Rendering Lard
Crystal Miller

The last time we raised pigs I had the butcher save me all the pig fat. I wanted to render my own lard for cooking and for soap making. I found that rendering lard is very easy! Lard is a natural fat that is wonderful for baking and cooking. However I can not recommend store bought lard as they hydrogenate it in order to give it a longer shelf life. If you would like to read about what is wrong with hydrogenation then I highly recommend this article. If you do raise your own pigs or buy them directly from the farmer you may want to save some of the fat and try rendering your own lard.

Here are the instructions:

Cut the fat into small pieces. Put in a large pot (I use stainless steel) and put the pot on your burner. Turn on low and stir and let it slowly melt down. After it has melted there will be lots of bits that did not melt. I pour this melted fat and bits through a strainer into another pot or large bowl. Discard the bits and return the melted fat to the pot.

The fat will still be dark looking and have bits of grit floating around in it and not ready to use yet.

The next step is to add an equal amount of water to the fat.  This does not have to be an exact measurement, I just "eye it" and add what looks to about an equal amount. Bring this fat/water, mixture to a boil, reduce heat and let is simmer for about 20 minutes.

Put the pot somewhere to cool over night. In the morning the fat will have risen to the top and be firm and the water will be underneath along with a lot of the unappealing gritty fat bits.

Spoon out all the fat in the pot, put it in a clean pot, add an equal amount of water again, and bring it to a boil. Turn down, simmer for 20 minutes and let it cool down just as before.

At this point the lard should be nice and white looking. Take it out of the pan, discard the water. You can now use your lard or store it.  It will store for a little while in the fridge but for long term storage I would recommend that you put it in a container and freeze it.  I have read of people storing it empty coffee cans or plastic containers.  I store mine in zip lock type bags for use during the rest of the year.

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