Soft Lard - Help Please

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by Kcryss, Jan 21, 2020.

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  1. Jan 21, 2020 #1

    Kcryss

    Kcryss

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    I was able to get 10 lbs of pig fat the other day. The butcher was even nice enough to grind it up for me. :)

    After cooking on low heat all day yesterday, it was finally to the point of straining and then refrigerating. This morning, when I pulled it out, there was zero separation. No brown gunk ... nothing but soft creamy white lard. Not pure white, but close.

    So I melted it and added 4 cups of water with 1 tsp salt per pound of fat. I based this on the original weight of 10 lbs. boiled gently for about half an hour, stirring frequently, strained (using a coffee filter) and refrigerated.

    When I pulled it out, I was able to tunnel my way to the bottom of the pot and find clear water. Nothing else. Still no brown gunk ... nothing. Just clear water and creamy white soft lard.

    Is this normal? Can I make soap with this? Did I do something wrong? Please help ... don't know what to do with this lard.
     
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  2. Jan 21, 2020 #2

    DeeAnna

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    Are you're saying your lard is so clean that there's no gunky stuff to separate out?

    If so, I can't see why this is a problem! I don't think you did anything wrong and the lard is fine. I'd certainly use it without thinking twice about it.

    Lard can be soft at room temperature, especially home rendered lard. That's normal too.
     
  3. Jan 21, 2020 #3

    Kcryss

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    haha! I don't know ... I expected brown gunk. Even had a plan for it! Wanted to mix it with my dogs food. They would love it! :)

    It's actually pretty soft when I pull it out of the fridge after about 7 hours. If this is normal. Then I'm happy to use it! :)

    Thanks for responding. :)

    Oh, one more thing. After adding the salt water, there is white foam on top. Last time I just left it alone and filtered like normal. This time I am skimming it off ... not sure it matters or not. Any idea what is causing the foam?
     
  4. Jan 21, 2020 #4

    DeeAnna

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    If you were rendering bacon fat, then I'd expect some brown gunk. Most of the time when I render lard from ground fat, it's really fairly clean right off the bat.

    I don't use salt when rendering. Just my preference. I'm not sure what the foam would be.
     
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  5. Jan 21, 2020 #5

    Kcryss

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    Thanks DeeAnna! I will filter one last time and make soap! :)

    Now I have 10 lbs of beef fat to render. I expect there will be gunk with that one. :)
     
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  6. Jan 21, 2020 #6

    Anstarx

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    When my family used pork to make soup or broth my mom would always give me the task to skim the foam off the surface off the soup after salting. She told me that's usually tiny particles of blood, bone marrow, or any other leftover drew out by the salt. Doesn't hurt to eat but she likes a clear broth.

    I render my own lard as well and I am able to dent it with my finger even after it sitting in the fridge for 3 days. It's a soft hard-oil which is also why I prefer it over other hard oils: I can just scoop what I need with spoon instead of having to warm the whole thing like tallow, cocoa butter or even palm.
     
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  7. Jan 21, 2020 #7

    Primrose

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    Rendered lard is soft

    I render my in own lard and tallow. All I do is melt it in the crockpot and filter it, done. No need to do it three times or to add salt water IMO
     
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  8. Jan 21, 2020 #8

    Kcryss

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    Ahh ... so now the foam makes sense. Since the butcher ground it for me, I would guess there was more then just fat. Might have been a little meat/skin as well. Thanks for the info. :) I will continue to skim the foam.

    I started doing the cleaning after my first batch of lard. It smelled horrible. Now that I've gotten fat from the butcher however, it smells like cooked pork/bacon, not like a dead animal. The first batch I made was fat I cut from a roast. Maybe that was the problem.

    With not cleaning, do you have any issues with the smell? Does it go away after you make it into soap?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2020
  9. Jan 21, 2020 #9

    DeeAnna

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    The key things to minimizing objectionable odors is to start with fat that is as fresh and sweet (low odor) as you can, to render at as low a temp as is reasonable for rendering, and to minimize the amount of time the fat is hot.

    If the fat is sweet, I render without any water, but you have to then be careful to control the temps -- the water most people add to the rendering pot is mainly an insurance policy to keep the fat from getting above 212F / 100C if you're rendering over direct heat.

    If the fat is slightly smelly, it can be rendered and then washed with water, either plain water or with salt or baking soda. Depending on how dirty or smelly, it might take 1 washing or several to clean up the fat.

    It's also important to eliminate any free water and any traces of protein in the rendered fat. These impurities can promote microbial growth in the fat during storage.
     
  10. Jan 21, 2020 #10

    Kcryss

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    Thanks DeeAnna! This fat smelled sooo much better then the one before. I'm afraid now that I've heated it too many times. Hopefully it will be fine once soaponified. Thanks for all your help/advice. Very much appreciated! :)
     
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  11. Jan 21, 2020 #11

    Primrose

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    Not at all, i can't smell it either while it's rendering or when it's finished. If I out my nose right up to the container I can get a faint smell or pork and that's about it. Goat tallow smells a little distinct but I can't detect it in the soap even if it's unscented. My fat is generally fresh and clean, it's in the fridge for maybe one day after the animal has been processed. Cut into cubes and frozen until I have time to render it. Then I mince it and put it on low in the crockpot. Maybe it's because it's clean and fresh to start with?
     
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  12. Jan 21, 2020 #12

    Kcryss

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    That could be ... I know the butcher will freeze it for me if I can't pick it up that day. So I know it's fresh. Maybe that's why this doesn't smell as bad as the bit I did from the roast. :)
     
  13. Feb 9, 2020 #13

    Claire Huddle

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    Oh! I'm so glad you weighed in on this thread. I hope my question fits right in. Have you ever rendered lard in a pressure cooker? I did last time and it turned out fine. I use it both in baking and in soap. Flaky biscuits and pie crusts, and lovely lathery soap -- from the same simple product and process. Few things make my pragmatic little heart any happier! So, what is wrong with the pressure cooker method? I add nothing - no water, no salt, no baking soda. Did I just get lucky? Our butcher does a beautiful job of trimming, then freezes it in largish slabs for us. We thaw it enough to cut it up and then, the last 2 times anyway, run it thru the KA meat grinder attachment. It renders much faster when ground. It also renders much faster in a pressure cooker! Is this too good to be consistently true? Go ahead, burst my bubble it you must. I respect your knowledge immensely. Or is it that I respect your immense knowledge? Hmm... I do believe it's both. ;) Hope you're enjoying better weather than we are. Major flooding in our area. We got off luckier than many though. Only our pasture was underwater.
     
  14. Feb 9, 2020 #14

    Dahila

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    I grind my lard too, then strain it and it is always clean and smell nice, I use it in kitchen (the highest smoking point) and in soap. My hubby does it for me, you have to shimmer it for hours but what are husbands for :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  15. Feb 9, 2020 #15

    Kcryss

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    LOL, wish mine would cook the fat for me! :)
    The butcher grinds the fat for me now and it goes a bit faster, but still 2 days for 10 lbs. It comes out nice and clean, no smell and I've started using it for cooking as well.

    I don't know how well a pressure cooker would work, part of the cooking process for the fat is to cook it at a low temp. The pressure cooker would cook it at a very high temp. You could always try a small batch and see how it goes.
     
  16. Feb 9, 2020 #16

    DeeAnna

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    I have no idea whether using a pressure cooker is a safe or an appropriate way to render lard or tallow. Sorry.
     
  17. Feb 9, 2020 #17

    Dahila

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    I do, it is unsafe, the grease starts to jump up and is going to block the pressure lock, It is dangerous to do something like that in pressure pot, I am using pressure pot everyday for the last 30 years . I would never dream about rendering the fat in there. Pressure pot has a bit different function that frying pan
     
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  18. Feb 9, 2020 #18

    DeeAnna

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    I've never used a pressure cooker for cooking -- mainly for canning -- so I'll defer to Dahlia's expertise. This is just some of my rambling thoughts, for what they're worth --

    In cruising the 'net for info, there's not much out there on this method, and many of the mentions were awfully sketchy and vague. I didn't see anyone claiming the rendered fat is somehow better when it's done in a pressure cooker. I more got the feeling that because everyone uses an instant pot for everything nowadays, we should be rendering fat in it too.

    One article (source) said to pressure cook the fat for 2-4 hours, which is about the same length of time I'd render in a crock pot, so I don't see any amazing time savings.

    IMO, a pressure cooker is intended for cooking water-based foods at higher temps and thus shorter times than you can at room pressure. Water boils at a higher temp when the pressure is higher -- about 250F at 15 psi above atmospheric pressure.

    But fats aren't water based so this benefit is moot. I mean I know fats have some residual water in them before and during rendering, but there's not a lot unless you intentionally add water. So why not just heat the fat above 212F / 100C by cranking up the heat, if that's what you want.

    The pressure in and of itself doesn't serve any useful advantage for rendering fat that I can think of.

    Dahlia raises a safety concern about foaming and how that could plug the pressure release and create an explosion hazard. I've seen fat foam up when I've rendered on the stove and got the fat a little too hot, so I can appreciate her caution. So it seems reasonable that foaming could be a safety issue.
     
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  19. Feb 10, 2020 #19

    Dahila

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    My mother in law was visiting us in Canada, She never used pressure pot in her life, I got the awesome one in Spain (italian, very expensive I had paid over 400USD) She put the rise in it without the water . The PP had not exploded but was a garbage, I was happy nothing happened to her.
    Using pressure pot is easy but you have to keep in mind that the pressure that builds in it is cooking , It is moving everything up. Even on low temperature it can go wrong. I advice not to do. i cook in pressure pot cause potato cooks 15 min, so does soup. Beef cooks 45 min, Pork 25 , Chicken 15 min. Cooking fat in deep pot is the best , not covering it, I use lard whole my life, I am senior already. There is not better fries that done using lard :)
     

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