My best friend Susan was able to get the very last 5 lbs. of leaf lard from the Carroll Farm-to-Table market stand before they went out of business this Memorial Weekend. (Their customers have been encouraged to shift their business to Mary’s Land, which I have posted as a new resource via the Resources tab).
To be honest, I thought it was going to be rendered leaf lard, but it was neatly-packaged fat from around the kidneys instead. As an Iowa girl and the founder of Lard Lovers, I am timid to admit that I had never rendered my own lard, but the occasion was upon me, so I plunged in.
Five pounds is a lot of raw leaf lard, so I cut about half of it into ½-inch slices (but I think I should have diced it into ¼-inch cubes) and added the pieces to a heavy-bottomed pan and put it on the lowest stove setting. I did not add any water, but I’ve since seen recipes that say adding water is good to cushion the liquid fat from burning. Next time. But on very low, I had no problems.
After about 8 hours, my first experience at rendering my own lard yielded about ¾ quart of beautiful white leaf lard and 2½ cups cracklings. When you are cutting up the raw lard, you will see that the fat is encased in a light pink membrane. When the lard melts, this membrane starts to brown and crackle in the bottom of the pan, thus the term “cracklings.” When you pour off the liquid lard, the cracklings are left in the bottom of the pan. My next task was to make my first batch of crackling biscuits… a recipe for which I have posted in the recipe section. Enjoy!
So great to see more and more organic lard in the stores like this one from Tendergrass Farms I found in Mom's Organic Market. Albeit these are organic stores, but so much change. Keep asking for organic lard!!
This is a picture of some of my collectible lard tins. I just love the colors...and boy I wish I had snapped up more of these when they were inexpensive. The prices on Ebay and elsewhere on the Internet are scary.
When I had them out to take this photo, I noticed there were two recipes on the back of the Iowana Decker Brand from Mason City, Iowa. I grew up very near to there. I have posted the recipe for biscuits in the recipe section.
For the past couple of years, I have been hoping to update the lard consumption chart posted on the Lard Lovers home page, but the annual lard consumption data provided by the US government has not been available since 2010. When I reached to Mark Ash, agricultural economist with the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS), he forwarded this statement put out to explain the absence of ERS updates (since 2011) to its per-capita food availability data series, which also applies to lard.
Due to the termination of select Census Bureau Current Industrial Reports (CIR) (http://www.census.gov/manufacturing/cir/index.html), added fats and oils (except butter), durum flour, and candy and other confectionery products have been discontinued for the 2011 update of the Food Availability Data System (FADS). In addition, per capita estimates for rice have been discontinued for 2011 because of an increase in the undetermined “residual” component. These data limitations mean that certain summary estimates in the three data series in the Food Availability Data System cannot be calculated for 2011 at this time, such as the totals for the grains group and the added fats and oils group for 2011 (for example, per capita daily amounts, calories, and Food Pattern Equivalents (i.e., servings) from the grains group). Additionally, the summary estimates or totals across all food groups cannot be calculated for 2011. These data limitations also mean that ERS cannot calculate these summary estimates for food loss at the retail and consumer levels in the United States in 2011. USDA is currently working to resolve these data issues.
So, although it's not very scientific, I am just going to assume that the trajectory of annual lard consumption is still on the upswing....especially since more people like you are asking for it and more farmers are selling it.
On the way back to DC from a boondoggle to southern Virginia, my friend Liz and I stopped at Belmont Butchery in the Carytown section of Richmond. Tanya (left) and Henry Cauthen weren't in their shop when we passed by, but I got some great lard, artisan bacon and sausages.
I don't think they ship lard, but this is a great resource if you live within a hour or two of Richmond. Make a day trip of visiting like we did. Learn more about the great butchery under Resources.
If you just received my broadcast email from the old Ning platform, welcome to the new Lard Lovers site.
I love the new recipe blog format that will allow everyone to search for recipes....and there are many other great features.
I do hope we can all stay in touch. As I upgrade my service with Weebly to a dedicated domain, I hope there will be some kind of integrated messaging system. If not, I will add some kind of button to sign up for Constant Contact messages from me.
I welcome comments...and will see them all and respond.
Text from a Chipotle carryout paper bag: !Viva la Revolution! Okay pigs, it's time for us to get together and start fixing this system. We see the way that our pig friends get treated at their factory farms, and it's time we fight so all pigs can have the same rights we have! NO more tight, confining pens! NO more antibiotics or non-vegetarian feed!!!!! WE CAN DO IT! Yours truly, el Pig. P.S. Clear your calendars for next months Talk-n-Trough mixer.....We want equality, and we want it NOW! On my Facebook page, someone already commented about Chipotle's choice of oils. Hey, why not use lard in the beans instead of bacon! Well, that's my 2 cents!