Lard has been used for centuries and has had many uses including lubrication, cooking and soap making to name just a few. At one point in history the lard industry was so big that the meat from pigs was secondary to the fat!
Lard contains monounsaturated fat in the form of oleic fatty acid, which is very healthy and great to use in almost any recipe that calls for fats.
Lard is an excellent fat to use for deep frying, baking, and pan cooking.
A pig has two types of fat: Leaf fat and back fat. Leaf fat is from the interior of the animal near the kidneys, and back fat is from the long centerline of the pig's back between the loin and skin.
If properly processed, lard will have a neutral flavor and will not impart a pork flavor to your dish.
After cod liver oil, lard is the second highest food source of Vitamin D! One tablespoon of lard contains 1,000 IUs of vitamin D. This only stands for pigs raised outdoors on pasture or raised in sunlight. Pigs store their vitamin D in their fatty tissues, which is then transferred to LARD.
See How To Render Lard below.
How to render lard.
Crockpot or roaster method
Heat crockpot or roaster on low.
Before adding lard add 1/4 cup of water to crockpot or roaster to prevent burning.
Fill with lard (preferably from pastured pigs) chopped into 1 inch cubes. Place lid on cooker.
Heat slowly until melted. Stirring occasionally.You will have solid particles of protein and connective tissue float to the top.
Skim off solid particles. (chickens LOVE them!) or make cracklings.
Pour melted lard through cheese cloth lined colander into canning jars.
Set aside to cool on counter or fridge.
Store in refrigerator or freezer. (if freezing in jars allow room for expansion and use wide mouth jars to prevent jars from breaking)
Rendered lard will keep for months.
Note: It is very important to source your lard from healthy pastured animals to avoid toxins stored in an animals fat stores.