When we recently had a hog slaughtered, we asked the butcher to save as much of the fat as possible for us because I wanted to try to render the fat to make lard. My mom sent us home with this incredibly heavy three-legged cast iron pot that had a butane cooker made specifically to fit it! That way were were able to set up outside to do our work and not have any unpleasant smells inside. Jeff set up the equipment on our back deck and used a broken cardboard box under all to keep any grease from the wood. It was a very nice day...sunny, a little bit of a breeze and not too cool.
|Making up the first batch.|
I used a 2 quart Pyrex measuring cup to hold the melted fat. I first strained it through a mesh strainer lined with a flour sack.
Jeff cut the slightly frozen fat into smaller chunks so that it would cook down faster.
A large pan full of fat ready to go into the cooker.
Isn't that pretty ingenious? We were able to get all the fat cooked and in jars in less than two hours...and the house didn't get filled with odors, either!
After cooking down and ladling off the fat you are left with the cracklings. I left them in the pot until the last batch of lard was removed and then let all the cracklings cook down until very crisp. This batch was cooking down.....It was NOT done!
The little boys decided to build a little tent while we were busy working.
They came close a few times to see the process...it was a family affair as Jeff and Kaelan poured the lard into heated cannning jars in the kitchen while I tended to the pot.
Yum!! Our first taste of cracklings!! A little salt and they make a nice little snack. I think tonight's cornbread will have a sprinkling of cracklings mixed in.
And now we have 16 jars of lard to use in soapmaking and cooking this winter. No, my lard isn't white! That's because it was cooked up in an iron pot. Can't wait to test it out soon!
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