Though originally rendered (essentially heating fats and separating the component parts) from the fat from hogs, or infrequently from cattle (called Suet), ducks or geese, lard was traditionally used in cooking, especially where a slightly meaty taste was desired, like in the crust for a savory pie or Cornish Pasty.
Today’s Lard is often a mixture of 100% pure animal fats made as a by-product of the meat industry that has a neutral odor and taste and produces the most wonderful baked goods. However, because it is pure fat with no water, Lard is not a good direct substitute for butter. Think of Lard as similar to vegetable Shortening, and you shouldn’t go far wrong. Read the labels when buying lard commercially. Many brands are likely to have been partially hydrogenated adding dangerous Trans Fatty Acids, but improving the shelf life.
Lard has some preservative properties that are harnessed to create a number of food products like Spain’s famous and delicious Iberico ham.
Store Lard in: Refrigerator, Freezer, or cool dark place like the pantry or cupboard.
Use Lard: Cold, at Room Temperatures or Melted
Uses: Deep Frying, Baking
Lard’s Fat Breakdown: 41% Saturated Fat, 47% Monounsaturated Fat, 2% Polyunsaturated Fat.
Lard’s Smoke Point: Approx. 370°F (188°C) but it can vary from 280 to 394°F (138 to 201°C) depending on the type of fat and the rendering process.
To Measure Lard: Using a rubber spatula or spoon, pack the lard into a DRY measuring cup so that the lard sits level with the graduated line representing the amount you need. For example for one cup, pack it into the dry measuring cup and level off the cup with a straight edge.