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:


FoodAllergyMom said...

That's amazing! and Emily can have pork. I so have to try this...someday.

Sarah said...

Love it! I rendered my own lard a few weeks ago and was so stinkin proud! :) We use it all the time and I lost my source. My husband was able to pick up some fat back from the farmer's market in NYC, so I rendered it in my crock pot over night on low. I ended up with 5 12 oz glass jars full. I was beaming! :)