Monday, July 18, 2016

Lard Love

In 2010 when we first started selling our Red Wattle pork to some of the coolest Chicago restaurants, our lives changed not just in the extra income (which was sweet) but in our knowledge of good and bad fats. Those chefs know stuff!

All through my nursing career it was ingrained in my head that fat is bad. The American Heart Associations propaganda is finally beginning to waver on this but still, for decades we Americans were sold a very bad bill of health: eat margarine, not butter, drink skim milk not whole and certainly not raw milk, avoid mayo and red meat, blah blah blah. And I, like so many others, was baking with Crisco, cooking with margarine, spraying some kind of petrol product in my cooking pans and gargling with corn oil. Yuck.

But over the last five years we've replaced all that crap with the good fats. We keep three here on the poor farm; butter, coconut oil and lard. Finally research is beginning to catch up with us good fat loving freaks, and admitting that some fats, like those from pasture raised animals, really is best.

 Some homesteaders swear by their home grown beef fat (tallow) but I prefer hog fat (lard). Like so much of the other tasks here, turning hog fat into the easier to deal with form of lard, is not difficult, it just takes time and a couple big crockpots.

When we take our hogs to the locker we always get the fat returned to us. It comes in long strips, frozen solid. When I want to make lard I let it partially thaw, and then cut into chunks. Thanks again to DIL Tab who recommended the Mercer brand of knives for my kitchen use. Love them!



The chunks are tossed into a crockpot set on low and then I just let it cook down. Over the next few hours the fat melts into a lovely cream color and gets very hot.


As more of the fat melts away, more lard is produced and you can add additional fat chunks if you'd like. Periodically I will scoop out the hot, melted lard and place in in a stainless steel bowl. When it's cool enough I'll then ladle into glass jars to keep in fridge, or plastic containers to freeze. I always keep a fresh jar of lard on my countertop for cooking. Doesn't everyone? I also set aside some to make soap, as soap made with lard is most excellent for making your own laundry soap. No, the soap is not greasy and in fact laundry soap made with lard does an excellent job of removing grease and oil stains. It's science man, I don't understand it. Go ask Sheldon.

After a few hours, what fat doesn't melt completely away, turns a dark crunchy brown and makes excellent snaking with some sea salt of course. Fat is very filling and keeps me from grabbing the carbs, always and forever my weakness.





28 comments:

  1. Growing up, my grandmother always had a container of lard. She used it for frying, and making pie crust. They ate pure, whole food on the farm and were skinny and healthy. -Jenn

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  2. Got Lard! OH YEAH :)
    Fried potatoes in lard, and then there are the cracklins.
    Leaf lard is the best for pie crusts.
    Glad you back to blogging, missed you.
    Cathy (in Pennsylvania)

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    1. hello you! Missed you too. Did you see I'm making soap again ? About time huh?

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  4. This was so interesting to read about. About homesteading and farming, I, like Jon Snow,"know nothing". So, lard is shelf stable, in that you can leave it on the counter? People leave butter on the counter, also. But, I worry. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hey Ann!! I remember my mom leaving lard in the fry pan and I was so grossed out by that but over the years as I've learned more about good fats and bad fats I am very comfortable using lard at room temp...IF it is our lard cause I know how it was made and processed. Store bought lard is rarely pure and I would only use that stuff to grease my skates...if I owned any, if I could still skate.

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  5. My mother still prefers lard for cooking but she grew up on the farm!! I prefer butter & olive oil to cook & beef tallow to commercial lard for soap making because lard makes the soap too 'soft'. When I had mechanic's' greasy clothes, I just grated some handmade soap into the old wringer washer on the back porch & filled it with hot water. Best stuff in the world for nasty clothing!!! And it not only got things clean & white without any bleach but made them soft too. Ahhhh, the good old days when things didn't creak, ache or burn . . . hahaha

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    1. Sharon, I love hearing about your soap! Send some pics sometime. For me and our lard, my bars are very hard. I suppose it all depends on what other oils you might use. My basic lard soap recipe is 13 oz of olive oil, 13 oz of lard, 3 oz castor oil and 3 oz almond oil.

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    2. Aha - there's the secret - I was making soap with 100% lard, too soft. 100% tallow works but a mixture of olive, coconut & almond is the best, I think. I don't usually care about the percentage of which oil except olive is about 70%, just the total amount which is in grams in Canada these days. This is why I sometimes cheat & buy a mixture in bulk at the Soap & Candle store. Ya gotta be a drug dealer to understand how to measure these days!!!

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  6. Lard also is great for good roast potatoes but here it is hard to find, you have to look at the Polish section in a supermarket to find it, I also use goose fat, and we mustn't forget that 'they' have now said eggs are fine and don't give you heart attacks.

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    1. Goose fat I have never used. Would love to try it. And yes those goofy government folk so closely tied to the drug folk loved telling us that eggs were bad, which if not free range, farm eggs, they sure can be, but REAL eggs are real good for us. We eat tons

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  7. Have you ever heard of fat bombs? I'd never heard of them before, until someone said to Google it. ;)

    I imagine the lard would be good for making savoury fat bombs. As a semi sweet variety, I like this recipe, as it uses coconut:

    http://ketodietapp.com/Blog/post/2014/07/01/Keto-Coconut-Fat-Bombs

    Because I'm not into sweeteners, I omit the artificial sweetener. I think it tastes nice without it. The concept behind a fat bomb however, is to satiate hunger with fat, instead of reaching for carbs. Individuals might be able to eat a packet of Oreo's and feel hungry an hour later, but I defy anyone to be able to eat more than four small fat bombs in a day. The next one they reach for, will feel like its over the top.

    I'm glad to see people rendering their own lard though, if they have access to it. Makes use of more of the animal, than throwing it away.

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    1. Years ago, in 2000, I went on the Atkins diet and lost 100 pounds. Yup I was really really fat. I've kept off 50 of that but carbs are still my weakness. On my good days when I'm eating lots of proteins, fats and veggies, I feel wonderful. It's a process this weight think. Keith is the same weight he was in HS...slender...he eats EVERYTHING so yes some genetics involved, some pure laziness on my part. I'm going to check out the fat bomb stuff now. THANKS

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    2. Dan calls doughnuts "fat bombs." But these definitely sound better!

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  8. OK, I have fat envy. Really. I have to settle for avocado, coconut and olive oil. All the 'lard' on the market is 'partially hydrogenated'. I wonder, though. while you use the fresh wholesome lard for wonderful foody stuff, I am a little shocked you use the cracklin's for (your words) "excellent snaking". Really? Snaking? Is that what the well-lit writers are calling it now. *smirk*

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    1. Yeah, "snaking" it means to shove fat particles in your mouth with a chaser of salt whereas "snacking" is the common folk practice of eating Little Debbie cakes followed by a wholesome glass of Diet Coke. And now I must refer you to my writing blog where I clearly state that my spelling is questionable and my grammar sucks. I am a creative writer not an English major. I basically make up sh@# !

      P.S. I will be really sad if you ever stop following my blog, so don't even think about ti, I mean, it.

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    2. Donna - I sent you an email about your writing blog.

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  9. I have that same white crockpot! LOL Well said about the fats. Those are the ones we keep here as well.

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    1. I use two crockpots Leigh. The white one is for soap making and therefore lard making for soap. Then I have a much bigger red one to make lard for our cooking needs. Fats Rock. The right kind anyway.

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  10. Yes, the UK government is slowly and sneakily doing a u-turn on the health advice they have been giving out for years.

    It's strange that since we were turned into a nation (2 nations) eating no more than 2 eggs a week and spreading fake low fat spreads on our bread and having low fat and high sugar everything possible we have put on more weight and have a much higher risk of diabetes than ever before.

    I read that putting a tub of low fat spread out for the birds to eat will show you how fake it is - they won't touch it. So I tried .... it's true!!

    I now only use full fat products with real fats and eat as many of our home produced eggs as I can incorporate into meals, alongside the homegrown vegetables and fruit and it feels so much better.

    Thanks for the lard information, once we have pigs again I think I will be asking for the fat back, it's always just vanished before, in fact once we sent a pig for slaughter that was very overweight and they charged us a premium for getting rid of the fat :-(

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    1. WHAT!?!?! They charged YOU extra when some smart cookie probably took all that great stuff home? I am appalled. March back there and demand your fat right now. The nerve of some processors!

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  11. Long Live Lard i say. I grew up with a "dripping pot" in the kitchen and it made great fry ups and baked veggies. Now its a spray from a can, trimmed steak, even the rind gets cut off the bacon (sacrilege if you ask me) as i cook for two fussy city dwellers. So are they thin? Nope, large as.

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    1. I know. I was at my heaviest when I drank tons of Diet Coke and ate "fat-free" processed food. I did a lot of damage the first 40 years of my life but if I keep going the way I am I'll look smashing in my linen death wrap. (See my next post)

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  12. Another lard lass here. I also fell victim to believing the low-fat pundits and faithfully followed the low-fat, high carb diet, which led to my becoming fat.

    Eating in a more ketogenic way works best for my body, though like you, the siren song of starchy carbs is hard for me to ignore.

    the first couple times I rendered fat, the heating element was too hot, so I scorched things a bit. The birds still loved the cracklings, and then I tried one. After that, I was willing to share some but not give all away.

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  13. We are a small farm and asked for the fat from our pigs and lambs from the processor. Now what to do with it? Have you ever sold it?

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  14. My son had a pig butchered and gave me what is supposed to be leaf lard. I cooked it down but there is all this big, chunky brown stuff. I cooked it for several hours and never got to looking like cracklins. Do you know what I did wrong? I cooked it at 250 in the oven.

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