I use lard in my non-vegetarian biscuits and before get freaked out let me tell you what my research said about the benefits of lard. My early lard cooking was focused on making light and fluffy biscuits. I felt that if I cooked with lard, I should take it one step further and try to render my own lard – it was a project that took an entire weekend, lots of patience and arm strength. It turned out ok, but literally took most of two days, which isn’t very realistic.
So began the hunt to find someone who rendered and sold lard from quality pigs, preferably organic and heirloom breeds. I read that the best lard comes from the fat around the pig’s abdomen and kidneys known as “Leaf Fat.” I found some women selling their amazing rendered leaf lard on Etsy, believe it or not! I affectionately call them the ‘Lard Ladies’ and they have a small farm with organic heirloom pigs that feed off tubers and have freedom to graze and regular access to sunlight.
Why am I so picky about the pigs my lard comes from?
Well… my research taught me that the second richest source of vitamin D is lard. Note this is only found in pigs that have regular access to sunlight and not pigs that eat grains and are stuck in massive covered pig lots. Lard has been found to be four times richer in vitamin D than it’s nearest competitor (herring).
But there is more! Lard from free-range pigs that feed off tubers and greens have also shown high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Who doesn’t need more of those in their life?
So, when you try a Mama Said biscuit, you can know that not only does it taste great – it is likely giving you a little extra Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid. Please also note I am no scientist nor a doctor – just a food geek.
Like anything, moderation is key – but I don’t want you to be scared of lard!
My grandmothers used it before Crisco came into the picture, (Crisco is not lard – it’s a hydrogenated, processed vegetable oil) and its coming back as we try to get away from so much processed, chemically enhanced foods.
Be Nice Ya’ll! Sumer