Sunday, January 20, 2008

Plant Oils Versus Lard

Notes and references

I bought a large bag of pork fat from my organic farmer so that I could have chemical free lard for my family. What will I use it for? Easy... stir fries, pan seasoning, deep frying and old-fashioned icing for my cakes and tea breads. (Is that last one a surprise? Well, true enough... it keeps better and hold better than a dairy based icing recipe will.)

The bag of fat pieces was about a foot in circumference and stood almost as high as my waist.

I got a big pot out, cut the pieces so that I could fit as much as possible into the pot, set the heat to medium and let it boil/simmer for a whole day. (Make sure there is no water content left or it might not set properly and will have a shorter shelf life.)

I used an old pillowcase to remove the chunks that would not boil out and any sediment.

(I bleached this pillowcase and keep it in my kitchen drawer under my cotton dish towels, using it for straining almost anything, deep frying lard, jellies, juices, etcetera. When done, I just throw it into my bin of cloths that need to be washed and/or sanitized - yes, I do use bleach for this - and then pop it right back into my dishtowel drawer.)

After pouring the hot lard (be careful!) into several glass casserole dishes with lids, I placed it outside on my back deck in the freezing cold temperature. I read that the faster it cools, the creamier the consistency. Truth be told though, I did wait for it to cool for a while before pouring. I thought that I'd be willing to risk less creaminess for safety (in case of spillage).

What I ended up with was smooth, beautiful, creamy lard, free of bht and any other toxins that are in store-bought, non-organic lard.

I sliced it into one pound blocks, keep one in the fridge and store the rest in the freezer. I'm good for the rest of the year now!