Lard is not a word which inspires culinary fantasies in most people’s minds these days, however it was not always the case. Up until the late 60’s lard was an important staple and a best friend in the kitchen used to make flaky pastries, crisp oven roast veggies and perfectly fried chicken. These days lard has been replaced in favour of vegetable oils, but with new science finding worrying implications of using these oils perhaps it is time we invited lard back into our kitchens?
Contrary to what most people think pork lard does not have a strong odour and if prepared well is snow white and odourless. Lard is also extremely healthy for cooking having less saturated fat than butter but enough to insulate the healthful monounsaturated fats from undergoing a harmful chemical change called oxidation. With a smoke point of 190C it is resistant to burning in the pan or oven.
Lard also provides a great immune system boost in winter as it is the second highest source of vitamin D. One tablespoon of lard contains 1,000 IU’s of Vitamin D which is enough to meet the average person’s recommend daily intake.
So with lard hard to come by at most supermarkets and even butchers, how do you get your hands on some of its goodness? Well the good news is you can make it in your very own kitchen from trimmed pork fat and rind.
STEPS TO PERFECT HOME MADE PORK LARD
- Take the rind and fat pieces and with a sharp knife slice away the rind from the fat. You can later crisp the rind in oil or in the oven to have as a tasty low carb treat. Cut the pork rind into 1cm cubes.
- Heat a large heavy based stock pot and add the fat cubes. Heat gently until the fat begins to melt. Once all the base of the pot of coated in liquid fat slowly turn up the heat. Be careful not to overheat and burn the fat. Continue heating for another two hours or more if required to completely render out
- The fat has finished rendering when the original cubes resemble small croutons called cracklins. Turn off the heat and cool before straining away the fat from the cracklins. Do not throw these away as they make a delicious garnish for salads, omelettes and are heavenly when heated with caramelized onion.
- Pour the lard into an air tight container before it has a chance to solidify. You can store the lard in the fridge for up to 3 months.