One of those lovely old-fashioned skills every respectable pioneer woman ought to know is how to render animal fat. Lard from pigs or tallow from cattle was a prized possession for those who lived off of the land. It is the cooking fat of choice for many reasons and can also be used for lighting.

Lard was especially prolific as pigs can be raised on buckets of slop and food from your garden or grain field. We don’t have pigs yet because our garden, grain field, and slop buckets aren’t developed yet.

Thankfully we do have wonderful neighbors who are raising pigs. So when the words "Fat bags for sale." rang out you can bet I tried not to yell out "Sold!" too loudly, and Stewart’s ever-present fist bump followed.

Once all of the pork was canned we got out the kitchen shears (my fat slicing implement of choice) and cut up somewhere around 40 pounds of pig fat. That rendered out to 18 beautiful quarts (4.5 gallons!) of lard which should last us a good long while.

You can use it for just about everything – frying or roasting vegetables, frying meat, cooking eggs, as the shortening in biscuits or pastries, spread on toast with a sprinkling of salt, as a substitute for butter in your cookies or cake… the possibilities are endless… and so are the ways in which you can use "fat bag" in a sentence.

We are grateful to the Lord for providing us with fresh homegrown pork and lard and for the opportunity to practice these types of skills.