Eat Your Vitamins Part Two: Lard

If I told you that I eat lard everyday, would you be grossed out?

It’s okay. Lots of my friends are.

Since I went on this journey to holistic health and traditional food, I’ve heard my fair share of the phrase, “Good for youuuu.”

See what I mean?

Not many people in my area or in my age group understand why I eat lard.

That being said, some in the Paleo community do, and they order it from sites like this.

But let’s be real. Nobody’s having a successful time at marketing lard. Most Paleo people and those into “clean eating” would rather go for coconut oil. It’s familiar. Friendly, even. Everybody touts it, these days, including your coworker and maybe your mom.

I’d like to invite you to try something unfamiliar, for a change.

I promise it will be worth your time.

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I have a rule of thumb for fats:

If you can’t make it yourself, don’t use it.

Natural fats are the ones people have been able to make themselves for millennia.

This includes:

  • butter
  • ghee
  • lard
  • tallow
  • coconut oil

Aside from the coconut oil, I have made ALL of those at home in my kitchen, with very simple tools.

My great-great grandmother used a churn: I use a food processor.

My husband’s grandfather used a big kettle outside: I use a Crock-Pot.

See?

If you need a factory to make it edible (i.e. canola oil), don’t even think about eating it.

When rendered at home, lard can be one of the healthiest fats to use for cooking.

Did you know lard is one of the best sources on the planet for vitamin D?

I’m serious!

Most of us are vitamin D deficient in the U.S.

I took my own deficiency to mean that I needed to step on it with getting outdoors more and eating right.

Lard is one of the biggest helps I’ve had in getting back on track with this essential vitamin.

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Please, do not buy lard from a supermarket. The lard they sell in large green and white tubs is not the kind of lard that I am talking about. Commercially available lard is hydrogenated and processed. That is the kind of lard that can hurt you, not help you.

That being said, lard is incredibly easy to make at home. You just need a few things.

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Lard

1 lb. pork fat or pork “leaf fat” (a more delicately flavored fat)

1/4 cup filtered water

a Crock-Pot

Dice the pork fat into small cubes, if it is not diced already. Make sure to cut off any dark red pieces; you just want to be cooking the fat. My farmers sell well-cleaned, ready-to-go packages of pork fat, so I haven’t had to do this in awhile! Place the fat in the bottom of your Crock-Pot. Add the water, cover, and turn the Crock-Pot on low.

Checking and stirring every thirty minutes, let the pork fat melt down. Once you see a decent amount of melted fat, use a ladle to scoop out some of the liquid, straining it into a glass jar. Keep doing this incrementally, so that, in case your lard starts to brown and taste like bacon grease, you’ll have rescued a lot of the lard before that happens! You want an off-white end product that turns brilliantly white, once refrigerated. Once you’ve got every teeny bit of (clear) fat out of there that you can (about two to three hours in), let the remaining bits of fat get really brown on the bottom. These crispy bits of pork fat are known as cracklings. I like to scatter them over pizza! Lard can be kept in the refrigerator for months. Enjoy your hard earned healthy fat, my friend.

 

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