Pork fat is traditionally rendered to make lard, a highly versatile product used for cooking, baking, pastry making, candle and soap making, and skin care products. A number of traditions also cook pork fat directly, not to mention adding it to pâtés and sausages, especially to give leaner meats a boost.
Lard is making a comeback in home use. Despite all of the negative press it got over the last 100 years or so, it turns out to be nowhere near as bad for our health as it was made out to be. It has less saturated fat, less cholesterol, and more unsaturated fat than butter. And unlike vegetable shortenings, it has zero transfat.
Because animal fats can concentrate environmental pollutants, we highly recommend using fats only from certified organic, pasture-raised animals like ours. Pastured pork fat also has other health benefits, like over 1000 IU of Vitamin D per tablespooon.
You can easily render your own lard. We suggest starting with 5 pounds of pork fat: cube it while frozen, simmer in a slowcooker with 2 cups of water on low for about 5 hours, stirring occasionally, then strain. It won’t be quite as shelf-stable as commercially produced lard – which is usually hydrogenated, with preservatives added – so it’s best to store it in the refrigerator, where it will last up to a year.
We sell our certified organic pork fat in 1-pound packets, shipped frozen to your door.