Lard...Better then "shortening" and you can make it yourself!!!
Now days there is a movement to get back to the “old ways.” People are saying “don’t eat it if your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food.” Well guess what? Your grandmother would not only recognize lard, but she knew how to use it!!! So why is it, when I mention lard, many people go screaming from it like the plague? Well maybe because the corporate world has done an amazing job making us believe that “shortening” is better for us…. But is it?
You see back in 1911, the product Crisco came onto the market. It was cheaper to produce and did not require refrigeration (which was rare back then.) It was “poor man’s lard.” But you see, it is high in trans fat *gasp* No!?!? Yes!!!! And it was originally invented to be used in soap making. Yup, you read that right. So why should you give lard at least a second look?
The fat in lard is mostly monounsaturated, which is healthier than saturated fat. And yes, there is saturated fat in lard, but it has a neutral effect on cholesterol. No really, do some research. Animal fat also aids in absorbing nutrients. And with a higher smoking point, well your food absorbs less grease when you fry with it. Not to mention it is amazing for baking with!!!
Now sure you might be willing to give lard a second glance, maybe even try some out the next time you make a pie crust. And while you could buy it in the store, it has most likely been pasteurized, homogenized and lord knows what else. So why not make your own lard? Don’t be scared…. keep reading….. it’s not hard to do!!!
Now we were lucky enough that the butcher saved some fat from the hog we had butchered. And I know, your about to say “But I don’t have a hog!!!” If you go in on half a hog (which is what we did) with a local farmer, you can ask for the fat or just go to your local butcher and ask to buy some pork fat, I am sure he has some laying around that isn’t going to be used in making sausage that he trimmed off and probably was planning to toss.
Now take your fat (cut up into one inch cubes) and throw them in your crock pot. We set ours on high, well because our crock pot sucks! LOL We also added a half of a cup of water to the bottom of the crock pot so everything was heat evenly. We stirred it occasionally and in about six hours we had liquid and crispy bits. We strained the liquid through cheesecloth into canning jars, popped on the lids (so they would seal) and left them on the counter to cool. TA DA we made lard. No really, it was that simple!!!
I am so excited by all the jars of beautiful white lard I now have. I want to make pies for no reason what so ever now, just so I can make a crust with lard. LOL And it is nice to know that I am using a pure product that I made, that wasn‘t originally invented to be a soap ingredient, that has nothing added to it….. just like grandma used to use.