|Leaf/pork lard on the left, |
chicken oil on the right
I do not know if anyone would be interested in this post. I am guessing that most likely, the pastry chefs and/or Americans who are conscious about food source and who are meat-lovers will be the ones finding this blog post most likely useful. With the current anti-cholesterol
However, for those who might be interested to read on articles by authorities in biochemistry (who obviously KNOW what they are talking about) that are not in any way biased/influenced by the (oil manufacturing) companies that provide funding for researches pertaining to such subjects, I highly suggest this link: http://www.health-report.co.uk/saturated_fats_health_benefits.htm.
I would like to demonstrate here how I canned my pork lard. Note that there is no such canning guidelines per USDA's official website on homecanning, and what I did here is based on some other blogger's how-to's and some ideas I got from reading ancient ways of traditional canning done by US farmers as early as 1912 (I downloaded a whole book free from google's library).
As my avid readers know, our family has stores of homegrown pork, grass-fed beef, and chickens (I am lucky that my MIL/FIL takes care of the chickens for us, and the grass-fed beef came from my SIL/BIL's herd of cattles). The freshly-slaughtered pork is hung in the slaughterhouse for a day or two (to drain blood fully), then we are called to give them specific instructions as to the cuts we like. On the day the pig is cut, they (or I, if not pressed for time) vacuum-pack the cuts. My MIL wants her fat back salted. I want it saved for making lard. I also save the leaf lard to render the best lard to use for baking pastries. This process is quite intensive, but I like doing it, because there is less processing compared to getting lard from grocery stores, I don't want to waste them, they taste better for me (I use pork lard for deep frying donuts and meats), I know exactly the source, and leaf lard just makes the best pie crust. And it is expensive to get them anywhere else.
I prepare the jars and sterilize them first by putting them on a baking pan (lasagna pan) sterilized in the oven at 180 deg F for 30 minutes (this totally dries them up so that my lard would not get mixed with water). I do the same to the lids.
Please note that I like using the wide mouth pint jars, because when I am ready to use the lard, I can easily use a spatula to get what I need. I have minimal lard remaining in the jar once I have used up all its content.
The cut then ground pork lard (or leaf lard; I do them separately) is placed in a wok cooked on low
heat, with occasional stirring to avoid sticking at the bottom and for even cooking. Then when the cracklings are no longer sticky, and the oil has bubbled, then cracklings start to sink, that's the time I scoop the oil out, pass through several layers of cheesecloth on top of a fine strainer, poured directly into the sterile jar. I then wipe the rim and immediately seal with a lid, leaving only 1/8 inch headspace. This hot oil will solidify when completely cooled, and in the process, contracts a lot, creating a vacuum that sucks in the lid. I minimize the air because it tens to oxidize the fat, which causes rancidity (maanta). Then once completely cooled, I check the seals by lifting by the lids without the bands. I then label them accordingly (either as leaf or pork, with the date) and keep in a cool, dark place.
For the pork cracklings themselves, at the end of oil rendering, these are still anemic and soft. I drain them further, then let them cool down. I then measure by 1/2 cups and place each cupful in a sandwich bag, squeeze out excess air, then tie, then all these bags of cracklings are placed in a big freezer ziploc bag that is vaccum sealed (I use the Ziploc vacuum sealer).
Now when I am ready to use the pork cracklings, I thaw a small bag, then stir fry this on medium until it gets aromatic and turns golden brown, flavoring it with garlic salt. Then I place on paper towel to get rid of excess oil. When cooled, I use this as topping for such things as palabok, lugaw, and ramen noodles. I don't cook more than what I will be able to use, because if I keep the unused pork cracklings in a closed jar, they get soft and rancid after several days (I tried that before...I ended up throwing them away).
As for the lard rendered that I use for deep frying or for pastry, if I am not able to use up a whole jar, I cover the top of the lard with cling wrap to minimize contact with air, thus preventing oxidation and rancidity. I then keep this in the fridge to further ensure freshness.