With so many cooking oils and fats on the market, everyone has a favorite or a preference. Some are just becoming popular now, and some are used for centuries already.
Lard can be considered traditional cooking fat. In your grandma’s secret recipes she passed down to you, you can see lard more often than anything else. And for a reason, too – pies made with lard instead of oil or butter have better crusts!
You respect your grandma and her recipes, so you bought a brick of lard in the supermarket. It seems like a lot of fat, and it will take quite some time to finish it all.
Consequently, you will ask yourself: does lard go bad? How much time do you have to finish the whole brick? For the answers, continue reading this article!
What Is Lard?
Lard is a solid, creamy-white fat product made from the fat tissue of pigs. It’s made by steaming or boiling. If it’s well-rendered, it should have little to no smell or taste. When in the supermarket, lard is usually formed as brick or block, wrapped in tissue paper.
The reason behind the popularity of cooking with lard is that this cooking fat contains no trans fats. The content of lard is mostly saturated fatty acids, which are good for your health. Lard is a better option for cooking than most commercial vegetable oils and even butter!
Let’s check out the nutritional value of one ounce of lard:
|Nutritional value||Amount||Daily value in %*|
One more point toward the lard over other cooking alternatives is the high smoke point (because of the high amount of saturated fats). That means it produces less smoke when heating compared to other cooking fats, and it gives food some extra flavor. Many professional cooks prefer using lard for preparing certain dishes.
Smoke points of oils and fats:
|Butter||200 – 250°F|
Does Lard Go Bad?
Lard is gaining more and more popularity in kitchens across the US. You spotted some on sale and you’re thinking stocking up, but you’re not sure does lard go bad. Is it a reckless investment?
Without further delay, yes. Lard can go bad. Like pretty much all cooking fats, it has a point when it simply expires. The high-fat content keeps lard safe for quite some while, but it’s bound to go bad sooner or later.
Why does lard go bad? Lard goes bad because of a process called rancidity. In other words, lard goes bad because the fat molecules oxidize – they turn rancid. Exposure to fresh air can shorten the shelf life of lard. So, with proper care and storage, you will ensure that it doesn’t happen too fast! If you’re wondering does bacon grease go bad, read our article here.
Proper storage of lard ensures that it doesn’t go rancid before its time. There are a few basic rules that you should adhere to, and your lard is safe.
- First off, consider transferring the lard into a plastic or glass container. Choose one that can be closed airtight, to prevent any air from coming in. however, if you don’t want to do that for any reason – wrap the brick of lard tightly with wax paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Next, pick a storage place away from a window or sources of heat like a radiator or an air vent – those factors can make lard go rancid in no time. The pantry is ideal, but the lard can be refrigerated, too.
- When you’re opting for the fridge for storage, using an airtight container is especially important. Lard can soak up smells from its surroundings, which can affect the smell and taste of food cooked with lard.
The Shelf Life Of Lard
The shelf life of lard is determined by the type of storage for the most part. So, when you buy a package of lard, you can see a best-by date printed on the label.
A best-by date, or best-before date, means that the food has a manufacturer’s guarantee that it will retain the same quality (up to that date). The product in question will not go bad after that date passes, but the quality will gradually start to degrade.
Moreover, lard stored at room temperature (pantry or cupboard) has the shortest shelf life. Make sure to use it in up to three months past the best-before date.
If you decide to store the lard in the refrigerator, the situation is a little better. Use it within six months past the best-by date. Do note that these numbers are only estimates, and you should always make sure that it’s fine before you use it.
Can lard even be frozen? Yes!
Lard can be frozen to prolong the shelf life. Lard can be stored in the freezer for around two years if you store it according to our tips.
There are two ways to freeze lard:
- Use wax paper to wrap the block of lard. Wrap it tightly and completely – make sure that there aren’t any gaps. Then wrap it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and place it in the freezer.
- Remove the original packaging or wrap and place the block in a plastic, airtight container.
Lard doesn’t have to be defrosted when you take it out of the freezer. You can just scoop up some or cut up a slice of frozen lard and throw it into the pan! Just make sure to return the rest to the freezer right away.
Once the lard thaws, it shouldn’t be frozen again. Use it up within a few weeks upon thawing for the best results.
Extra tip: use a wooden spoon when scooping up lard – metal spoons can bend because lard is rather hard when frozen!
Ways To Check If The Lard Has Gone Bad
So, you’ve bought some lard a while ago. You can’t remember exactly when, and you cannot check either – you’ve thrown away the original packaging. If it looks suspicious, and you’re not sure about using it – read this section carefully to learn how to check out your lard.
First, open the container or wrap and examine the surface. Mold growth on lard is not likely, but it can happen if you store it in a humid place. Nevertheless, if you can spot mold, it’s very dangerous to use this lard, and it should be discarded.
The next step is doing a sniff test. If the lard has gone rancid, it will develop a certain off smell. This smell is easy to recognize since fresh lard is usually odorless. Any unpleasant smells are a sign that the lard is no longer safe to use.
However, if your lard smells fine, but you are still having some doubts, a taste test will clear your head. Take a small bite to determine the state of lard. If it doesn’t have a taste, it’s still good. But if it tastes stale, or just bad, it’s time to throw it out!
Ingesting lard that has turned rancid is not likely to make you seriously ill, though. It can result in an upset stomach, but that’s about it. However, rancid lard can make your food taste horrible, and it can ruin the entire meal. That is why you should always check the freshness before you start cooking with this type of fat.
Furthermore, if you’ve unearthed an old brick of lard well past the best-by date, your best bet is throwing it out. Don’t push your luck!
Does Lard Go Bad? – Conclusion
In conclusion, lard can go bad. It spoils because fatty acids inside go rancid, but thankfully, it lasts quite a long time.
Lard is simple to store – store it at room temperature or in the fridge, both are fine. Just keep it away from sources of light and heat. Wrap it tightly, or transfer the lard in an airtight container to prevent lard from going rancid.
Let’s note once again: if you store the lard in the pantry, it’s good for three months after the best-by date. And if it’s refrigerated, it will keep for six months after the date on the label. If that just doesn’t seem like enough, opt for the freezer to keep lard fresh for two more years.
Lastly, check out the lard if you’re not sure about using it. Remember, a sniff and taste test is foolproof!