"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well" -Virginia Woolf
Hey everyone, Elizabeth here with some good news about cooking with fat (get ready- your taste buds will throw a party after you've tried this!)
We’ve been taught to banish fats… Low-fat milk, no fat this and that...you turn on the TV and hear "to get skinny, cut the fat". It can become quite the headache with all of the information. So here I offer you a simple solution to try- and with this option you have the chance to build your immune system up and make your food taste BETTER than you could imagine.
Fats have amazing health benefits and add another dimension of flavor profile to whatever you’re making. Since our ancestors had no way of cultivating or processing oils (besides olive and coconut), our bodies don’t digest them as well. Animal fats, which have always been easy to acquire, are available in mass amounts, make our food taste better and our health more in balance. Studies show that the further away we travel from the diet of our ancestors, the more diseases persevere.
Before the 20th century, animal fats were a staple in the kitchen...then the cotton happened. Cottonseed was plentiful and, until a process was invented to make oil from it, was worthless. Crisco was marketed as a “healthier and cheaper” alternative to animal fat for cooking and even gave away free cookbooks with their product to entice people to buy from them.
When processed oils are heated, they become chemically unstable and oxidize, which contribute to an unhealthy imbalance to our Omega 3:6 ratios. These disproportions are the core in the rise in inflammatory-based diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and more. These diseases were incredibly rare before the introduction of these oils and now we see them everywhere. Food can be thy medicine or thy poison. Choose mindfully.
Simple = better. Vote with your dollar for sustainable and nourishing whole foods. We can inspire a healthy food system and stay satisfied and healthy!
Fats sourced from pastured animals eating a natural diet and living outside can give us a wide spectrum of health benefits. Plus they are cheaper, more sustainable, and most importantly, they make everything taste better! Canola and soy oil are an absolute disgrace to food tastewise.
Personally, I’ve noticed a difference since I’ve ditched the vegetable oils (I still drizzle avocado and olive oil on meals raw and use coconut oil like it’s my Bible). My food tastes a lot better and I feel fuller faster. I ate a plant-based diet for a while and found myself in a constant haze of spacey confusion and anxiety...plus I was always hungry no matter what. Everyone is different and I believe that myself and many others need healthy animal fats to thrive and live life in homeostasis.
At Tara Firma Farms, we give our animals stress-free lives and allow them to live as nature intended. Our pigs live outside and soak up the sun so we can reap the benefits of their high content of vitamin D (and flavor)! We have lard available for just $3/pound. Experience it’s tasty, healthy goodness!
The best source for your animal fats come from pastured farms, and pure. We have a bunch ready for you here! When you get it pure, you'll have to render it. There are two ways to render fat: dry rendering and wet rendering. You can cook it in a pot of water, in a crock pot, on the stove or in the oven. Either way, you will reap the tasty benefits of the cooking fat. Before the rendering process, cut off any flesh or muscle meat still attached to the fat as that would cause the fat to spoil. You can save those pieces for cooking later. It may take you some time, so play some music and get in the zone.
Slow cooker - place the fat in a slow cooker and set the temperature to low, let it go for a few hours, and make sure to stir from time to time. Clear fat will render out of the fatty tissue.
Oven - set the oven to 250. Place the fat in an oven-safe pan with a lid and stir occasionally.
When it is ready you will know by the small dry looking and browned fatty cracklings in a bath of clear fat. Strain the fat through a fine mesh strainer to separate the cracklings from the rendered fat. You may choose to utilize a cheese cloth for this process as well. Be very careful- hot fat can burn your skin worse than hot liquid.
When dry rendering, you can keep the brown cracklings and use them as a snack!
* The total time depends on the amount of fat being rendered, the temperature, and size of fat chunks. *
Put some water in the pot with the fat chunks. The amount of water doesn’t matter entirely, however, be mindful of the water evaporating- your fat may end up burning. It is ready when you get a feel that most of the fatty tissue chunks have given up their fat content. You might end up with less rendered fat when using the wet method because you don’t get the dry cracklings.
[I used this method and found it incredibly easy- just check on it every 15 minutes or so to stire]
Once you’re done with either method, place it in the fridge to harden. Once it is hard, break it up so you can reach and drain the small amount of water that will be on the bottom of the jar.
To summarize the wondrous world of pastured animal fats:
-fats balance omega 3:6 ratio- critical for health & reducing inflammation in the body
-energy-dense & will indicate a message to brain that you’re fuller faster
-contribute to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin D and calcium)
-act as structural elements to cell walls
-which aids with blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation regulation
-When used for frying, it will make things crispier
-The taste is unbeatable...have you had duck fat french fries?? Still to this day the french use animal fats to make tasty meals.
We have more pork fat than we know to deal with...will you help us? Rather than paying top dollar for a vegetable oil from a big company, support your local farmer and try ours for a low price and help us use every part of the animal so we can minimize our footprint. Share your favorite meals with us using our lard!