Like I said last week, we rendered out a bunch of lard. About half of the pig fat we had in the freezer, in fact. We had all of the rendered lard chilled down in a small stock pot.
My wife is heading out of town for the day tomorrow, so tonight we figured we’d can it up real quick. No problem, right?
Well, enter a comedy of errors and lack of foresight on our part.
The other day I had grabbed a box of jars out of the garage. A giant cardboard box still packed from the move, of course. So tonight while I got the pot with the chilled lard in it on the stove to warm up, my lovely wife dug out a bunch of wide mouth jars. These went into the dish washer to get washed since they were a bit dirty.
And here’s error one. We had been doing canning already after the move, but it was all standard mouth jars, not wide mouth. And so we assumed we had the lids handy, but didn’t actually verify it.
Soo … with the jars in the dishwasher and the lard on low on the stove top, we sat down to watch TV a bit, stirring the lard during commercial breaks. A little while later, we were about ready to go.
And that’s when we discovered we didn’t actually have any WIDE mouth lids on hand. They’re all in the garage in a box somewhere.
Well, I then spent a half an hour in the garage looking through the boxes that were not sufficiently labeled and found … nothing.
So off to Walmart I go … not my first choice, but it was 10pm and there wasn’t anywhere else that was open that would actually have the lids.
At this point my wife is getting tired and ready for bed, but she agrees to stay up until I get home with the lids. I’ll be on point to do the actual canning since I stay up late and write these posts for you guys at night.
Well, I get home and smell a distinct burnt porkey smell. That can’t be good. And that lard looks darker than it should.
Now where’s the thermometer so we can see how hot this is?
Well, one of our kids cleaned up the kitchen today. And now we can’t find the thermometer. Unfortunately way too common after we moved – Kids can’t seem to figure out where stuff goes.
Anyhow, ten minutes later we find it. And then find out that the lard is well above the smoke point, and is upwards of 395 degrees. Not sure how far above it since the thermometer doesn’t go higher than that.
So much for that batch.
- Make sure you have everything on hand BEFORE you start a big project.
- Make sure you know where your backup supplies are.
- Pay attention and don’t get too distracted by circumstances. I didn’t think that the lard would get THAT hot just on low.
- Communicate! My wife could have checked the temperature if I’d told her we were after a 250 degree lard, instead she was working on other stuff since she didn’t know.
- Take things slow … I’m glad we didn’t render ALL of our lard before canning, because now we still have more to go, even though we ruined this batch.