Lard is the white fat of a pig, melted down to produce cooking fat. The best lard is made from the fat inside the ribs, around the abdomen, and from the kidney. Most commercially made lard uses fat taken from all parts of the animal.

To prepare lard, cut the fat into very small squares and place in a large heavy bottomed saucepan with 4 fluid ounces water to each pound of lard.

Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the little pieces of fat are golden brown and crisp and the liquid is clear and gives off no steam.

Strain through a fine strainer into sterilized heatproof glass jars, filling them right to the top (the fat contracts as it cools).

Do not cover the jars until the lard is quite cool. Then cover with waxed paper or aluminium foil and tie with string.

Stored in a cool, dry place, lard will keep for several months.

Pure lard is excellent for deep-frying because it can be heated to a high temperature before it burns.

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