Don’t fear the lard. Just the thought of fat grosses most people out. Artery clogging animal fat; YUK! But don’t fear the fat IF it is from pastured pork! Don’t be brainwashed by the big food corporations that want to sell you their fake fats with long shelf lives that will destroy your health. For an in depth explanation on this check out this article: http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/skinny-on-fats#benefits Please read this VERY excellent article on lard and fats: http://footstepsfarm.com/footstepsfarmblog/2009/11/lard-facts-again.html The fact is lard from pastured pork is very healthy, high in Omega 3 and vitamin D. It’s about 40% saturated, 48% monounsaturated. Lard comes from pastured pork. tallow comes from ruminants such as grass fed cattle. To render lard, one would just heat it gently. This separates the fat from the protein strands. (Cracklins YUM!). At the end of this article I will discuss fats in more depth. We did our first ever lard rendering the day after Christmas. It was easier than I thought. We had a 5 gallon bucket stuffed full of cut up fat from our hog we harvested – “fat boy”. I did a little research and decided to grind it all first. This way you get the most lard from the process. The process was so easy: Just put a little water on the bottom of the pan (it evaporates anyway) , and start it off on 2. Once it starts warming and you see the liquid separating from the fat, turn it down to 1. Stir every few minutes. We let it go several hours. From about 1/2 of a 5 gallon bucket we got a case of pint jars of beautiful, white, soft lard. Hindsight is better than foresight, and I learned a few things. Ours is beautiful and a great first attempt. It does smell a little like a good pork roast. But not like a boar or anything! We just had all the fat mixed together. You can also render cut up pieces of lard in the oven in a large roaster at 225F. I learned the fat from around the kidneys (called leaf lard) doesn’t have that piggy flavor and is therefore perfect for pastries and such. Lard actually makes superior pastries to butter or other fats. Fat back is the next best and excellent for frying. I will use every scrap of fat I can get. But next time I will separate the leaf lard first. Of course you want to use stainless steel and a wooden or stainless spoon. A crock pot will work too. Another thing I learned is to do small amounts at a time. We did 2 large pots on the stove and had them a little less than 1/2 full. I think we would have had better results with smaller amounts. We put it in pint sized mason jars with enough headspace to expand or freezing. I was disappointed that our chicharones didn’t come out very good. For one thing when you grind the fat they don’t form as well. And another thing is we let it go way too long. I did scoop out some after a couple of hours and it is beautiful light and fluffy! I let it keep going then and the lard was a little darker and a little more porky. From this and further reading I have decided next to take the fat out way before it browns – maybe 1 1/2 – 2 hrs. I can then fry them up later. The second thing is next time I will just dice the fat into 1/2 inch pieces so I can get chicharones. (even though this will sacrifice some of the volume of the lard). Today as I am typing these show notes I am trying it in a rigged up double boiler. It is working out very well. We took the lard off within a couple of hours and now will fry up the chicharones in more lard. You can use lard for baking, frying, and even spread it on bread like butter. Our ancestors used it also for soap, candle and even oiling machinery. The heritage breed hogs with a high fat content were in vogue. In the 1930’s a pig farmer could make more from the fat off the pig than the meat. Then along came Ansel Keys, George McGovern and the government with trumped up studies to prove fat is bad! Big business selling us “vegetable oil” that had been processed to have a long shelf life. Ansel Keys was a vegetarian working for the McGovern Commission post world war 2. He put together studies to prove fat causes heart disease (and later everything from cancer to declining mental health). The problem is he threw out all the evidence proving this false. Even though scientists of the time had outcries of opposition McGovern stated they didn’t have time for the data to come in. They had to do something now. So with this came the hypothesis that fat makes you fat and causes heart disease. Of course the corn industry responded by producing highly processed corn oil. And so started the decline of America’s health.
So what are the different fats and why are they bad? I won’t go into great detail here as there is much more in depth information available. I would like to cover a few facts. Fat does not make you fat. It’s not that simple. How you process your food makes you fat. Sugar and carbs cause hormonal changes that cause you to be hungry and overeat. Those highly processed vegetable oils and fat free foods that are so popular don’t communicate well to the brain that you are full. Studies have also shown that elevated triglyceride levels are caused by the liver processing sugar.
We were never designed to eat fake fats “trans fats”. These are polyunsaturated fats created from corn, soybeans, and other vegetable oils. They heat it expose it to hydrogen and a catalyst (solvent). The resulting product has a long shelf life and is the darling of the food industry. They however, ruin liver function, increase insulin sensitivity and raise blood lipids.
What is important is the n-3 to n-6 ratio in fats (Omega 3- omega 6) You want a higher Omega 3 intake as these are super foods that improve so many areas of health and hormone balancing. sources of these include fatty fish such as wild Alaska salmon, anchovies, sardines herring mackerel, trout, GRASS FED MEAT, and omega 3 enriched eggs. 3’s come from animal fats, 6’s come from seed. If 6’s are too high it can cause a host of problems including inflammation. Inflammation is now considered a cause of heart disease.
What about cholesterol: I guess most people have heard of HDL and LDL cholesterol I could never remember which was the goo or bad. Then I though of LDL as low down and it was easy. LDL is converted to the small dense type that stick in the arteries, this happens under the influence of excessive carbs. Cholesterol is needed for hormone regulation.
My favorite oil is coconut oil. I buy it by the 5 gallon bucket. My last bucket lasted about 1 year. With shipping it was about $175.00. That comes to around 14.50 / month. A great investment in your health. Olive oil is good too but not for cooking. Not only that some companies mix other oils in and sell it as olive oil. Especially the ones from “several countries”. If you put your olive oil in the refrigerator and it doesn’t become solid then you have a fake. Here is a link to an article on that with brand names listed http://www.foodrenegade.com/your-extravirgin-olive-oil-fake/.
Coconut oil is so good for you because it is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) with the wonderful, healing lauric acid. The liver and gallbladder do not have to emulsify MCTs, so it does not stress your liver like all those “heart healthy” fake fats. Once in our body lauric acid converts to monolaurin, a compound that is highly toxic to viruses, bacteria, funguses and other microorganisms because of its ability to disrupt their lipid membranes and virtually destroy them. The only other place lauric acid id found is in breast milk. It effectively fights fungus such s candida, athletes foot; bacteria and virus such as measles, influenza, hepatitis C and HIV. It is great for the skin and hair.
Coconut oil is rich in anti-oxidants and has the microbial and antibacterial agents caphrylic and capric acids. The MCT’s help boost you metabolism which helps in weight loss. There are so may articles and scientific studies on this.
To learn more, here is a start:
So my number 1 oil is coconut oil, #2 is lard. And if I can get my hands on some real olive oil it is great for dressings, but not for cooking. We do have a grower here in Georgia. Georgia Olive Farms. Their oil looks to be excellent. The cheapest on their page is 32.00 for 500 cc, way out of my price range. I stick with my coconut oil and lard. Although they do sell trees for 10.00 each so maybe…….
Next as promised last week we discuss smoking. Smoke adds a wonderful flavor to meats, cheeses, and nuts. It changes the color and helps preserve the fats to keep them from going rancid. There are basically 2 types. Cold smoking is done at less than 100F. This would be needed for larger cuts of meat such as hams and chesses. Pastrami for example could be cold smoked and then dried.
Hot smoking is done at over 150F. This partially cooks the meat. Some sausage, bacon and nuts. can be hot smoked.
Smoking can be done in so many ways. Hot smoking can be done in the grill. Smokers can be built from 2 cardboard boxes taped together. A cooler with ice and a smoke generator on the side. A smoke generator can be made from a fire pit or other ways. One of the simples I have seen is a tin can with sawdust and a new soldering iron for heat. I was thinking of making a cooling box from a chest freezer with a temperature controller. Then adding a smoke generator on the side. I do have a Bradley Smoker which works wonderfully. I have hot smoked many meats and some almonds with excellent results. I also have an attachment to cold smoke. My problem here in the south is it is too hot to cold smoke except in the coldest part of the winter. That’s how it was done before. On the podcast I will discuss how you can make bacon and then hot smoke it.