Read on as we unlock the secrets to optimal lard storage and delve into the question, “Can you freeze lard?”
I took a cooking class recently where I learned how to make tortillas from scratch. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while, so I was psyched to do it. I didn’t realize how simple it was once you learned the techniques.
Since Taco Tuesday is such a massive event in my house, I’ve made tortillas from scratch almost weekly since I took the class in July. While I’ve gone through several packages of flour, I’ve barely made a dent in the large tub of lard I purchased on Amazon because I couldn’t find it in my local store.
This got me thinking: can you freeze lard? What’s the best way to store it?
This comprehensive article will guide you through the ins and outs of preserving this versatile ingredient, ensuring its freshness and usability in your cooking and baking. Understanding the best practices for lard storage is essential for enhancing your dishes and minimizing waste.
Let’s go to The Chalkboard.
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What Is Lard?
Lard is rendered pork fat likely from the animal’s belly, back, or shoulder, where the most is located. To produce lard, the meat or tissue is slow-cooked until the fat becomes liquid. Any leftover solid is strained, and the product is returned to room temperature.
It’s white at room temperature and goes to a translucent liquid when it melts between 95 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Lard is excellent for sauteeing, roasting, frying, and baking. You can easily use it as a butter or oil substitute.
Is Lard The Same As Crisco?
Lard and Crisco are NOT the same. The former is made of pork fat, while the latter contains various oils.
Lard was the top choice for baking, frying, and sauteeing for years until vegetable shortening emerged in 1911. It was more desirable thanks to its affordability and shelf-stable qualities. Vegetable shortening is a 1:1 substitute for lard and produces similar flaky results in baking. The big difference is in the richness and flavor lard provides.
Can You Freeze Lard? How Do You Store Lard Long Term?
The simple answer to can you freeze lard is yes. You can freeze store-bought lard. Most products have a best-by-date printed on the container, but as a rule of thumb, Lard is best within 12-24 months of production. If you can’t use it within that timeframe, freeze it!
We don’t freeze food in plastic containers since they become brittle. Instead, use freezer bags. If you don’t have a lot of lard, you can spoon lard into a freezer bag and flatten it for more accessible storage and to remove air. Or, you can measure lard in one-cup portions and place it on a baking sheet to harden for a few hours. You can set the pieces in a freezer bag for longer-term storage. Be sure to label the bag with contents, date, and measurements.
How Long Will Lard Last Frozen?
Now that we know the answer to can you freeze lard, let’s delve into how long will lard last frozen. Technically, frozen food lasts indefinitely. The issue is that food starts to lose quality over time. Like most food, frozen lard will retain its quality for at least three months. Be sure to follow the USDA’s freezing guidelines.
Place the frozen lard in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.
It’s important to note that freezing does not kill bacteria. It simply makes it inactive; this means that the quality of the product you are freezing is essential. If there are pathogens inside the product before freezing, they will remain there. Always preserve items before they go bad.
How Long Before Lard Goes Rancid — How Do You Know If Lard Is Bad?
Lard will last for 4 to six months or more at room temperature. This time goes up to about a year if stored in a refrigerator. Frozen lard will slowly lose its quality after a few months but will keep frozen indefinitely.
Lead with your senses. Most lards (except for the leaf variety, which is almost tasteless) have a subtle pork taste. When they have gone rancid, they taste soapy or sour. Also, check the smell, as rancid lard produces a chemical-like odor that some compare to nail polish remover or paint. When you encounter these qualities, it’s best to toss the product.
Is Crisco A Lard?
No Crisco is NOT a lard. Crisco is a vegetable shortening made from hydrogenated vegetable oil, while lard is made from rendered pork fat. They are not the same thing but can be used instead of one another as a 1:1 substitution.
Crisco is a better option for vegetarians, while lard is better in savory dishes. Both produce flaky results in baking.
How Long Does Lard Last At Room Temperature and In The Refrigerator?
Lard will last at least six months at room temperature. Keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Large temperature fluctuations are not ideal for lard.
If you wish to prolong freshness, try storing lard in the refrigerator. This method keeps lard fresh for up to a year. Some bakers prefer starting with cold lard as they believe it produces better results.
What Do You Think?
Did you know the answer to Can you freeze lard? Do you have any burning questions about lard storage? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to read them.
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