What is lard?
A: Lard is fat from a pig, in both its rendered and un-rendered forms.
It is a semi-soft white fat derived from fatty parts of the pig, with a high what?
A: Saturated fatty acid content and no Trans fat.
Rendering is by what?
A: Steaming, boiling, or dry heat.
The culinary qualities of lard vary somewhat depending on what?
A: The origin and processing method.
At retail, refined lard is usually sold as what?
A: Paper-wrapped blocks.
Many cuisines use lard as a cooking fat or shortening, or as a what?
A: Spread similar to butter.
It is an ingredient in various savory dishes such as
sausages, pâtés and fillings, and it is particularly favored for the preparation of what?
A: Pastry because of the "flakiness" it provides.
In western cuisine, it has ceded its popularity to what?
A: Vegetable oils, but many cooks and bakers still favor it over other fats for certain uses.
Lard has always been an important cooking and baking staple in cultures where
pork is a what?
A: An important dietary item, with pig fat often being as valuable a product as pork.
During the 19th century lard was used similarly to what in North America and many
Lard remained about as popular as butter in the early 20th century, and was widely used as a what?
A: A substitute for butter during World War II.
As a readily available by-product of modern pork production, lard had been cheaper than most
vegetable oils, and it was common in many people's
diet until what?
A: Until the industrial
revolution made vegetable oils more common and more affordable.
Vegetable shortenings were developed in the early 1900s, which made it possible to use vegetable-based fats in what?
A: In baking and in other uses where solid fats were called for.
Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle, though fictional, portrayed men falling into what?
A: Rendering vats and being sold as lard, and it generated negative publicity.
By the late 20th century lard began to be considered less healthy than vegetable oils (such as
olive and sunflower oil) because of its what?
A: High content of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol.
However, despite its reputation, lard has what?
A: Less saturated fat, more unsaturated fat and less cholesterol than an equal amount of butter by weight.
Un-hydrogenated lard contains no what?
Many restaurants in the western nations have eliminated the use of lard in their kitchens because of what?
A: The health-related dietary restrictions of many of their customers.
Religious pork-based dietary restrictions such as Kashrut and Halal mean that some bakers will do what?
A: Substitute beef tallow for lard.
In the 1990s and early
2000s, however, chefs and bakers rediscovered lard's what?
A: Its unique culinary values, leading to a partial rehabilitation of this fat among "foodies".
Negative publicity about the transfat content of the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in vegetable shortening has what?
A: Partially driven this trend.
It is also again becoming popular in the United Kingdom among aficionados of what?
A: Traditional British cuisine. This led to a "lard crisis" in late
Lard can be obtained from any part of the pig that has what?
A: A high concentration of fatty tissue.
The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from what?
A: The "flare" visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin.
Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in what?
A: In baked goods, where it is valued for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts.
The next-highest grade is obtained from what?
A: Fatback, the hard subcutaneous fat between the pig's back skin and muscle.
The lowest grade (for purposes of rendering into lard) is obtained from what?
A: The soft caul fat surrounding digestive organs, such as small intestines, though caul fat is often used directly as a wrapping for roasting lean meats or in the manufacture of pâtés.
Lard may be rendered by what two processes?
A: Wet or dry.
In wet rendering, pig fat is boiled in water or steamed at a high temperature and the lard, which is insoluble in water is what?
A: Skimmed from the surface of the mixture or separated in an industrial centrifuge.
In dry rendering, the fat is exposed to high heat in a what?
A: A pan or oven without water (a process similar to frying
The two processes yield what?
A: Somewhat differing products.
Wet-rendered lard has a more neutral flavor, a lighter
color, and a what?
A: High smoke point.
Dry-rendered lard is somewhat more brown and has a caramelized flavor and has a lower what?
A: Smoke point.
Industrially-produced lard, including much of the lard sold in supermarkets, is rendered from a mixture of what?
A: High and low quality fat from throughout the pig.
Lard is often hydrogenated to improve what?
A: Its stability at room temperature.
Hydrogenated lard sold to consumers typically contains how much transfat per 13 g serving?
A: Fewer than 0.5 g.
Lard is also often treated with what?
A: Bleaching and deodorizing agents, emulsifiers, and antioxidants such as BHT.
These treatments make it more what?
A: More consistent and prevent spoilage. (Untreated lard must be refrigerated or frozen to prevent rancidity.)
Consumers wanting a higher-quality source of lard typically seek out what?
A: Artisanal producers, or render it themselves from leaf lard or fatback.
A by-product of dry-rendering lard is deep-fried what?
A: Meat, skin and membrane tissue known as cracklings.
Lard consists mainly of what?
A: Fats, which in the language of chemistry are known as triglycerides.
These triglycerides are composed of what?
A: Three fatty acids and the distribution of fatty acids varies from oil to oil.
In general lard is similar to what in its composition?
Pigs that have been fed different diets will have lard with a significantly different what?
A: Fatty acid content and iodine value.
Peanut-fed hogs or the acorn-fed pigs raised for Jamón ibérico therefore produce a somewhat different kind of lard compared to pigs raised where?
A: In North American farms that are fed corn.
Lard is one of the few edible oils with a relatively high what?
A: Smoke point, attributable to its high saturated fatty acids content.
Pure lard is especially useful for cooking since it produces what?
A: Little smoke when heated and has a distinct flavor when combined with other foods.
Many chefs and bakers prize lard over other types of shortening because of its what?
A: Its flavor and range of applications.
Because of the relatively large fat crystals in lard, it is extremely effective as a what?
A: A shortening in baking.
Pie crusts made with lard tend to be what?
A: Flakier than those made with butter.
Many cooks employ both types of fat in their pastries to combine what?
A: The shortening properties of lard with the flavor of butter.
Lard was once widely used in the cuisines of Europe,
China and the New World and still plays a significant role where?
A: In British, Central European, Mexican and Chinese cuisines.
In British cuisine, lard is a traditional ingredient in what?
A: Mince pies and Christmas puddings, lardy cake and for frying
fish and chips as well as many other uses.
Indeed, there are some people in England that eat lard neat, especially at the what?
A: The Lard Championships, held each year in Dorset, with 5000 people attending in the summer of
As the demand for lard grows in the high-end restaurant industry, small farmers have begun to specialize in what?
A: Heritage hog breeds with higher body-fat contents than the leaner, modern hog.
Breeds such as the Mangalitsa hog of Hungary or Large Black pig of Great Britain are experiencing an enormous resurgence, to the point that breeders are what?
A: Unable to keep up with demand.
When used without qualification the word 'lard' in English generally refers to what?
A: Wet-rendered lard.
Traditionally, along with peanut oil, lard is extensively used in Asian cooking as a what?
A: A general-purpose cooking oil, esp. in stir-fries and deep-frying.
Rendered lard can be used to produce what non-food items?
A: Biofuel and soap.
Lard is also useful as a cutting fluid in what?