What is Lard and How Can You Use It?


Storing Lard: Refrigeration or Not?

A remarkable trait of lard is its long shelf life. It's not mandatory to refrigerate lard, but cool storage does extend its lifespan. For the occasional user, popping it into the fridge—in an airtight container to block unwanted odors—is a wise move to maintain its freshness.

The Longevity of Lard

When kept in a cool, dark environment, free from heat and light, lard can last several months. Refrigerated, it remains usable for up to a year, sometimes stretching even beyond that. And if you're looking to stock up, lard freezes beautifully, keeping its quality for several years.

Lard's Comeback in the Culinary World

Yes, lard has seen a resurgence. Chefs and home cooks alike are rekindling their love affair with lard for its exceptional qualities, particularly in baking and frying. Its ability to impart moisture and flavor while providing a high smoke point makes it a valuable addition to any kitchen.

The Versatility of Lard in Cooking

Lard is a champion of cooking fats, with applications that range from the sweet to the savory. Its high smoke point makes it perfect for frying, producing a crispy, golden result that's hard to achieve with other fats. Think fried chicken with a perfect crust, or doughnuts with a tender crumb and a satisfying crunch.

Lard vs. Shortening: A Fatty Conundrum

While both lard and shortening provide the fat needed in recipes, they're not interchangeable. Lard is all-natural and brings a depth of flavor that plant-based, hydrogenated shortening simply can't match. Shortening, being taste-neutral and plant-derived, has its place in baking where a pure, buttery flavor isn't desired.

Lard in Baking: The Secret to Flakiness

Ask any pastry chef, and they'll whisper that lard is their secret for the flakiest pie crusts imaginable. It's also a game-changer in biscuits, tarts, and cookies, offering a texture and flavor that's both rich and subtle.

Lard isn't just a throwback to your grandmother's kitchen; it's a testament to the adage "everything old is new again." Whether you're perfecting a pie crust or frying up a batch of chicken, lard is a worthy addition to your culinary toolbox. So, the next time you pass by the lard in your grocery store, give it a nod—or better yet, give it a place in your shopping cart—and start exploring its potential in your own recipes.