It’s actually pretty hard to come by these days, which is why we are featuring it as the next Item of the Month here at Cherry Grove Farm! Leaf lard is the highest grade of pork lard, thanks to its almost-neutral flavor and high smoke point (i.e., your fire alarm won’t go off if you cook with it). Because it is found around the kidneys, leaf lard is also the “cleanest” lard found on a pig, containing little to no meat. It can replace butter or Crisco in your kitchen, and is actually better for you—by volume, leaf lard has less saturated fat than butter! Lard makes one heck of a pie crust, is great for sautéing, and can even be spread on toast!
Rendering Leaf Lard
(1 pound yields about 1 pint)
1. Once thawed, cut lard into small pieces.
2. Pour ¼- to ½-cup water into a pan or crock pot over low heat and add lard. You will start to hear popping noises as the lard melts—this is normal.
4. Allow to cool a little, ladle liquid lard into a colander lined with cheese cloth and placed over a bowl to separate the cracklings—these can go back in the pan to crisp and enjoy.
5. Now ladle the rendered lard into mason jars or containers, allow to cool on the counter, and store in the fridge or freezer. It will be a little off-white to start. Once the rendered lard is completely cooled and solidified, it should be pure white. If it is not, you can still use it! This just means that it cooked too long or too hot.
6. Bake a pie—or don’t, but you’ll regret skipping this step!