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Lard - 100% Rendered Pork Fat
Lard can be obtained from any part of the pig as long as there is a high concentration of fatty tissue. The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from the "flare" visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin. Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in baked goods, where it is valued for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts. The next highest grade of lard is obtained from fatback, the hard subcutaneous fat between the back skin and muscle of the pig. The lowest grade (for purposes of rendering into lard) is obtained from the soft caul fat surrounding digestive organs, such as small intestines.
Lard may be rendered by either of two processes: 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 skimmed off the surface of the mixture, or it is separated in an industrial centrifuge. In dry rendering, the fat is exposed to high heat in a pan or oven without the presence of water (a process similar to frying bacon). The two processes yield somewhat differing products. Wet-rendered lard has a more neutral flavor, a lighter color, and a high smoke point. Dry-rendered lard is somewhat more browned in color and flavor and has lower smoke point. Rendered lard produces an unpleasant smell when mixed with oxygen.
Industrially-produced lard, including much of the lard sold in supermarkets, is rendered from a mixture of high and low quality fat sources from throughout the pig. To improve stability at room temperature, lard is often hydrogenated. Hydrogenated lard sold to consumers typically contains fewer than 0.5 g of trans fats per 13 g serving.
Lard for soap making will produce a softer bar with nicer conditioning properties.
It is used to make soap, candle-making, for cooking and as a bird
food. It can be used as a raw material for the production of bio-diesel and other oleo-chemicals.
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