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Lard

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Rendered hog fat. The best fat comes from around the kidneys.

Lard can be rendered using different methods that can be classified as either dry or wet. The dry method involves heating the hog fat slowly without adding water whereas the wet method uses some water for the rendering process.

To render, take the fresh fat, remove any sinew or tissue and wash off any blood. Rough chop, and put in a pan with a small amount of water for the wet method and no water for the dry one. Heat slowly, uncovered - do not let it boil or pop excessively. As the fat melts, remove it from the pan into another pan to cool.

Fresh lard can be used like vegetable shortening. Some recipes call for lard. While there are debates about whether animal or vegetable fats are healthier, you will have to judge your own concerns about using lard. Lard is one of the best sources of Vitamin D, following cod liver oil.

Lard is moisturizer for the skin. Some soapers use lard because it is easily available, provides good lather and cleansing properties, but will make a soap too soft if used alone and is not easily soluble in cold water. Combine with other oils and it makes a very cost effective base oil.

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