of lard was salted (and not preserved with nitrates as far as I could tell). Next time, I will remove more of the salt than I did this time.

2) After about 2 - 3 hours on low, it had mostly melted except for the "cracklins". You know it's done when the cracklins fall to the bottom instead of float. I strained it with some cheesecloth inside a collander.

Here are the cracklins (which can be eaten this way, btw, or ground up with onions and peppers into a spread, or crushed and fed to birds, etc) :

And the hot, clear liquid part - it was reddish brown:

3) I let it cool for about 20 minutes and then put it in the fridge for a more rapid cooling. By morning, it was a yellowish-white.

There is more information on rendering lard at The Nourishing Gourmet. She discusses the difference between wet and dry rendering. In her example, she uses leaf lard instead of fat back (as I used).

I haven't actually done a taste test, yet. I'll save that for another "Try It Tuesday". {grin} One last note I should make for myslef, is to not make this right before company comes over. The house does fill with the smell of pork.

All in all, I am quite please with my little experiment and look forward to trying it out!

To check out what other new things people are trying, head over to Naturally Knocked Up:

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Nowheymama said...

Wow, Becky! I'm impressed. Are there any store-bought lards you've tried?

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

I haven't tried any store-bought lards. Most of the research I have done says that the lards in stores are just as hydrogenated as vegetable shortening. I've also read that you shouldn't purchase it unless it is refrigerated and I've never seen it refrigerated - it's always on the shelf next to the Crisco. :P

This was fun and easy, though. I'd definitely do it again! Hopefully the taste test will be more impressive than the rendering experience! :)

Chef Penny said...

WOW! I'm impressed! I may have to try my hand at it. Where did you buy the lard?

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

I bought it at Piggly Wiggly. There were two types there... one that looked like it came from a manufacturer (and labeled as nitrate/nitrite preserved) and then the one I purchased that looked like it had been packaged in the store. All I found on the label was salt and fat. :) I've also seen some at Publix, but didn't have time to take a close look at it.

Let me know if you give it a try!

Dana said...

Hi! You left a comment on my blog about mayo and ketchup. Haha. Thanks so much!!! I live in Tanzania, East Africa so I have a few limitations but your comment did help a lot! I can request things in care packages so I'll keep those things in mind. :)

I LOVE your blog - the title and the quotes - very nice! And you have beautiful children!! :)


Super B's Mom said...

Ok...I know this sounds nuts..but have you ever heard of putting lard on a severe diaper rash? An older woman I work with told me she'd used it on all her children (who are all in their 40's now). I told her I would've been willing to try it on B when he was little..b/c we couldn't find anything that helped. Who woulda thunk it, huh? :)

Nothing says the south quite like LARD. Just saying it makes me laugh. You rock!!!

Becky said...

I hadn't heard of that! How interesting... hopefully we won't have to try it out, though! LOL!

Alisa said...

That is brilliant Becky! I have never thought of doing that.