Today lard is seen as a dangerous fat… but is it? Find out the facts here.
Used in kitchens for centuries, lard (rendered from pork fat) has a unique mix of different types of fats. In the past, it was what cooks used when they needed to make pastries; when dinner needed cooking; and even as a quick breakfast… eaten spread on a piece of bread! Today lard is seen as a dangerous fat… but is it? Find out the facts here so when your shoppers ask, your staff knows how to respond.
Lard is an extremely versatile fat: It doesn't smoke at high temperatures, so it's perfect for high heat cooking or frying. This also means it doesn’t break down and oxidize, creating harmful free radicals (the reason you don’t cook extra virgin olive oil at high temperatures).
It has less saturated fat than butter. Yes, that’s right lard has 20 percent less saturated fat than butter; it's also higher in monounsaturated fats, which are good for cardiovascular health. Lard is also rich in oleic acid, the same fatty acid that is in olive oil and praised for its health benefits. In addition, it has no trans fats like its synthetic counterpart, shortening.
Choose lard from pasture-raised pigs. The fat composition of lard rendered from pigs on pasture is better for you than lard from pigs raised in industrial confinement. And if you can, render the lard at home – as commercial lard is bleached and deodorized – and sometimes has actually been hydrogenated to make it last longer (aka trans fats are added!).
Lard contains about one third as much cholesterol as butter… that’s 12mg per tbsp vs. 31mg per tbsp. Our bodies need fat to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K. Without dietary fats, our bodies have a hard time absorbing these critical vitamins. Necessary for immunity and general health.
Lard is sustainable! If you use lard to cook, you use more of the animal thus wasting less and being more environmentally conscious. So when cooking any type of pork that contains a lot of fat, make sure to cook it slow and save the fatty drippings for future cooking!