Monday, January 12, 2009


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).
Buying Tips
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.
Storage Tips
Canned lard, once opened, can become rancid if not tightly sealed, kept cool, and stored away from sunlight.
Usage Tips
• 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.
Substitution Tips
• Equal amounts of vegetable oil or
Butter (for better flavor), increased by one-quarter of required amount.


Out in Them Sticks said...

that's so funny! my great aunt joyce made us some biscuits the other day and of course she said she used lard.

also, they have those little things called lardons in france. they use them on everything from sprinkling flavor onto a salad or using them to flavor up some chicken or soup (or whatever else) they are cookin' up.

i'm not a huge lard fan, but i love lardons. they are awesome. there is ham attached to the lardons. The fat renders into the meal adding a nice flavor and you are left with little ham meat bits of flavor too.

Wild Child said... local store has lard in 1 lb blocks kind of in the shape of butter packages. Maybe just not knowing where to find it in the store. Sometimes it is by the bacon/sausage section, sometimes I think I've seen it by the butter.

This article has a nice breakdown of lard's fats.

Honestly, the old ways probably were better than what we thought. We use butter in our cooking, just that we know we need to use moderation and exercise.

Sidhe said...

Bummer, I just took a hog to slaughter last week and one of the questions they asked was, "do you want the lard?"

Oh, now I see that I should have said, "Yes!