Lard is a butchery mixture made out of the mechanization of fat pork, from which they extract the fat deposit underneath the skin of the glutei, lower back, and retro-occipital. The latter is broken, put under spices and salt, and subjected to a maturing process in tanks or basins.
There are two types of lard: Colonnata and Arnad. The former is a PGI product (Protected Geographic Product), and it is seasoned with chopped black pepper, peeled garlic, sea salt, rosemary, various spices (like nutmeg, cinnamon, carnation, and coriander) and cut into big pieces.
Its ageing takes about six months inside specific tanks made of marble. They are the same ones used to age brine.
Regarding the Arnad lard, it requires an ageing process of twelve months inside these wooden basins that are called doils. It’s a DPO product, and it is produced in a town of the same name in Valle d’Aosta.
Since it’s a product containing a high level of saturated fat, it’s specifically made to undergo peroxidative ageing, so it is paramount to know the best ways to store it. But what are these ways? Let’s find out together!
How to store sliced lard
Sliced lard has a brief life span, so it must be kept in the fridge for no longer than one day and covered with a cling film or a sheet of charcuterie paper.
Once it’s taken out of the fridge, eat it as soon as possible, and make sure that it doesn’t come in contact with air, as this natural element is this product’s worst enemy. The air causes it to oxidate instantaneously.
We advise that you freeze it instead since the fatty part would go wrong in an irreversible way.
If you wish to keep more stock of this sliced product, invest in the sealed packages sold at the fresh products department at the supermarket. However, pay maximum attention to the expiration date.
If the outer plastic wrap shows any swelling, do not buy! It means that the product has started to go wrong, and during this phase, it releases harmful toxic gas.
How to store whole lard
You can buy pieces of lard of various weights: they start from 250g up to a maximum of 50kg. When it comes to the shape, it’s usually shaped like a compressed prism, with the rind covered in a layer of seasoning.
It is common to cover the side where the lard is cut with a film to protect the product while it’s vacuum-packed.
If you buy a piece of whole lard, you can keep it refrigerated for up to one month, so long as you cover the side you have cut with a cling film or, even better, wrap it inside a wet cloth to preserve the softness.
We recommend that you not dispose of the left-over rind when cleaning the lard. Instead, spread it on the meat to cover it with its salt, maintaining flavors for as long as possible.
If you wish to freeze it, you must keep in mind that the moment fat is stored in a freezer, it takes on a whitish colour and does not become excessively hard.
So, any time you wish to eat a piece, you can take it out and easily slice through it with a sharp knife.
You can store frozen lard in the freezer for many years, but we advise using it within one year because it loses taste and consistency as time passes, making it difficult to cut through.
Main differences between the storage of sliced lard and whole lard
The main difference between the storage of sliced lard and a whole piece is in the timing. In the first case, the lard only lasts for one day, while in the second case, it can last for up to a month, so long as you take the necessary precautions.
When you are about to serve the whole lard, if it still has its rind, you must first cut it off with a sharp knife before serving the portions.
To avoid wasting the product and money, we recommend buying the quantity of lard that is just enough to satisfy your immediate needs.
If the surface of the meat starts to take on a yellowish coloration, avoid eating it because it means that it has begun to deteriorate.
This advice also applies when you can see shades of green or the detaching of various parts.
Nutritional values of the lard
100g of lard contains 891 Kcal, of which:
- 95mg of cholesterol;
- 99g of fat, of which 33.12g saturated fat, 37.14 monosaturated fat, and 28.77g of polysaturated fat;
- 1mg of potassium; and
- No presence of proteins and carbohydrates.
From the data listed above, you can tell that the lard is a product that is exceptionally high in fat and therefore must be eaten with extreme care. Besides weight gain, there is an increased risk of developing other health-related issues, starting from a high level of bad cholesterol.
We do not recommend this product for people who already suffer from it since it would only worsen.
All the ways you can use lard to cook
Lard is a versatile meat, and it can be used in different ways. You can pair it with toasted bread, on which it would melt to create a tasty union.
It also can be used to garnish and stuff red and lean meat, shellfish, fish, first courses, or sauces.
You are allowed to make it the main character of a decadent sandwich. Perhaps you can add pickled vegetables to counterbalance the substantial fatty part.
Recipes made with lard
In this final part, we propose some recipes made with lard, all of which are capable of exalting the flavours of this excellent Italian gastronomic product.
Homemade tagliatelle with lard, chestnuts, and grappa
The perfect first course to stay warm in winter and serve as a typically rustic meal at lunch or dinner.
Ingredients for six people:
For the homemade pasta:
- 500g of whole wheat flour
- 5 eggs
- A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- A pinch of salt
For the paste with lard
- 150g of washed chestnuts (you can use frozen or dried ones)
- 150g of Arnad lard
- Half cup of grappa
- Three sage leaves
- 80g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 80g of butter.
- Prepare your pasta by mixing all the ingredients until you obtain a smooth and uniform dough.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and allow it to rest for an hour at room temperature.
- Spread the dough into a pastry that is 2 millimetres thin using a rolling pin, and then cut out the pieces of tagliatelle.
- Place half of the butter in a broad and shallow pan with the chestnuts, sliced lard, and sage leaves.
- Brown the ingredients, turn off the heat, and deglaze with the grappa, paying attention to the flame.
- Cook the tagliatelle in plenty of salted water for three minutes, drain them and pour them into the pan with the chestnuts.
- Add the remaining butter, turn off the heat, and stir. Serve with a layer of grated Parmigiano.
Stuffed chicken roll with mortadella, raisin, and lard
A second course that is both rich and delicious, paired with fried or baked potatoes.
Ingredients for eight people:
- 200g of mortadella
- 500g of chicken fillets
- 30g of raisin
- 60g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 40g of non-salted pistachio without the shell
- Extra virgin olive oil as needed
- 200ml of milk
- 100g of thinly sliced lard
- 8 slices of sandwich bread
- Salt and pepper as needed
- Soak the raisin in a bowl filled with warm water and keep it aside.
- Slice off the crust from the bread, then immerse the pieces inside the milk and let them soak for 10 minutes before squeezing them thoroughly.
- Take 2/3 of the chicken fillets, finely chop it with the soaked bread and add salt and pepper.
- Finely chop the mortadella with considerable chops of the pistachios, grated cheese, and the well-squeezed raisin.
- Make a sausage with the mixture obtained.
- Arrange the remaining chicken fillets on a cling film and place the mixture at its centre.
- With the help of the film, roll it, then cover it up with the slices of lard.
- Wrap the sausage with baking paper, then seal both extremities like candy.
- Pour two cups of water into an oven tray and place the chicken roll inside. Cook it in a preheated oven at 200°C for 50 minutes.
- Please take out the chicken roll, unwrap it, let it rest for 10 minutes, flip it, and finish cooking it for the same amount of time.
- Allow the chicken roll to cool down, then slice it into pieces and serve.
Cabbage with smoked lard
Ingredients for six people:
- 1 kg of cabbage
- A cup of dry white wine
- 50g of smoked lard
- An onion
- 2 bay leaves
- A clove of garlic
- Salt and pepper as needed
- Extra virgin olive oil as needed
- Wash the cabbage, drain it, and slice it into strips.
- Finely chop the onion and fry it in a pan with three tablespoons of oil, diced lard, and the peeled clove of garlic.
- When the ingredients have become transparent, remove the garlic, pour in the cabbage, allow the mix to blend for a couple of minutes, dilute everything with white wine, enable the alcohol to evaporate, and finally, add your desired quantity of salt and pepper.
- Add the bay leaves, add just enough water to submerge the vegetable mix, and let it steam for three hours at low heat.
- The water must dry up almost completely.
- You can serve the cabbage as a side or lay it on toasted bread.