Sunday, January 06, 2013

Rendering Lard

I pulled out my crockpot yesterday to render some lard.
This is 5 pounds of pig fat that our local cooperative just gave to me.  It's organic...
I had asked them if they sold I asked them what they did with their pig fat...some guy said he'd check...and came out with this bag and said I could have it.
I went to a workshop a couple of months ago with Lindsey...and we heard a gal named Jessica Prentice speak..and cook!  Jessica helped start a kitchen in Berkeley called 'Three Stone Hearth'.  She was talking about the benefits of using lard.
I looked for lard around here, but the only lard is by Armour and its full of preservatives and no telling what else...I wanted pure, organic lard.  Lindsey ordered me some earlier, and it's about 2/3 gone.

 Jessica talked about several ways to render lard...and this is her preferred way, so I tried it.  You cut the fat up into 1" squares...or you could have it ground up, which I didn't know until I had started cutting it.  
You put it in a crockpot with between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of water...according to how much fat you have.  Since I had 5 lbs, I put in a bit less than 1/2 cup.  This just helps it not to scorch before it starts melting.
I didn't use this...this is what I cut off of the fat...just pieces of pork.  I think I could have left some of it on, but I didn't.  In the end, the lard is this wouldn't have been left...
 Turning the crock pot on low, the directions said to cook for 4-5 hours and then take the lid off and cook another hour for all the water to evaporate.
This is after about 3 can see how much it's cooked down.  You can't see the liquid in the bottom, but it's there.
After a couple of more hours, it was time to strain it.  Luckily, I still had the cheesecloth here I Santa had put in Lindsey's stocking!  I put the cheesecloth over a strainer (a larger one would have been MUCH better...but I didn't have one) and start to pour the lard through to strain. 
Looks pretty gross, don't you think?  
It's wonder!
Here it is still in its liquid form and still warm...
Here's what I got out of the 5 lbs.  You can see the first jar is already starting to turn white...which they all did when they were cooled.  They also firm up.  
I'm still reading a lot about lard...the pros and cons...
but the verdict seems to be in favor of it...
at least for now.

I just realized...I should have put this on my cooking blog!
oh well...

1 comment:

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