We are down to the last jar of lard and it is time to add some more jars of lard to the pantry. I buy the Morrell Snow cap lard in 4 pound buckets when it is on sale. This lard stores great in the cool dry basement and does not seem to go rancid very quickly. I have stored this fat for two years in the basement and it seems to do as good or better than most fats or oils for the length of storage time. From what I have researched about storing lard it is the little bit of skin and meat left in home rendered lard that contributes to the fat turning rancid. I can’t say this is true for me since I use a commercial product that is filtered. I would be very careful using this method if you render lard at home. I suppose it comes down to how quickly you use lard and how clear you can get it cleaning off the “cracklins”.
The first step is starting with clean jars and lids. I like the 1/2 pint wide mouth jars as they are easy to dip a paper towel or fork to add a bit of fat to a skillet or to season a cast iron pan. I preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. and place the clean jars in a pan and then set them into the oven until all of the jars are completely dry. I slowly heat up a pan full of lard on the stove top and the canning lids are warmed up but not boiled. A 12 pack of the 1/2 pint jars will hold exactly 4 pounds of melted lard.
Once the lard is liquid, and canning jars are dry I get them out of the oven and fill them up, wipe any excess oil off the jar and set on the lids. After some time most of the lids will seal and make a sort of popping sound. Please note, this is not a government approved method of storing lard or butter but it has worked well for me. You do this process at your own risk! Any jars that don’t “pop/seal” I use those jars first!
I use the same process if I want to bottle butter but I add a small marble to the jar and shake it while the jar cools so the butter does not separate as much. You could skim the milk fat solids off the melted butter and make clarified butter or ghee. With the fat solids removed, the butter should have a much longer storage life. I have read that ghee/clarified butter stores much better in temps above 75 degrees F. and can last 5-7 years in storage. I have not tested the storage time for clarified butter but I have tested the bottle butter at 18-24 months and it was good to eat.
I like this method for storage because if you screw up the fats will go rancid and your sniffer will tell you if you have a bad product. I also think that the FDA is full of crap about how natural oils and fats are bad for a person, yet highly refined and chemical infused vegetable fats are great, simply because they are liquid at room temperature. Just look at the ingredient list on a package of margarine and vegetable/canola oils. If you have stored some of those oils and don’t want to use them in food prep, just add them to your oils for things like squeaky hinges, bicycle chains, rust preventive for garden tools and other jobs that need a light weight oil in the shop/garage or around the house.