I prefer to render lard on the stove top, so if you're learning how to render lard from this method, take care to ensure you have a high-quality, heavy bottomed stock pot. Two and one-half pounds of fresh leaf lard or hog fat will produce approximately one-half gallon of creamy, nutrient-dense fat.
With a sharp knife, trim any blood spots or remaining meat from the lard.
Chop the fat into ½-inch cubes.
Add the chopped fat and the filtered water to a heavy bottomed stock pot and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
After about 45 minutes to one hour, the water will evaporate, the fat will begin to melt and the cracklings - little bits of browned fat - will begin to float to the surface of the pot. Continue to gently stir the melted fat periodically, taking care not to let it splatter.
Eventually those cracklings will sink to the bottom of the stock pot, at that point you may remove your pot from the heat.
Line a fine mesh sieve with a 100% cotton cheesecloth and strain the melted fat, reserving the cracklings for another use (they're quite nice salted and eaten as a snack or served in place of breadcrumbs in a gratin).
Pour the melted fat into mason jars and allow to cool. The melted fat will be golden-brown in color, but, when cooled, will appear a creamy white.
Use your freshly rendered lard in pastries or as a fat for braising vegetables or seasoning meats.
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