One GRITS Journey To Convert Beloved Southern Recipes to Paleo Approved, and Darn GOOD too!

This is my story of how I am striving to change my family's life, nutritionally, for the better. Here in the deep South Paleo is a foreign word. No one has heard of it, and gluten free is really almost as unheard of...
After reading Gary Taubes enlightning GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES I was determine to change! Armed with my own two hands, the internet (thank God for, and all those wonderful blogs and podcasts available now, I am beginning my journey.
Please feel free to join me as I try to adapt all of our Southern Favorites into Paleo Appropriate Scrumptiousness!!! (and all Gluten Free) I will try to post all of the good ones, and may even blog about some failures along the way.

20 March 2011

How to Render Lard

Lard- this is a fat that has gotten a bad rap!
But oh how southern an ingredient ya'll!

Historically Lard was probably the main fat used in baking and cooking in the south. You see cattle was not the norm here way back when. They had chickens and they had HOGS! And here in the south, they learned to use every bit of that Hog. So of course they used the fat around the innards ( LEAF LARD) and the fatback both for cooking!!!!  Butter was just not as common. And they didn't have all those oh so lovely hydrogenated oils of our day!

Lard is not a unhealthy fat people. If you buy in the can on the grocery store shelf, well then yeah, its bad- its hydrogenated for shelf life, but if you get it from your local butcher or farmer and render it down yourself- its wonderful cooking and baking fat. One of the healthiest choices out there- FOR REAL YA'LL!

* Lard is 40 percent saturated fat
* Lard contains 'a very respectable' 45 percent monounsaturated fat ( MUFA)- these are the fats that even  the doctors say are the best ones-

Now wait you are sayin... Thats a lot of fat!
In spite of the MUFA content of lard, the medical mainstream might swoon at the thought of 40 percent saturated fat. After all, saturated fats will kill you, right? They'll clog your arteries and stop your heart, correct?

Answers: No and No.

 SO go on - Eat your animal fats
****The conclusion of  much research of the history and politics behind the diet-heart hypothesis was that after 50 years of research, there was no evidence that a diet low in saturated fat prolongs life!!!!****

Yes you read that right- read it again-- NO EVIDENCE THAT A DIET LOW IN SATURATED FAT PROLONGS LIFE!!!!
 In one article by  US physician Dr William Campbell Douglass II- countless studies show that the MORE animal fats people eat, the better their heart health.
Need some proof from the real world? The African Masai, North American Eskimos, Japanese, Greeks, Okinawans, and our good friends the French all consume diets that are extremely high (by mainstream American standards) in saturated animal fats. Yet these people enjoy astonishingly low rates of heart disease, hypertension, and coronary events. FOR REAL YA'LL!
So don't fear the lard ya'll!!!!
 . Or - as Dr. Douglass puts it in his typically direct style: 'Eat your animal fats!'
Also read Gary Taubes book- GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES- thats what really convinced me.

Check out this post on LARD FACTS by Footstep Farms... It is a great summary!!!

So rendering Lard... Its a good thing!  (as martha would say)

How to render your own lard

Step one- Buy fat that is LOCAL if possible, but for sure from a PASTURED HOG-- its so much better for you ya'll!
 Caw Caw Creek Farm sells Fatback and Leaf Lard to render down.
The leaf lard is from around the animal's organs- its the best quality and you can use it in baking with NO pork taste...
The Fatback is great for savory applications, and its a tad cheaper. but both are rather inexpensive- I bought around 5 lbs of fat for less than $20.00 from Caw Caw locally yesterday at the All Fresh Farmers Market in Columbia,SC.

StepTwo- chop up the fat into small= pieces (if not already done)
Step Three- Add a 1/2 cup or so of water to a heavy bottomed pot ( I like to use my Le Crueset Dutch Oven, the white enamal inside lets me keep a better eye on the rendering process, but a stainless pot will work) and add in your fat.
Simmer on LOW heat for as long as needed to render your fat. Stir often, very often towards the end of the process.
At first it will go very slowly, the fat will start to melt into the water ( don't worry, by the end the water will all have evaporated off) and you will want to stir every so often...
Once you hear Popping start you now need to pay close close attention from here on out. Don't be scared, its supposed to pop- this is when the cracklins will start to form-( fried fat bits) and your rendering process is about done. Stir OFTEN, every few minutes from here on out.
At this point, when all the fat is melted and you have cracklins floatin' on top you are done if you are making LEAF LARD- you want it pure and no porkiness, so get out your strainer and strain it a few times till all your cracklins and sediment are cleared. Then put it in a glass jar and let sit till cool. Now you can place it in your fridg or freezer.

If you want to eat those cracklins you can put them back in with a small amount of the lard and fry them up till crisp- watch them they will go from good to too brown really fast-stir often!

If you are rendering fatback you can just let those cracklins keep cookin' till they are browned and crispy. (At this point they are usually sunk to the bottom of the pan)  Or for a more pure tastin lard, just do as above and take out as soon as its rendered- if you really let those cracklins cook a long time, you will get a faint pork taste to your lard...
I prefer to take it all out at the earlier stage myself, and then fry up the cracklins.

Lard keeps for 3 months in the fridg, or at least a year in the freezer. You can use it straight out of the freezer too, this may actually be the best application when using it in baking!

For the strainer- you can line it with cheesecloth or coffee filters to get a finer strain and get all the sediment out.
I tend to strain back and forth a few times, but I do that with anything that requires straining.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Print Friendly