What is lard exactly? The answer: pig fat.
Lard seems to have gone out of fashion somewhat which is a shame because it’s such a great fat to use in the kitchen. It has a high smoke point which makes it a very stable cook with and it melts more slowly than other fats such as butter ….also it tastes great! Yes I love lard!
Fats such as lard have received bad press over the years particularly as a result of the ‘Diet Heart Hypothesis’ after WW2 which held fats responsible for the increase in heart disease (it’s strange no-one thought the acute stress of being at war might have something to do with that). The irony is that when low fat diets became ‘the thing’ rates of heart disease went up even further as did mental health disorders. Did you know about 60% of your brain is made up of fat? We need some fat in our diet we just need to make sure it’s healthy fat that comes direct from nature such as butter, lard, nuts, seeds, eggs, oily fish etc.
You can make your own lard surprisingly easily, you just need to get hold of the raw ingredients from your local organic producer. I got my organic pig fat from the lovely Rob and Lizzie at Pitney Farm Shop.
You can use leaf or back fat, leaf fat is the higher grade I used a combination of the two. It’s really important to get organic pig fat, not only to ensure sound environmental and animal welfare but also because toxins are stored in the fat tissue of any animal (including humans) and organic tastes better!
The best way of making lard is in your slow cooker and wearing a pinney like this
Step One – cut the fat into little cubes and place in your slow cooker
Step Two – add 1 tablespoon of water to prevent it from burning and turn your slow cooker on a low heat
Step Three – keep checking the slow cooker to make sure the fat isn’t burning.
Step Four – It normally takes about 3 or 4 hours to make the whole batch in the slow cooker but you can pour some of the fat off during the process if you like
Step Five – Pour the liquid fat through some muslin cloth into glass kilner jars and leave to cool
Step Six – You can turn the fat pieces into yummy pork cracklings just fry them off in a pan until they go crispy and allow to cool
Two kilner jars of organic lard and a jar of pork cracklings much cheaper than one pack bought in the supermarket – frugal food at its best!