In Which I Make Lard and Rub Tallow On My Face

See this beautiful, creamy white stuff?

No, it’s not buttercream frosting.

It’s lard.

And I made it myself!

If you had told me 15 years ago that I would be rendering my own lard from pig fat and using it to cook with, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Back then I experimented with vegetarianism, drank soy milk (the horrors!!) and thought milk was evil. I bought into the diet dictocrats’ message about fats, and thought saturated fats and cholesterol were bad too. I also wrecked my health, but that’s another story.

Now I know better. I use animal fats almost exclusively in my cooking. (The only exception is my beloved coconut oil, and very expensive olive oil from a Georgia olive orchard, which I use for homemade mayo and salad dressings.)

After researching fats and nutrition, several years ago I became convinced that vegetable oil and other fake fats are unhealthy. Here’s a great article from the Weston A Price website on this topic. There are many others, but that one is a great start for the unconvinced.

Bacon grease is wonderful for cooking greens, and eggs. Butter is good on just about anything, and increases the digestibility and taste of vegetables – but you can’t fry with it.

But lard? Lard makes the most delicious potatoes- french fries, oven fries, breakfast potatoes, crusts, and fried anything (Caleb has experimented with deep fried Newman-O’s, and homemade doughnuts). It’s great for frying corn tortillas for tacos too.

<—— This is what it looks like at first.

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All you do is cut it up into chunks, add a little water and cook it on low until it melts and “cracklins” come to the top. Skim those off, pour the melted fat into Mason jars and refrigerate. That’s when it turns that lovely white.

Of course, source is super important. I wouldn’t buy lard from the grocery store because it would have who-knows-what in it. I get my pig fat from the same farmer who sells me meat, milk, eggs and our vegetable share.

It comes in rather unattractive slabs. And you have to cut off the pig skin. (Enough with the selective squeamishness!) But rendering lard is super easy. I used these instructions to do it. The next time I did it in the slow cooker and it was even easier, and produced more lard!

I also have begun using animal fats on my face. When I heard about Vintage Traditions,  I ordered their skin balm right away. It’s made from tallow, which is made from the fat of cows (Lard is pig. Just in case you didn’t know that. Because I didn’t until recently.).

I highly recommend these articles about skin care ingredients. It makes perfect sense to me that the same ingredients that are nourishing to the body would nourish the skin as well. I love this stuff. I ordered the “light scent” the first time, but I can smell the tallow slightly. It’s not unpleasant, it just smells like a leather jacket or a saddle… or something. It made my husband want to jump me. Because he’s kind of a cowboy. Which makes it kind of perfect for a guy. Err… you know what I mean!

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Next time I’ll order the girlie scent though. I love the way it makes my skin feel. I don’t plan on buying any other moisturizer for nighttime again, ever.

(Note: This is not an affiliate link, but I wish it was! And Vintage Traditions didn’t even send me a product to sample. Boo! But I am buying it and telling you, just the same.)

Have you made any diet or skin care changes that would have shocked your former self?

About Carrie

Happy wife, homeschooling mom of many, autodidact, best-selling Amazon author, blogger, head chef and barefoot walker. Residing just outside Atlanta, usually found reading a book while sipping a hot beverage.

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