Lard is what you have after cooking down the fat from a pig. Some dear friends of ours raised a pig for us over the winter. They live on a small farm about an hour north of us. When I called my cutting order in when the pig was butchered, I asked them to bag up the leftover fat. I got about fifteen pounds of fat. It takes a little over a pound of fat to make a pint of lard.
Here is the fat:
I used half of this fat and stored the other half in the freezer.
First I cut the fat into roughly one inch cubes:
I then put all of the cut up piggy fat into my biggest cast iron kettle:
I added one cup of water to help prevent scotching, turned the flame to medium, and waited and watched. After about an hour I could see the fat beginning to turn a pale brown and start to render:
After another hour of watching, waiting, and stirring, with an adorable baby on my hip:
It looked like this:
When I do this again, I will stop here and call it done. Everything I read said to wait until the cracklings (those hunks of brown fat you see there on the top) sink to the bottom. When they began to sink:
I thought it looked like it was beginning to scorch, and it smelled vaguely of burnt bacon. I cooked it down a bit too long. Live and learn, right? While I drained the cracklings from the lard:
I prepared my canning jars. I put the rings and lids in a stainless steel bowl and poured boiling water from the tea kettle over them:
I did the same thing with the jars, then setting them on a rack to cool:
We wanted to keep the cracklings for cornbread, but they were just too well done. I then washed the dishes and had a glass of wine:
And in the morning, we had eight pints of freshly rendered lard!