How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

How To Render Lard

Well, after butchering a couple of pigs a few months ago, we ended up with a ridiculous amount of pork fat.

Time for rendering lard!

We had never actually done this, so lots of reading was done, and a few conversations with folks that had.

This didn’t seem all that complicated, so we dove in, so to speak

So far, the results are pretty good after one batch.  We’ve got several more batches to go.

The steps we followed were pretty straight forward.  Here’s what we did:

  • First, my gorgeous and very talented wife took a couple bags of the fat and cut them into thin strips.
  • Next she fed them into the meat grinder with a coarse screen to get things ground up nice and small for faster rendering.  Or so the theory went.
  • Then we dumped it into the crockpot on low, took it out to the mud room because it kinda smells … different.
  • Fast forward about eight hours and we ended up with nice dark cracklings (the leftover from the fat rendering) and a good liquid.
  • Before deciding it was done, I made sure that the lard had hit about 230 degrees.  Not sure how necessary that is, but I wanted to make sure all of the water was boiled off. Technically that means that if it was 213 degrees the water was gone, but what’s wrong with a little buffer?
  • Then I set up a strainer with cheesecloth in it over a nice pot and poured the rendered lard through it.
  • Our last step today was to cool this off.

Tomorrow we’ll put it in containers.  The plan of record is:

  • Heat up canning jars to prevent them from cracking.
  • Heat up the cooled lard back up to 250 degrees
  • Ladle it into the hot jars
  • Put lids on, and can in the pressure canner for 120 minutes at 15 lbs

Unfortunately I didn’t think to take pictures, so I’ll try to take some pictures of one of our next batches and update this post with them!

There’s quite a bit of debate about the safety of canning lard.  The USDA provides no guidance one way or another on it which doesn’t help much.  They’re pretty good about saying ‘Dont’ if it’s bad, so who knows.

Botulism spores die out at 250 degrees, which is one reason to reheat the lard that hot before canning.  Further, they require water to grow, which isn’t present in the lard.  Finally, processing in the pressure canner brings it BACK up to 250 degrees just for fun.  Not much chance of Botulism living through all of that.

What I do know is that it’s JUST fat, and if it goes rancid, we’ll know.  Further, folks keep uncanned lard for a very long time, and from what I understand canning lard used to be a normal thing.  In any case, you should use your judgement on whether you can it or not.

If you don’t can it, then it should store fine in a dark cool place for three to six months, or you can freeze it for a longer shelf life.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

6 Responses to How To Render Lard

  1. We render lard, too. Welcome to the club. I never can mine, just put it in quart jars and keep in it the icebox. The stuff lasts forever that way. If electricity wasn’t available I guess canning it would be the way to go. I generally render about a gallon at a time. That seems to be enough to last us a while. I keep the unrendered (is that a word?) fat in the freezer.

    We never buy any sort of shortening anymore. Once you’ve gone fat you’ll never go back. Especially after you fry that first fresh chicken up.

    • I have rendered lard several times and, like Tom, do about a gallon each time. I have two gallons in my fridge right now that are about 3-5 years old and no problems. I have some fat in the freezer waiting to be rendered just haven’t found the time.

      I never thought about doing it in the crock pot. I have always just done it on the stove and watched it carefully. I will have to try that.

      Happy Prepping!

  2. I’ve about 20# in the freezer from our last butchering waiting to be rendered. I usually pour hot lard into hot, sterile quart jars and they seal great. Keep them cool and they’ll be fine. Refrigerate after opening. I did have a small jelly jar go rancid but it was what wouldn’t fit in my quart jars and probably wasn’t hot enough by the time I jarred it and you can definitely smell it. The learning just never stops does it?

  3. I’m pretty sure something like a spring house would work to keep the lard cool enough so it wouldn’t go rancid, if your weather isn’t cold. I remember an old German folktale where they kept lard in a little covered clay pot?

  4. We render chicken fat. Obviously you won’t get anywhere near the amoun as from a pig but if we eat a whole chicken every other week we are provided with enough fat to tide us over. If you are boiling up a chicken for soup, when the pot cools the solid layer on top is the chicken fat. We will take that, plus skin, and boil it up in plain water to render the fat. It makes a good spread on sandwiches in place of mayonaisse.

  5. We render chicken fat. Obviously you won’t get anywhere near the amount as from a pig but if we eat a whole chicken every other week we are provided with enough fat to tide us over. If you are boiling up a chicken for soup, when the pot cools the solid layer on top is the chicken fat. We will take that, plus skin, and boil it up in plain water to render the fat. It makes a good spread on sandwiches in place of mayonaisse.