Obviously not for vegetarians, vegans or non-pork eaters, this old fashioned animal fat (known as lard) is coming back into favor.
Pasture-raised lard is heat stable, heart healthy and high in Vitamin D.
It was once a staple in our grandparents’ homes but has been largely absent for over fifty years.
Now many are beginning to take note of its health benefits.
Why is lard making a comeback?
It is a good cooking oil because of its heat stability. The high amount of saturated fat in lard helps to protect the other fats from breaking down and oxidizing. When fats break down, they create free radicals, which cause cell damage. Lard is solid at room temperature which is why it makes an ideal cooking fat. Along with coconut oil, butter and even olive oil, lard produces a substantially less amount of aldehydes. Saturated fats are great for brain and immune system health while animal foods in general are high in vitamins.
It is said to be heart-healthy. The saturated fat in lard increases HDL cholesterol which is actually linked to a lower risk of heat disease while the cholesterol also aids the body in inflammation management and hormone production. Researchers from the Framington Hill Study found that those who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.
Lard has a neutral flavor so that it can be used in anything in place of vegetable oil.
Sustainable when derived from pasture-raised pigs. In fact, the lard sold at most supermarkets contain hydrogenized oils and should be avoided. Look instead for pasture-raised pork lard from a health food store, good grocery store or your local farmers market. It is usually to be found in a jar on a shelf in the baking aisle or online.
Just in case you want to use lard in pastry!
Here is pastry recipe handed down from generation to generation...
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup very cold lard
- Approximately 5 tablespoons of ice water.
: In a large bowl, use your hands to work the salted flour and lard together until the result is gravel-sized or pea-sized. Then spoon in the water one spoon at a time before using a fork to form a dough ball in the bowl (until it sticks easily together). Use floured hands to shape it into a firm ball and turn out onto a floured surface. Cut ball in half, one half slightly larger. Wrap larger half in waxed paper and put in freezer. Press and shape other half on floured surface into a flattened cirle before rolling with floured rolling pin to desired size. Fit across the base of pie pan or dish. Add the filling and then roll out the half from the freezer and cover the filling. Pinch edges together and make some slits in the top for the steam to escape.
Then bake as you would normally do and enjoy the result!