Chewing the Fats

Lard and tallow are extremely stable, delicious and nutritious fats. Long lasting (in the fridge) and high smoke points (vs. olive oil) make these perfect cooking companions.

Unlike their monopolizing successors soybean, corn, cottonseed and canola oil. Their success is one to thank due to cheap manufacturing, the consequence of these genetically modified toxic impostors is they are typically rancid before they begin the cooking process (at homes and restaurants) and are being linked as true culprits behind America’s failing health.

Health Benefits of Lard & Tallow

One hundred years ago, lard and tallow were used for cooking in every American home and restaurant. They were the most commonplace cooking oils. And heart disease was unheard of. Now it’s our number one killer.

According to Sally Fallon Morell, the first recorded heart attack in America was in 1921 (Source: Local Forage). Just 10 years after Crisco (hydrogenated cottonseed oil) and 50 years after margarine (clarified vegetable fat) were introduced to the American people. Hmm… coincidence?

To read more about the history of cooking oil and disease in America, you can read The Oiling of America online.

There are many health benefits associated with eating lard and tallow. Too many to list here. To summarize very briefly, saturated fats like lard and tallow:

  • Enhance the immune system
  • Build and strengthen bones and teeth (preventing cavities and osteoporosis)
  • Provide energy and structural integrity to the cells
  • Protect the liver
  • Enhance the body’s use of essential fatty acids
  • Do not become rancid easily
  • Do not call upon the body’s reserves of antioxidants
  • Do not initiate cancer
  • Do not irritate the artery walls

Source: The Oiling of America

Why Render Your Own Lard & Tallow?

Maybe you’ve seen lard on the supermarket shelf. Couldn’t you just pick up a container of that? I don’t recommend it. Why? Because it’s partially hydrogenated, which means it’s full of trans fats, which are known to cause heart disease and cancer. Exactly what we are trying to avoid.

It’s also important to use the fat from animals on pasture — that lard at the supermarket is made from animals in confinement.

So look for fat, or suet, from animals that have been “grass-fed”, and buy suet from pigs who have been raised humanely outdoors. Remember, if the animals are not eating well and soaking up sunshine, they’re not going to have those valuable fat soluble vitamins stored in their fat. Which means you won’t get the health benefits listed above.

How To Render Lard & Tallow

There are three ways to do this. All of them work well. I happen to like the crock pot method the best. No open flame on the stove, and it’s nice on a hot day when you don’t want to heat up your house by running the oven. Best of all, you can set it and forget it.

How long does it take to render the fat? It depends on how big of a batch you are making. For about a pound of fat, it should take anywhere from 1-2 hours.

When you strain the fat, the liquid will be golden at first, but it will harden and the change to white (for lard) to a cream color (for tallow)

Equipment:

Cast iron or enamel pan or stockpot, or crockpot
Metal strainer
Coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth
Wide-mouth mason jars (make sure you use wide-mouth for tallow — it’s hard to get the tallow out of narrow jars)

Ingredients:
Grass-fed beef, lamb, bison or pork fat — also called suet, ground (I use a food processor to grind mine — you can use larger chunks of fat cut up by hand but it will take longer; sometimes the farmer will sell it to you pre-ground — for sources of grass-fed beef, bison, lamb and pork fat, see my resources page)
Water (1/2 cup per pound — optional)

Method 1: Stovetop

1. Place the pan on the stove.
2. Add the ground fat.
3. Add the water (optional).
4. Set the heat on the lowest possible setting. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally.
5. Cook until you’re left with mostly clear or golden liquid with bits of hardened stuff on top.
6. Remove from heat and strain into a mason jar through a metal strainer lined with a coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth.

Method 2: Oven

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Place the fat into the pan.
3. Add the water (optional).
4. Cook until you’re left with mostly clear or golden liquid with bits of hardened stuff on top.
5. Remove from heat and strain into a mason jar through a metal strainer lined with a coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth.

Method 3: Crockpot

1. Place the fat into the crockpot.
2. Add the water (optional).
3. Set the crock pot on low heat.
4. Cook until you’re left with mostly clear or golden liquid with bits of hardened stuff on top.
5. Remove from heat and strain into a mason jar through a metal strainer lined with a coffee filter, paper towel or cheesecloth.

This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.
via Cheese Slave 

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