Monday, February 23, 2009

Rendering Lard

Just for the sake of self-dependency,we are going to, for a moment , side-step the health issue in this post. We are choosing to be on a tight budget right now, given the present economical conditions., so making do is "in".I had run out of bread at breakfast time ( I know .... should'a baked over the week-end, butI was involved in other things) and I decided that for lunch I would make chicken-rice soup, home-made of course, and biscuits; forgetting that I had also run out of Crisco last week. Then I remembered I had a small bucket of lard that I had bought as an ingredient in seed cakes for the birds.
Okay, so using lard once in a while isn't going to kill us. I made my biscuits, and they were wonderful. No.... no pictures. They were gone too fast. But it brought back the memory of learning to render lard (as in, make your own...)
The lard I made at the time was made from the hardest white fat of a hog. You need to cut it into small chunks , or if you have a meat grinder you can grind it up. Put it in an old kettle, to which you add water enough to cover the fat, and put it on to boil, stirring once in a while. This takes a few hours, depending on the size of the pieces and the amount you are working with. It needs to boil slowly until all fat is melted. Then put a cheese-cloth over another pot and strain the liquid through it. Place it somewhere cold , as out in your back porch in winter until it hardens. The fat will come to the top and the water and sediment will be on the bottom. You can pick off the resulting solid "lard" and store in a tightly covered container in a cool place.
Many good cooks and especially the Amish, still use lard today for flakey pie crusts and tender cookies, and ever so tender biscuits.

1 comment:

Kathleen from Eggs In My Pocket and Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Oh, I so agree about cooking with lard. Even though I use vegetable shortening for most baking, lard is the only thing that makes flour tortilias like they should be. Also, bacon grease flavors so many things. Blessings,Kathleen