I’ve spent the past few days in the kitchen…
Doing what you wonder?
I had a pile of pork fat in the freezer from last fall and as I am getting low on cooking oil, so I decided to render and can it!
I had read piles of articles and found that most folks simply render it and store the jars in the fridge or freezer.
As I wanted to store it without refrigeration, and for a longer time period, I read about canning it.
By melting smaller pieces of fat, takes less time and melts evenly.
As I have a lot of fat to render, I did one batch in the instant pot and one in a crock pot (slow cooker).
The crock pot turned out to be faster because the low setting is hotter.
By adding 1/4 c water as suggested to the crock will insure that the fat won’t burn.
Around the sides at the top it did crisp onto the ceramic after a few hours, so you have to stir it a few times; while the instant pot is sealed, so no water is needed and the low setting is much lower. Though melting takes longer, you can set it and walk away.
I filled both crock & instant pot with thawed ground fat and got 4 pints.
I strained though cheese cloth over a fine mesh sieve and filled my sterilized mason jars.
I fussed around with emptying the crock’s leftovers into the instant pot, so by the time I filled the hot mason jars, the fat was pretty cool.
I had watched one couple’s you tube video and their method was pulling out hot jars from a 200f oven, filling with hot fat, sealing them and putting the filled/sealed jars back into the oven, and turning the oven off. The idea is that the jars will seal while sitting in the oven.
So I heated the oven and stuck the filled, sealed jars in there hoping they would seal.
Once the oven pre heated to 200f, I turned it off and left the jars in for awhile.
I checked a couple of hours later and the lids were compressed and sealed!
I left them on the counter to cool overnight and the next morning the fat had turned snow white!
I had read that you are looking for snow white lard as it tells you that it is pure and void of any meat remnants, which is what will cause your rendered lard to go rancid if it is not used in time. Though in saying that, people say you can store your lard in the fridge for 6 months or so and up to a year in the freezer.
I did the same process of pouring the rendered fat through a cheesecloth & mesh sieve, filled canning jars leaving 1/2″ headspace. I sealed them and put the hot jars back into the oven to seal.
Unfortunately the next day when I had inspected the jars of cold white fat, the bottoms of a few of the jars showed signs of brown, which I believe to be meat remnants.
In all of the posts I had read, it is crucial to be rid of all meat remnants as that it what will cause the fat to go rancid.
So I scooped it all out, rendered that fat once more in a big pot set on low on the stove top, and poured it twice through the sieve.
What I noticed when I opened the “oven sealed” jars, was that the seal was not as strong as I would have liked, so I decided to pressure can ALL of the jars I had rendered just to be double sure they will not spoil.
I had read by pressure canning you will extend the shelf life indefinitely.
The instructions are: 100 minutes at 15 lbs (I am above 1000 feet). The original instructions were 120 mins 10 lbs.
This is totally the way to render fat!!
The next morning all I had to do was pour it twice through the sieve into my clean jars. (I had read that when canning jars and lids do not have to be sterilized, as the canning process will do that for you, yeah! Another step taken out!)
I washed the instant pot and re filled it once more, set it on low for 8 hours.
By dinner time the fat was melted and I ran it through the mesh sieve.
After two batches I had enough jars filled (including the batch I rendered overnight) to fill the canner once more.
The leftover “cracklings” as they are called, though I did not fry my leftovers, but left them soft. I chilled the bowl full of leftover soft fat. Once hard I cut the fat into chunks, freezing it to add to my dog’s future meals.
My conclusion to this experiment, is is best to render the fat in the instant pot set for 8-10 hours.
I have read that some people use high heat to render the fat more quickly. But I believe that by doing so, your are browning more of the fat which is what you want to avoid.
The browned part will eventually, if you do not use your fat quick enough, will become rancid.
As I had a lot of fat to render, I will be storing it for a longer time, so I wanted to be sure it would not go bad before I had a chance to use it..which may be a year or two!
Over 3 days I managed to render and pressure can 16 pints of fat.
Some helpful information about oils vs fat:
For more info on how to render fat:
When you’re using lard as a substitute for shortening add a ½ cup extra flour for every ½ cup of lard you use.