Monday, January 25, 2010

rendering fat into lard

Ok, WARNING - if you are a vegetarian this might gross you right out!
I have really been getting into making my own lard. It's great for making pastry and for cooking with. I have been lucky enough to get really good quality local fat that would otherwise be thrown out from John Nyman. All I have to do is render it and this is how I do it. The fat is frozen so you have to let it half thaw out. It's easiest to work with if it's only semi frozen. So, I cut the fat into 3/4 inch square chunks and put them in a pot on the stove on med/low heat. The chunks melt down but never disappear. The length of time this takes depends on how much fat you have. I think it took about 1/2 an hour for this batch. I strained everything through a paper coffee filter into glass jars and ended up with pure white lard. The chunks are called cracklings and we tasted them but thought they tasted too much like chunks of fat. Maybe there's a secret to preparing them to make them taste better - possibly lots of salt. I love having a jar of lard in the fridge - we will make it through the winter.

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