Rendering Lard

Becoming more food self-sufficient may include learning how to render lard.

Render Lard at Home

Can't beat pure, home-rendered lard.

Lori Dunn

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Did you know that pure lard has 36 percent less saturated fat than butter? Did you also know that pastry chefs and bakers have rediscovered the wonderful qualities of high-quality, organic lard? I understand that not everyone raises their own feeder pigs (but you will never buy pork again once you do). If you want to purchase locally produced pork, check Local Harvest for an organic farmer in your area. If you purchase a pig, ask to keep the backfat and render your own lard.

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Rendering Lard

When animals are fed antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides, there are residues in the fat of the animal in even higher concentrations than in the meat because fat is stored. As a result, when you do use commercial lard or shortening with animal fats, you are eating these high concentrations of additives.

Even when you buy cooking oils, unless you use only olive oil or peanut oil, you are using oil from genetically modified grains. In addition, the pesticides used on all of the grains appear in the oils, especially sunflower oil. The fats from highly processed oils are a lot less healthy than pure sources like olives, butter and pure fats. Making your own is simple, and you will love having a pure source for your cooking and baking needs. For more on rendering lard, see How to Render Lard. 

Either cut up hog fat into small pieces or use meat grinder to grind fat. Add fat to your slow cooker and turn on high. Cover and stir occasionally. After 2 to 3 hours, you will see clear liquid on top of cooking fat. This is lard.

Place muslin cloth or coffee filter in funnel. After majority of fat is dissolved, pour liquid through funnel to strain out any bits of fat that did not melt. Fill wide-mouth pint jars with melted lard up to bottom of band rings. Wipe jars with clean, damp paper towel; seal with boiled lid and tighten band fully.

Process in pressure canner at 12 pounds pressure for 20 minutes. Remove and place on towel until cool. If any jars do not seal properly, refrigerate and use. Do not reprocess.

After 2 to 3 days in cool, dark cabinet or pantry, lard will turn snow white and be ready to use for frying and baking. After using fresh, organic lard, you will never buy cooking oils or shortening again.