Earlier this year the BBC published the list of the worlds 100 most nutritious foods. I was pleased to see that Pork fat ranked 8th on a list. (Almonds ranked number 1).
I try to eat foods that my gran would recognise and she would definitely recognise pork fat. If it was good enough for her its good enough for me , it is actually more than good for me it has benefits!
It is listed to:-
have a nutritional score of 74 - the higher the number, the more likely it will meet your daily nutritional needs.
containing "a good source of B vitamins and minerals"
be "more unsaturated and healthier than lamb or beef fat".
In addition, pork fat contains oleic acid with 60% monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated oleic acid has been found to be good for the heart, arteries and skin, and also helps to regulate hormones. As a comparison, butter contains 45% monounsaturated fat.
Lard has many uses from frying chips, pastry making & the best roast potatoes to making soap.
So how do we make lard? Its easier than you think.
All you need is some Cobblestone Farm Pastured Pork Fat (Leaf lard & fat trim) ground/chopped or diced small. (freezing makes it easier & you can chop it in a food processor)
If you over-cook it the lard will begin to brown and you’ll end up with lard that has a stronger porky flavour. It’s still completely usable for things like frying and sauteing, it’s just not ideal for making sweet pastries and pie crusts.
In its liquid state, the colour of the lard will be like lemonade. Once it cools and hardens it will become white.
Tips for Straining
Strain it through a colander to remove the cracklings. Then strain it again through 3 layers of cheesecloth to remove the remaining small bits and sediment.
It’s critical that you remove any bits of fat and gristle along with any tiny bits of sediment, otherwise, your lard will get mouldy.
Pure fat doesn’t grow mould, it goes rancid. So if there’s mould on it it’s because it wasn’t rendered long enough to remove all the water and/or it wasn’t strained properly. So be sure to properly strain it.
Let it sit undisturbed at room temperature until it has cooled down and is firm (it firms up pretty quickly).
Tips for storage -
Bread pans - I line with plastic wrap - then I have brick shaped lard
OR for pre-measured portions and easy clean up - Measure how much a muffin tin holds, line with muffin casings and pour lard in. This is my personal favourite
Place the fat in a slow cooker and set it to LOW.
It will take several hours. The cracklings will soon sink down and then rise up again.
When they rise again the lard is done.
Place fat in a heavy pot (cast iron Dutch ovens are perfect because they distribute heat evenly), and set it to “2”.
Once it begins melting set it to “1”.
Set oven to 200 degrees F
Place it in a Dutch oven or roasting tray don't put a lid on you need the moisture to evaporate.
I do mine this way and Strain as it melts.
What to do with the bits left behind - crispy cracklings! Transfer them to a frying pan and fry until they’re puffy and crispy. Seasoning. Add to salads or eat straight out of the pan if you don’t do salads!
RECIPES USING LARD
HOMEMADE BISQUICK MIX (BULK)
6 cup flour
1 cup Berkshire pork lard
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
Sift flour, baking powder and salt three times into a large bowl.
Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Store mixture in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 months.
Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz
QUICK POT PIE TOPPING
1 cup homemade Bisquick mix
½ cup milk
1 pastured egg
Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork - don’t over mix.
Pour on top of stew and bake for approx 30 mins until topping is golden brown
BISQUICK DUMPLING MIX
2 cup homemade Bisquick mix
⅔ cup milk
Mix together and drop blobs of dumpling mix into the stew
Cook on stove top for 10 mins the cover and cook for another 10 mins
Put in oven and cook uncovered for approx 20 mins
EASY POT PIE FROM LEFTOVER ROAST DINNER
Leftover meat, cubed or shredded
Leftover veg cut up to similar sizes
1 onion diced
Frozen veg of your choice if there isn’t enough from leftovers
Preheat oven to 400 F
Add meat, veg and gravy.
Mix together and put in a pie dish.
Make pot pie topping using homemade Bisquick (see recipe)
Pour mix on top of meat and veg
Cook for 30 - 40 mins until topping is golden brown.
HOT WATER CRUST PASTRY
This a pastry for traditional raised pies - Pork pies & Game pies
9 oz flour
To make the pastry - sift the flour into a bowl.
Pour 100ml water into a saucepan.
Add lard and salt
Bring to the boil and boil until lard has melted.
Gradually pour the lard and water mixture into the flour, mixing well with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
Knead it until it is smooth and pliable