Yesterday we had dinner (the noon meal) at hubby's great Aunt and Uncle's house. It was a huge meal of pork roast, purple cabbage (new one for my kids, but they liked it), all sorts of other sides and pie, 3 kinds of pie and one cake. Half way through a very delicious piece of lemon meringue pie, I was informed that the reason the pie was so heavenly was the fact that the crust was made with lard. I guess I didn't think that lard was even used anymore. Then I got to hear about how there are very few places to even buy lard anymore. Uncle E had to travel 40 miles to a butcher shop that sells lard. All for a flaky delicious crust.
I found some info on lard and thought I would share.
Lard may not be as healthful as margarine, vegetable fats, or oils, but it remains in demand for cooks who want the flakiest pie crusts and most delicious biscuits. Because of its high smoke point, it is also a popular frying oil and flavoring behind traditional tamales.
Lard is made of rendered and clarified pork fat, which means high cholesterol content, but no trans fatty acids.
The quality of lard varies depending on the part of the pig from which it was rendered. The lowest grade is from the intestine area, while the best is from around the kidneys (called “leaf” lard). Any yield from along the back is nearly as good.
In some regions, lard is available either unprocessed or processed (for a longer shelf life).
In many countries, lard is readily available at any market. In the U.S. it may be more difficult to find. However, some grocery stores carry packaged pork fat, which can be rendered over heat and kept for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Canned lard, once opened, can become rancid if not tightly sealed, kept cool, and stored away from sunlight.
• Tough and dry meat cuts can be injected with strips of pork fat – called “lardons” - in a process called “larding.”
• Lard is sometimes stored in salt to retain quality and blanching may be required. Bring lard and water to a boil then quickly remove and place under running water until cool.
• Add to soups and stews or when boiling vegetables for rich flavor.
• Equal amounts of vegetable oil or shortening.
• Butter (for better flavor), increased by one-quarter of required amount.