Busting The Top 3 Myths About Lard

Lard in its most basic form is the fat from pigs.  It is found in both rendered and unrendered forms, but in order to be usable in most recipes, the lard must be rendered down into its purest form.  Leaf lard is the purest lard which comes from the fat surrounding the pigs' kidneys.  The second purest form of lard comes from the pigs back fat.  The lard that we sell is only made from these two areas of the pigs and has very little pork flavor.  Our lard is also already rendered down, making it perfectly usable right out of the jar.

A traditional cooking fat for centuries, lard became less frequently used during World War II as it was needed as part of the war effort.  Since Americans missed their lard, scientists figured out a replacement; hydrogenated vegetable oils (i.e. Crisco).  In the decades since, new generations of scientists have figured out that hydrogenated vegetable oils are far worse for our health than lard ever was.

There are a lot of myths about lard out there, so today I wanted to tackle the top 3 that we hear from folks who shop with us  

Myth #1:  Lard is unhealthy and it causes heart disease

This is by far the biggest myth about lard.  Lard is actually made up of 48% monounsaturated fat. The only cooking oil higher in monounsaturated fat is olive oil, which is widely recognized as heart healthy.  The primary fat found in lard is oleic acid.  Oleic acid has been shown to decrease depression, lower cancer risk and balance cholesterol.

Myth #2:  Lard makes everything taste like pork

This just isn't true.  Lard rendered at a high temperature, or using less pure forms of pig fat can have a porky flavor, but lard rendered slowly and using the best forms of pig fat does not have any pork flavor at all.  While I don't know of any scientific studies that prove this, my own anecdotal observations say that I've never tasted pork in any dishes that I've used lard in.  You'll just have to take my word for it on this one.  In fact, lard actually makes food delicious!  There's a reason people long for pie crusts like Grandma used to make; it's because Grandma used lard and lard makes recipes awesome!

Myth #3:  Lard has no nutritional value, it's just fat

One of the most awesome things about lard and about pigs is that they store vitamin D in their fat.  One of the richest dietary sources of Vitamin D is lard from pastured pigs.  Since most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, this is awesome news for those of us looking to increase our intake of Vitamin D, without reaching for pills and supplements.  

Also, to build on myth #1, lard is loaded with heart healthy omega-3’s. Ditch the fish oil pills and eat more lard. 

One Caveat...

Lard found in grocery stores is usually in a hydrogenated form and is from pigs raised in indoor confinement.  This means that that lard has little of the Vitamin D and healthy fats associated with lard that comes from pigs raised outdoors on pasture.  The more time pigs spend outdoors, the more Vitamin D their lard contains.  And the more grass that pigs eat, the more healthy fats (and less unhealthy fats) their lard contains.

We're proud to offer rendered pastured pork lard and we think you’ll really like cooking with it.