cchiu, First you would need to get a pig carcess.
The best lard comes from around the kidneys (this is called flare)or leaf lard
It is pure white fat.
also Fat back which is in between the flesh and the skin makes a good lard. This is also easy to buy.
You want to make sure no skin or membrane remain (or at least as little as possible) Then soak the fat in cold water and then slowly render it on the stove.
Just courious, what do you plan to make with your home made lard?
I separate my lard into leaf lard (for pies) and other for frying.
put on med/low and cook until it is rendered, strain and pour into a container when cooled.
Tamales would be reg lard....leaf is SPECIAL.
Talk to a pig farmer, I can connect you (Call the Farmer's Union in Jeff City and ask Russ who can set you up with lard.) Make sure the butcher?processer understands what you want because there are very few requests for it these days and they don't mess with it much.
Best Fried chicken is fried in lard!!!!
What do you guys think of purchased lard (already rendered)? Living in a city with such a large mexican population, it is easy to find lard in just about every grocery store and supermarket in Chicago. I use it for making my tamales most of the time, and think it works great.
I haven't narrowed it down to any one thing. In my research, I've found that aside from the obvious applications for savory cooking, lard may be the best pastry of any grease for everything from vegetable pastries to light dessert pastries.
I saw a cooking show over the weekend and the chef was sharing a story of his son's friend who was over. The chef was going to make french fries. The boy looked at him in disbelief and said, "You can't do that!" The chef asked "Where do you think french fries come from?" The boy responded, "The freezer!"
It's a sad day when a majority of the children in this society have no clue as to the origin of foods. Everything comes in a box. What would people truly eat if they really knew what they were eating form those boxes? I'm all for saving time but sometimes it just seems ridiculous! Ready to eat pre-cooked bacon!? Just yesterday I saw individually shrinkwrapped plastic potatoes for $0.68 ea. It was promoting - cook your potato in the microwave!
Are we really that busy, are we that lazy, or are we that clueless? (that was a rhetorical question)
Back to the lard... I'm interested in eating well. Since most, if not all of the commercial lard is hydrogenated saturated fat which is even worse than saturated fat, I wanted to see we couldn't make our own. If I'm going to ingest fat, short of raising my own organically fed pig and butchering it myself, I'd like to [try] to know where what I'm eating is coming from and if that means a little extra work in research and time, that's fine because of the knowledge I've gained.
Besides nutrition, I've become intrigued by the history of how things were done "in the old days" and if nothing else, to at least do it once so I understand the process. If I'm going to use butter and lard at all in my cooking, I might as well make it myself so I know what's in it.
Butter is SO easy to make!
Thanks for the source! I've been reading up on leaf lard. I'll check around town first...
Pete, part of the reason I'm wanting to make homemade lard is because I want to avoid purchasing commercial lard which is "hydrogenated saturated fat" which is even worse for your body than "saturated fat".
LDL's are low density lipoproteins. They're bad for you because they deposit cholesterol onto the blood vessel wall. HDL's, high density lipoproteins, remove cholesterol from the walls and blood vessels - in a nutshell.
Desired are high levels of HDL's and low levels of LDL's. In and of themselves LDL's and HDL's aren't really cholesterol at all but rather molecules that transport cholesterol into and out of the blood vessels.
cchiu, thank you for that very informative post. It is for those very reasons that I refuse to use either margarine or shortening any longer. Once I read the processing required to make those products- blech.
There is a brand of non-hydrogenated lard. It is Morrell brand, it comes in a blue box, and in buckets I believe as well. Not all stores carry it though, instead they carry the Amor brand, which is partially hydrogenated. Double blech.
I would also be interested in finding a source for fresh lard (since I also can't raise a pig where I currently live!) Guess it's time to make some phone calls!
The best tasting foods I've ever made have had either lard or butter- mmm,mmm.
I just looked at the ingredient list for my block of lard and it did say hydrogenated. I never knew-I just figured that it wouldn't be hydrogenated. As for it's preparation, though I have never done it, I imagine it would be pretty much the same as rendering duck fat. You should be able to get fatback or leaf lard from from your local butcher, if not talk to a chef that you are friendly with and he will definately be able to get it from one of his meat purveyors. Next cut it into chunks, and put it into a pot with enough water to cover half way. The water keeps the fat, crackling, and meat from burning until the fat has rendered out. Allow to simmer until all the water has evaporated and all you are left with is the pure fat. Strain this and that is the pure lard. As a side note, take the leftover skin and meat, heat some of the lard up and fry these until golden and crispy. Cracklin's are great with just a little salt and tabasco sauce, but definately not for the weak of heart!!!
One of my favorite ways to use duck cracklin's is to fold them into mashed potatoes along with caramelized onions. I take slowly caramelized onions and infuse them into heavy cream, then use that and as much butter as I possibly can to make the mashed potatoes. Then I fold in the crispy crackin's. They don't really stay crispy but they do add great flavor, plus I really like to try to clog my arteries as fast as I can!!!!! So let's review, shall we? Potatoes whipped with heavy cream (fat) and lots of butter (fat) and fold in cracklin's (pieces of fat fried in fat). What is not to love about a dish like that?!!!!!!!!! LOL! :bounce: :lips:
In our state (neb) we have custom butchers. These are usually in smaller towns, but can be found in yellow pages as custom butchers. Some individuals that have pork butchered will not have their lard rendered by the butcher and the butcher may have that available for purchase. If you know individuals that do have their animals custom slaughtered, you could inquire if they have the fat rendered and if they don't you could ask that they give or let you buy it at the time. They usually do it up in 5 lb. buckets. I would think any meat market that slaughters their own animals would be a source of lard or suet.
As for using it, it's hard to have a failure with a pie crust with it. I agree with one of the responders, fried chicken is better with lard.
On other rendered fat that has not been mentioned is chicken fat. When I butchered my own chickens I saved and rendered the fat and used it for cookies. It has a special shortness that makes a tastier cookie than butter cookies. It has a much lower melting point so it blends with sugar and flour more readily than butter or margarine.
last weeks Food Programme was al about suet and lard, ranging from visiting an old fashioned british butchers to scientific thinking about different types of fat (trans-fatty vs saturated fatty acids etc, etc) . It'll only be available to listen to until Sunday as the BBC only keeps sound archives for a week. i don't know what the coming Sunday's programme is about.