Cooking with Lard...Buying Pure Lard


I bake with lard almost exclusively, it makes flaky pie crust, perfect biscuits that are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, makes nice bread dough and can be used for frying (it has a high smoke point).  It is less saturated than butter; and gives better baking results.  If you want the butter flavor, half lard and half butter is a good choice.
We don't eat any fat in excess, but we think natural fats are better than highly-processed shortenings.  The percentage of saturated fat in non-hydrogenated natural fats are butter (63 percent), beef fat (50 percent) and pork lard (39 percent), according to the American Heart Association.
I always buy non-hydrogenated lard; if it’s hydrogenated you’d be better off buying shortening.  The hydrogenated lard is available on the shelf with the shortenings and oils; Don’t buy it!
Non-hydrogenated lard used to be available from our local meat processing locker plant, but their equipment caused problems and they decided not to replace it.  (Perhaps they couldn’t find it?)
My brother-in-law has made his own lard...an undertaking I'm not ready for!  But if you are, locker plants often sell the fat you need to render it  yourself.
Now I buy it at the nearest Amish grocery store, the Dutchman’s in Cantril, Iowa.  It’s located in the refrigerated section by the butter.  Two brands I have purchased there are Western’s Smokehouse in a 4 pound carton and John F. Martin and Sons in 2 pound cartons.  Western Smokehouse is a producer of jerky and meat snacks in Greentop, Missouri and John F. Martin is from Lancaster County, Pa, and produces bacon, ham, deli meats and the like.  Both appear to produce lard as a side product of their manufacturing operations; I couldn't find it on their website store. 
There are on-line non-hydrogenated lard products available; they are quite a bit more expensive than what I purchase at the Amish stores.
You may want to search for their stores in your area.
I paid $2.59 a pound for the Western Smokehouse lard a year ago, and $5.99 for 2 pounds of the John F. Martin lard last month.
Non-hydrogenated lard must be refrigerated; and for keeping it long term, it should be frozen.  I always keep 10 or 15# of it in the freezer  as we are 70 miles away from Cantril and only go a couple times a year.  I keep what I’m using in the refrigerator.  I keep some in a covered measuring cup in the refrigerator for daily use as it’s easier to handle than a big container.
I always substitute lard for shortening; I don't even have any shortening in my cupboard any more.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't looked for it, but to tell ya the truth.......I don't think I've seen it in the stores I shop.

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  2. I ask the butcher for the lard when we have a pig processed. I render my own lard, using a slow cooker so I don't need to watch as closely. I agree lard is best for pie crusts and biscuits.

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