If you’re a fan of traditional cooking, you probably already know how important lard is. As a shelf-stable and easy-to-use cooking fat, lard was one of the most widely available options for home chefs, which means it’s in a lot of different recipes.
But long-term storage for lard can be a bit trickier than other cooking fats. After all, it doesn’t come in a bottle like olive oil, and you usually can’t find it in paper-wrapped sticks like butter either.
Thankfully, lard is mostly shelf-stable.
But can you freeze lard as well? Yes, lard freezes easily and good, and it’s a fantastic way to preserve this ingredient.
Here’s what you need to know about freezing and storing lard, and how you can make sure your lard is well protected.
Does Lard Freeze Well?
Freezing lard is one of the most effective ways to keep it fresh and make sure it tastes good long term. It’s a great option if you’re looking to store a lot of lard since frozen lard usually lasts longer than lard kept in a cabinet or in the fridge.
However, lard needs to be well rendered and purified to freeze well. If your lard still contains excess water or other impurities, it’s a lot more likely that it will suffer from freezer burn or other problems in the freezer.
Thankfully, those problems are rare in store-bought lard, and you can even make high-quality lard by rendering it at home.
Pros and Cons Of Freezing Lard
Here are some of the most important pros and cons of freezing lard.
- Helps lard last longer
- Protects against bacteria and other contaminants
- Prevents fungal growth
- Keeps the lard texture consistent
- Lots of storage options for freezing lard
- Freezing may make the flavor more subtle
- Freezer burned lard isn’t as versatile
How To Freeze Lard?
Freezing lard is relatively simple. Even compared with other cooking fats, freezing lard is easier because it doesn’t need as much protection.
That’s because lard is basically 100% animal fat. Unlike butter and other cooking fats, it’s not a combination of different kinds of fats and liquids and solids, it’s all animal fat and its natural state is very stable and solid.
Plus, rendering lard properly eliminates the extra water and helps make sure there isn’t any moisture left that can freezer burn or cause other problems.
The trick with lard is in picking how you want to freeze it.
Here are some of my best tips on freezing lard:
- You can freeze lard in a tub or a butter container as long as you know that the container was completely clean and completely dry before you poured the rendered lard in. Even a little bit of moisture increases the chances of your lard getting freezer burn.
- If you need smaller sections of lard for cooking, you might want to freeze your lard in an ice cube tray. Melt the rendered lard and then pour it directly into the ice cube tray to freeze.
- If you want to get the ice tray back, you can pop the lard out and store it in a freezer-safe bag instead of in the tray. Since there’s not much moisture in the lard it shouldn’t freezer burn even if it’s not closely wrapped.
- Alternatively, you can use a glass mason jar or another sterile container to store your lard. Just slice out the lard as you need it, since you shouldn’t freeze your lard more than once if you want to preserve its flavor and properties as a cooking oil.
How Long Does Lard Last In The Freezer?
Properly frozen and without any added moisture, frozen lard can last between 1-3 years. Most people recommend not freezing your lard for longer than 1 year though, because past that point the risk of freezer burn goes up.
The longer you store your lard in the freezer, the more likely it is to develop a freezer taste or smell, especially if it’s not carefully wrapped or is stored in an open container.
To avoid that, try to choose an airtight container like a closed mason jar.
How Do You Thaw Lard?
There are really two ways to thaw lard if you need solid lard, leave it on the counter, or thaw it in the fridge overnight.
These options are good for things like crusts, baking with lard, and other applications where you need the lard solid when you get started.
But if you’re making soup with lard or deep frying in lard you can just put it on the stove and heat it to liquid form direct from frozen. This is the fastest method, but it’s not as effective if you need solid lard since it can take hours for liquid lard to harden again, even in the fridge.
The best option is usually to thaw slowly in the fridge since that’s going to be the gentlest way and the best way to protect the flavor.
What Can I Use Lard For?
Lard is commonly used in things like fried chicken and other deep-fried foods. The amish especially fry in lard since it’s a completely natural product.
You can also use lard for things like Chinese hot pot that need a lot of flavorful fats. It’s a perfect base for meaty or heavily spiced soups.
It’s even a good option for a richer, more flavorful pie crust!
Also interesting to read: Can you freeze shortening.
Does Lard Expand When Frozen?
Lard does expand when it’s frozen, but only slightly since there isn’t much water in high-quality lard.
Is Lard A Healthy Fat?
Lard is a trick fat when it comes to health concerns. It’s a monosaturated fat, which is a good thing and can contain a lot of healthy nutrients. However, it’s not as healthy as alternatives like olive oil and avocados.
Is Lard Or Crisco Healthier?
Lard is usually considered healthier than Crisco because the lipid-chains in lard are shorter, and there are fewer contaminants in lard since it doesn’t need to go through a chemical process to be created.
Lard is a fantastic food if you’re looking for more all-natural fats in your diet, or to explore older cuisine and foods from other parts of the world. Now that you know how to freeze lard safely, you have everything you need to start experimenting with this wonderful ingredient.