A little over a century ago; everyone used lard (Okay maybe not the Jewish communities). It was a homestead staple. I’ve even read books based in the late 1890s where they always had a barrel of lard on hand to store their meats/sausages (The Little Britches Series which I highly recommend). How could it go from being a staple to being frowned on? Read on my friends 🙂
When it costed less for industrialized companies to make vegetable based oils and shortenings… That’s when Lard developed a “bad rep.”Kind of like butter as well but that’s another story. Also, there was a fictional book about people being killed in vats of lard. Totally fictional but it put a bad taste in people’s mouths on lard. Even though these were natural products fresh off the farm… There was money in lard making because it was a byproduct for the pork industry, just extra moo-lah and need I say NATURAL once more?
Also, if you were unaware you body does require fats to survive. But with going diet trends of the past and even now people think, “You eat fat, you get fat.” Which can be true but it’s not like you’re picking up a stick of butter and eating it like a candy bar! This little idea pushed us into the “low fat” era. Think about this though, if you take the fat out and it still tastes good… Where you do you think that comes from? SUGAR. Then when people figured that out came “low fat and low sugar.” Surprise… Now it has aspartame in it and let’s not even broach that in this article. I’ll go on a rant. We’ll cover that some other post. For profits and not a care for people’s health big industrialized companies come up with this junk. Most people trust that if can buy it at the store, it’s safe for your health.
**Don’t forget to start looking into this for yourselves, you’ll be surprised at what you learn. Some companies are trustworthy, they seem to care about health but it seems far and few between so do you own digging to be aware and figure out what is good and what is bad.
Back to Lard
To understand all of this let’s go back to before the civil war– It all started with Crisco. I could cover how that came about by who, what, when, where but I feel like that’s covered. I’ll try to do a little summary for you and if you want to know more I’ll attach the links (Rise and Fall of Crisco and Ever Wonder Who Killed Lard and there’s always Wikipedia)
The basic is this: Two brothers (Proctor & Gamble) one a candle maker, the other a soap maker and they decided to tag team together. Lard and tallow controlled the prices set for candles/soap making. So they bought all the cottonseed mills because they had a German chemist who developed hydrogenation. The cottonseed oil became a solid liquid resembling lard. Being as society was leaning towards using electricity having candles wasn’t that necessary anymore so they thought they could market it as a food product. There’s quite a bit more but I’m going to leave it simple.
I personally never thought I would be using lard. Actually, I was raised on the Best Choice version of Crisco. That’s all my mom used. She didn’t know any different that it was full of trans fats and even if she did, I doubt she would have really cared. There’s a point when you meet people that know the difference and you wonder and have curiosity about the things they were taught (Yes, I’m referring to the husband) so you start listening and learning and researching… Then a few years pass-what do ya know you start a blog haha-But seriously, I also came into a family that had their own pork processed at the local butcher and then you acquire lard that needs to be rendered which leads me to the reason I decided to write this article…
For a couple of years, I’ve had the lard left over from the pig in my freezer and never did anything until I needed to clean the freezer out for more room and decided to just jump in. It’s actually fairly simple really.
You might be wondering what to use lard for… Baked goods, soap making, the best fried chicken you’ve ever had… The list is endless.
How to Render Lard (in a crock pot)
- Cut lard into pieces and cut any meat from it (In my case, the place I had it butchered cut into pieces for me which made things A LOT! easier)
- Put into crock pot with a little water (about 1/4 cup) to the bottom so it doesn’t burn lard before it becomes a liquid
- Let it cook until it’s liquid (Make sure it’s clear, if it’s not, it isn’t fully done)
- Strain lard, the leftover pieces are called cracklins which are similar to pork rinds but 10x better! (In my opinion)
So this next image I’m adding has a picture of a jar that I’m filling for of the liquid but… It isn’t quite clear enough and when my husband saw it he said it needs to be more clear to keep well and when it solidified… It wasn’t pure white and that’s what you’re really looking for. So here’s a don’t do what I did image for reference. Just let it cook longer.
And the extra bonus 🙂
Well… I hope this was hopeful. I might edit this article in the future about fats being good for us and what not. Maybe even stuff about hydrogenation. Let me know what you guys think!