We have just under a dozen jars of meat left and three jars of lard remain on the shelf. That means we’ve eaten 15 quarts of lard – three quarts for every man, woman, and child in this family – since January.
I have no regrets.
When we rendered the lard I had heard differing opinions on how to store it. The fancy folks on the internet said we should freeze it. No can do. A few folks said they can it just in case, which I considered, but we were leaving town within days and I knew I wouldn’t have time to can the meat, render the fat, and can the fat.
So, in my usual I’m-not-too-worried-about-it style, I opted to do nothing. And by nothing I mean I had read enough of the old-timer books to realize that fat, itself, is a preservative. There were rillettes, larded pork chops, and duck confit, and a whole host of other tasty things you could cover in fat to preserve in these lovely old books.
Why not do what they did before canning and freezing and just store it? The whole point of rendering is to get the perishable bits out of the lard, right?
So, we rendered the fat down, let it cool just enough to handle, and then poured it through a lined sieve into quart jars which I then closed tightly. Crystal clean white goodness, I say.
At this point it would be good to store them in the cellar or some place where it’s cooler than 100 degrees. But we don’t have a cellar and I’m not too worried about it, remember? So I put them on a shelf in our kitchen and they endured the whole of summer in temperatures that easily reached 90-100 degrees on most days.
Every jar I’ve opened has smelled like nothing but fatty goodness. There is no off smell, no meat smell, and really no smell at all. No one’s thrown up, or gotten sick, or been struck down with E. Coli or botulism, which is more than I can say for a lot of grocery store food.
It’s been fine.
I will say that once I opened a jar, it might acquire a more meaty smell after a week or so at these hot temperatures, but it was still perfectly good to cook with. It fried potatoes and squash and eggs and pancakes and steak. It made biscuits and pie crusts and cakes and cookies and more with delicious results.
The only tragedy I see in this whole scenario is that we only have three quarts left.