Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tub of Lard

Or, rather, mason jars of lard. Today I finally got a chance to render down the pig fat that's been sitting in the refrigerator for a week. I've rendered small amounts of duck fat before, and lard is the same process. The fat is cut into small pieces and then simmered with enough water to cover. The water keeps the fat from sticking to the pan and burning while the first grease is rendered out. Eventually, the water evaporates off, but by that point there is enough liquid fat to keep the rest from sticking.

It took me about two hours to dice ten pounds of back fat into small cubes. It took three quarts of water to mostly cover the cubes in the pot. After eight hours of simmering (and lots of stirring), all of the water had evaporated, the fat was liquid, and a nice layer of cracklings had formed. Speaking of cracklings, I really need to get a mesh strainer that is larger than cup-sized. It took about an hour to strain the lard because I had to keep emptying the strainer.

The ten pounds of fat made exactly four quarts of lard. Here are seven of the pints, in my freezer. The eighth one is in the refrigerator to be used. Apparently, lard is supposed to be that golden color, not the white of grocery store lard. The one on the top, far right is the best example of the color. They are all the same, but some look darker because of the angle of the photo.

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