By Robin Mather
Learn how to render lard, which is actually lower in saturated fat than butter and margarine.
An excellent kitchen skill to master is how to render lard. In this video, Senior Associate Editor Robin Mather of MOTHER EARTH NEWS will teach you how to do it. You’ll also learn how to package the lard after rendering for long-term storage. And if you know how to render lard, you also know how to render tallow from beef suet.
If you buy a full or half hog and have it specially butchered, be sure you ask the butcher to return the lard from your pig to you. In most cases, the butcher will also grind it for you, which makes it easier to render and makes the whole process speedier. You can expect about 15 pounds of lard from a half a hog, about 30 pounds from a whole one.
Lard has had a bad reputation for decades, but the reputation is misguided. Just after World War II, chemical companies began to market their hydrogenated vegetable oils and to do so, they cleverly crafted a bad reputation for lard.
In fact, lard is lower in saturated fat than butter and margarine. The lard from pastured pigs, in particular, is actually heart-healthy; it has a superior Omega 6: Omega 3 fatty acid ratio, which benefits heart health. You can feel good about returning lard from pastured pork to your diet. An excellent resource for learning more about lard is GRIT Magazine’s book, Lard: Cooking With Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient.
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Robin Mather is a senior associate editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and the author of The Feast Nearby, a collection of essays and recipes from her year of eating locally on $40 a week. In her spare time, she is a hand-spinner, knitter, weaver, homebrewer, cheese maker and avid cook who cures her own bacon. Find her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.