Lard, long maligned by the medical establishment, has been out of favor in many fat phobic American kitchens. Recently it has become a trend, especially in hip neighborhoods and among earth-loving real food mothers who dig nourishing foods. Despite this delicious trend, and the fact that science shows us that healthy pastured animals create healthy fats, we always seem to have a lot of pastured lard in our freezers. Maybe this is because a lot of us are too busy and rendering lard takes time, but in the winter, we all have a bit more time inside and it is the right time to render lard. It is important to note that pastured lard is a winter superfood, and here are five reasons why.
- It is seasonal. Lard is a winter food. Pigs were traditionally slaughtered in the winter, and lard would be rendered and used during the winter months while cooking. Ham would be part of the celebration of breaking the fast after a long winter of decreasing foodstuffs. In Iceland, this time between winter and early spring was called “starving spring.”
- It is filled with Vitamin D. It makes sense that a traditional winter food would possess important nutrients especially needed at the time they were eaten. Pastured lard is filled with Vitamin D, an essential nutrient that boosts the immune system when the sun is scarce. Lard also helps with absorbing calcium, which is important all year too.
- It is a low inflammation fat. New research has shown that heart disease and even Alzeimers might be inflammatory diseases. Many vegetable oils are filled with Omega 6’s, which when heated at a high heat can cause inflammation. Lard is high in monounsaturated fats, second only to olive oil, and is a low inflammation fat even when cooked at a high heat. I suffer from frequent stomach inflammation and find lard to be a wonder food. A family member who had severe crippling arthritis has also been cured by avoiding inflammatory fats high in 0mega 6’s.
- It helps small farmers(who are doing it right) stay profitable. As I mentioned before, we always have a lot of lard in our freezers. Pigs come whole with fat, and lard is a healthy part of the pig. A true gift! Many of our customers are hip to the lard trend, but still haven’t fully embraced it. Industrial agriculture and the medical establishment have pushed the idea that fat is bad for us, but not all fat is created equal. Fats high in omega 6’s should be avoided, and the best way to do that is to render your own lard (a lot of other options like coconut oil and ghee can be cost prohibitive and you can’t control the sources like you can with lard). Heck, visit the farm you get your lard from!
- It protects rainforests and the precious biodiversity that they host. Many of the oils in processed foods are labeled “vegetable oil” and include palm oil, which I try to avoid. This is hard because it can be found in soaps too. After seeing a picture of a dying and badly burned orangutan on Facebook, I have been vigilant about avoiding palm oil. The native rainforests of these highly endangered and incredibly intelligent creatures are burned down to create palm oil.
And my husband insisted I add that it is DELICIOUS!Pin It