Updated: Aug 28
Cooking. Baking. Adding. Applying. There are many different uses for lard.
Pasture raised pork comes from pigs that are raised the way God intended. They roam free in fields or woods, with access to natural forage and plenty of sunshine. In return this creates meat and fat that are rich in micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
For as long as I can remember fat has always had a bad rep! "Cut the fat off" to make this meat leaner and healthier. "Don't use animal fat because it causes heart and health problems." That's all wrong, EAT the fat, from healthy pasture raised animals!
Now I'm not saying to eat heaping spoonful's straight from the jar, but by all means use it to cook in place of those seed oils! It has added so much flavor to the dishes that I cook and I can definitely tell the difference.
How to Render Lard
Note: there are a few different ways to render lard, this is my preferred method.
Step 1: Soften the pig fat in the sink for about 1-3 hours. You are not completely thawing this fat out, as it will go bad when it gets too warm. You want cold fat, the outside to be soft and the inside to be semi-frozen.
Step 2: There are two options here:
- If you have a meat grinder (mine attaches to the kitchen aid) cut the fat into small enough chunks to fit in the grinder.
- If you do not have a grinder, cut the pieces of fat into small, small pieces. The smaller the pieces the faster the fat will render and more of the impurities (meat & gristle) will render down.
Step 3: Place cut fat in a stainless steel bowl or Dutch oven. In a preheated oven (175-180 degrees) place bowl & fat on the middle rack and let render for about 2-4 hours.
Step 4: After the fat has rendered down, you will have liquid and fat pieces still left in the bowl. If the fat has not started cooking (smelling like bacon & visible brown pieces) strain some of the liquid and render the fat down for another 30 minutes - 1 hour (don't overcook it or it will smell too much for baking).
Step 5: Strain the remaining liquid and store in mason jars. You will have a liquid that will turn to white, once it cools down. You can store the jars on the shelf or in the refrigerator.
Keep reading to learn a few different ways to use lard in the house, kitchen, and even on your body.
Different Ways to Use Lard
When it comes to cooking, lard is just as versatile as any other cooking oil. Not only can it replace cooking oils, it can replace fats such as butter in some baking recipes. I personally only use butter and lard when cooking these days.
For Thanksgiving this year I baked my first lard/butter pie crust and O.M.G. so good!! I don't think I will ever be able to use another pie crust. The pie crust was flaky and everyone's favorite word, moist. I know it's hard to imagine a moist pie crust, but there wasn't anything dry about it! Next on the to-try-list is to bake cookies using lard. From what I have read and seen, it makes the cookies softer and flavorful. Click the link for the Lard and Butter Pie Crust recipe.
Adding lard to different household items can help restore and protect them from damages that might occur. It is possible to restore a rusted cast iron skillet to its former glory with lard, enabling you to use it for the purpose of cooking again. Then add a little bit more lard to the skillet once you start cooking to flavor your food. Wood & leather can be protected with a lard and beeswax coat. Bring back the shine that the dining room table once had, before kids took over the house😉.
When it comes to applying lard, moisturizing with it on your face and body is a great natural alternative. I have never made lard to use as a moisturizer but I have bought it and I LOVE it. My current facial routine is a lard & beeswax moisturizer. It is a thicker, heavier moisturizer, so a little bit goes a long way. It's a great feeling knowing my facial moisturizer only has 2 NATURAL ingredients. Lard can also be used to make soaps. I hope to one day experiment and make soaps using lard from our pasture raised pigs. I have been told the soaps are great for cleaning dishes in the kitchen but also can be used in bathrooms for handwashing when an essential oil scent is added.
So whether you're baking up those chocolate chip cookies or trying to restore chapped feet, reach for the rendered lard as a healthy fat, that is nourishing you inside and out.
Let me know in the comments if you use lard and how?
From my family to yours,