I just tried rendering lard for the first time. The stuff I've read about rendering says the lard becomes solid under refrigeration, if not at room temperature. The stuff I have stays semi-liquid after DAYS in the fridge. One of the jars had a small amount of completely clear liquid at the top, while the rest was semi-liquid and completely white. The others didn't have the clear liquid. I only put in a tiny amount of water at the beginning of rendering -- an ounce, probably. I confess that I was impatient in the rendering and pressed down on the fat with the ladle to skim the melted fat. Maybe I pushed too hard? This morning I poured all the rendered lard in a ceramic casserole pan, and set it in the oven at 200 F for a couple hours to see if anything settled or rose. All became almost completely clear, with the slightest yellow tone to the liquid, same as it came out of the first rendering. Still cooling now, but I don't think it'll change. This is back fat from a biodynamically raised Tamworth -- I didn't want to waste the leaf lard on a first attempt. The fat was not ground, just cut small. I have more back fat to try again with, just seeing if anyone has suggestions, besides the obvious "be more patient!" HA! Gani
Intermountain (Cascades and Coast range) oak savannah, 550 - 600 ft elevation. USDA zone 7a. Arid summers, soggy winters
I render lard the same way I was tought by my Grandmother, either at very low-heat on the stove-top (for small amounts) or in the oven at a low temp. I have never added any amount of water when rendering lard.
I suspect the water will have to be simmered-off to get the lard to stiffen. I'd be interested to know how it works out for you.
I have not had that problem. Mine is soft even from the fridge, but at room temp does not flow. If I take a spoonful out the spoon shape remains. I started with small chunks and I did add some water to help get the heat to more of the surface of the fat without burning it. The water has to be completely boiled off. A thermometer should show over 212F If all else fails you might try adding just a little tallow (beef fat) which has a much higher freezing point. I don't know how well the two mix though as I have not experimented that much... I just keep the fat from cooking different meats to use for release in bread pans.
I have had that very same problem before. It was odorless and pale yellow and never did get hard and white. I kept it in the fridge and used it for frying. I also had some that separated into softer yellow fat and hard white fat. I separated them and used the soft stuff for frying and the hard stuff for baking. I had a butcher tell me that the reason for the soft fat is not enough fat from around the kidneys. That is the best lard fat. I don't know if it is true but it makes sense. Some people I know make different "lards" from the same hog. Frying fat from the fat back and "curing" fat from the belly They only use the hardest whitest fat for the stuff most people call lard.
"When there is no life in the soil it is just dirt."
I know this is a late post but in case someone's still watching, pastured lard has a completely different fatty acid profile than does regular lard so your biodiverse pork won't congeal, even in the refrigerator (where it must be kept). That's a good thing! If you want it to be hard at room temp, mix it with some pastured beef tallow one part beef, two to three parts lard. It will add enough saturated fat to set at room temp.
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