In an effort to reduce costs and find healthier food, I recently went on a quest to find pure lard. You can't find it in the stores anymore; it doesn't exist. Now you get white glop with trans fats and hydrogenated oils from various sources. I wanted real lard. The kind that makes the best biscuits and fries chicken to perfection. So my journey began...
I wanted to make sure the pigs were grass fed and that the grass they ate was not treated with any chemicals or pesticides. Pure lard is much better for you when it comes from an animal that eats from its natural diet. Lard is actually high in Vitamin D and is mostly monounsaturated fat. I located a farm and found that he had fat. It was a mere $1 a pound, so I purchased 20lbs and brought it home.
Not wanting to go the traditional route of cooking over an open fire in a kettle in our yard, I started cutting up the fat into manageable chunks. I filled three crock pots on my counter with the stuff and turned the crockpots on high.
Not wanting a fire, I added a small amount of water in each crock pot; advice I found online. Before I knew it, liquid fat was forming in the bottom of the pots. I set up my straining process. Taking quart mason jars, I put coffee filters over each one and attached with rubber bands.
Then, using a small scoop, I removed melted fat from the crock pot and poured into the filters. I discovered later that I could use the jar lids to hold the paper filters in place that that they needed to be replaced periodically to keep the fat flowing through the filter quickly. Otherwise the fat gelled up and wouldn't drain. I also lowered the crock pot to low. At high, the fat was boiling due to all the water in the fat and I didn't want a big mess on my counter top.
As I filled each jar, I used a hot lid and put on top, making sure I wiped the jar rim well first. The fat was hot enough that it allowed for the jars to form an airtight seal. The cooled fat is now in storage in our basement. It is a beautiful clean white fat and I am happy to report it not only fries chickens and potatoes well, it also makes a wonderful flaky pie crust and the best biscuits ever!