Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lard Making 101: Practical Housewifery at it's Finest

This post is for my friend Carol Douglas, who appears to be in need of the recipe at just such a time as this.

It comes from the book Common Sense in the Household. It is copyrighted 1880 but was printed in 1903.

Just look; the poor thing is falling apart at the seams. Reminds me of what I saw in the mirror some mornings over the past year.

Unlike me, the cracks in this thing probably won't heal, no matter how much cosmeticological lard is spread on it.

Anyhoo, the book has been on my list for presentation to you, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet. Thanks for the prompting, Carol!

Here's your first taste of Practical Housewifery. Now you too can make your own lard.

Every housekeeper knows how unfit for really nice cooking is the pressed lard sold in stores as "best and cheapest." It is close and tough, melts slowly, and is sometimes diversified by fibrous lumps. And even when lard has been "tried out" by the usual process, it is often mixed with so much water as to remind us unpleasantly that it is bought by weight.

The best way of preparing the "leaf lard," as it is called, is to skin it carefully, wash, and let it drain; then put it, cut into bits, into a large, clean tin kettle or bucket, and set this in a pot of boiling water. Stir from time to time until it is melted; throw in a very little salt, to make the sediment settle; and when it is hot--(it should not boil fast at any time, but simmer gently until clear)--strain through a close cloth into jars. Do not squeeze the cloth so long as the clear fat will run through, and when you do, press the refuse into a different vessel, to be used for commoner purposes than the other.

Most of the lard in general use is, however, made from the fatty portions of pork lying next the skin of the hog, and are left for this purpose by the butcher. Scrape from the rind, and cut all into dice. Fill a large pot, putting in a teacupful of water to prevent scorching, and melt very slowly, stirring every few minutes. Simmer until there remains nothing of the meat but fibrous bits. Remove these carefully with a perforated skimmer; throw in a little salt, to settle the fat, and when it is clear strain through a fine cullender (sic), a sieve, or a coarse cloth. Tip the latter in boiling water, should it become clogged by the cooling lard. Observe the directions about squeezing the strainer. If your family is small, bear in mind that the lard keeps longer in small than large vessels. Set away the jars, closely covered, in a cool, dry cellar or store room.

In trying out lard, the chief danger is of burning. Simmer gently over a steady fire, and give it your whole attention until it is done. A moment's neglect will ruin all. Stir very often--almost constantly at the last--and from the bottom, until the salt is thrown in to settle it, when withdraw to a less hot part of the fire. Bladders tied over lard jars are the best protection; next to these, paper, and outside of this, cloths dipped in melted grease.


  1. Need is such an elastic concept. I need this like a hole in the head.

  2. Oh fine. Stick to your Crisco if you must. But you'll miss the way your house smells after a good rendering.

  3. cosmological that code for oil of olay?

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