Store Lard Long Term ( Fast & Easy )

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Pure lard often remains an underestimated alternative to the highly processed, genetically modified fats commonly found on store shelves. Despite its historical controversies, lard maintains its status as a favored cooking ingredient, particularly among those well-versed in the ongoing debate between good and bad oils. Moreover, lard boasts a stable shelf life and a commendable smoke point ranging from 370 to 400 degrees.

For those who recall the era of the ever-present can of recycled bacon grease perched beside their mothers’ and grandmothers’ stoves, there’s a recognition that contemporary online advice leans toward caution rather than practical experience. However, a balance between safety and seasoned knowledge is crucial when compiling a comprehensive long-term food storage list.

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Storing Lard Long Term

The typical guideline suggests that your rendered pork fat can remain viable for approximately six months when stored at room temperature, up to a year in the refrigerator, and a few years in the freezer. Nonetheless, taking into account both personal experiences and empirical data, numerous seasoned homesteaders and preppers argue that its shelf life can extend well beyond these estimates.

In my experience, the most effective approach for long-term lard storage is canning it in jars and keeping it in a cool, dark, and dry environment, such as a basement or a root cellar. Keep in mind that it’s factors like light, oxygen, and moisture that lead to the oxidation and eventual rancidity of your lard.

Hence, I tend to avoid storing my lard in the refrigerator, as the additional moisture can be a concern, even though many individuals have managed to do so effectively.

When it comes to unrendered lard, the freezer stands out as the ideal choice until you’re ready to render it. However, personally, I prefer to reserve my freezer space for more valuable items. Once I’ve rendered my lard, I find that canning offers the optimal solution for long-term storage. If you want to know what are the uses of beef tallow then check out my recent article ( Top 11 ) Uses Of Beef Tallow.

Canning Lard

It’s crucial to emphasize that canning lard doesn’t follow the conventional canning methods involving water bath or pressure canning. While some individuals have successfully used these techniques, it’s important to note that canning lard is distinct.

Furthermore, it’s advisable to consider canning only if you’re using pasteurized, grass-fed lard. Commercially available lard often contains additives that can influence its shelf life.

Once your lard has been fully rendered, the process is straightforward: carefully transfer the liquefied lard into canning jars, leaving the customary headspace. After wiping the lids clean, securely seal the jars with appropriate canning lids. As the lard cools and solidifies, the jars will naturally vacuum seal, resulting in a shelf-stable product that can potentially last indefinitely, given the right storage conditions.

Opting for smaller canning jars is advisable, as it allows you ample time to consume the lard before it potentially turns rancid. Should you detect a rancid odor upon opening a jar, you can choose not to use it for culinary purposes. However, it’s important not to discard it, as there are various alternative applications for still-usable lard.

Considering the aspect of survival, the body requires essential fats for proper functioning, underscoring the importance of having a fat source on hand. Why not consider lard? Apart from being a convenient long-term storage option, lard serves as a valuable source of Vitamin D, offers health benefits comparable to butter, and can prove more cost-effective. Its versatility makes it a valuable addition to your preparedness supplies. If you want to know how to store cooking oil then check out my recent article Store Cooking Oil For Long Term Shelf Life ( In 6 Easy Steps ).

Types of Lard

Distinct types of lard exist, and it’s important to note that Crisco doesn’t fall within this category. The specific variety of lard significantly influences its shelf life. It’s crucial to understand that not all lards are equal, and various storage methods may not be universally effective for all types of lard.

Unrendered Lard

Any uncooked pig fat that is trimmed from pork is classified as unrendered. For instance, when purchasing sizable pork loins from a butcher, the excess fat can be trimmed and stored in the freezer. Once a sufficient amount accumulates, it can be rendered. While this unrendered fat can be utilized for cooking, it retains a pronounced pork flavor since it hasn’t undergone the rendering process. These fat remnants are particularly suitable for enhancing the taste of broths, soups, or beans by adding a porky essence.

It’s worth noting that while not officially categorized as lard, pig fat exists in several distinct forms:


Fatback refers to the sizable and firm slab of fat found adjacent to the backbone. It has a traditional application in imparting flavor to dishes like beans, leafy greens, and stews.

Leaf Lard

Derived from the region near the kidneys, leaf lard is regarded as the pinnacle of pork-derived fats. Its texture is exceptionally creamy and smooth, and it lacks the characteristic taste of pork. Due to its absence of pork flavor, leaf lard stands out as the optimal option for crafting delectable baked goods such as biscuits, donuts, and pie crusts.

Salted Pork

Salted pork encompasses both fatback and pork belly that have undergone salting and curing processes, extending their shelf life significantly. This preservation method was widely favored during the 18th century due to its remarkable ability to maintain edibility over time and its convenient portability. In the present day, considering salted pork remains a prudent choice for the same enduring qualities it offered back then.

Streaky Pork

Streaky pork occupies an intermediary position between the fatback and pork belly, characterized by its distinct layer of fat. Unlike the salted and cured varieties, streaky pork is traditionally left unsalted and uncured, offering a unique flavor profile and culinary versatility.


Excess pork fat collected from diverse cuts of meat such as ham, pork chops, pork loins, pork butt, and more.

Unrendered lard, obtained from raw meat, should be handled similarly to raw meat in terms of storage. Unless it’s been salted and cured, the most effective way to store unrendered lard for an extended period is in the freezer. While it can last a short time, typically a couple of days, in the refrigerator if you plan to use it quickly, its refrigerator shelf life is quite limited, akin to that of raw meat.

Common advice suggests that frozen lard can remain viable for anywhere between six months to three years. The longevity depends on the meticulousness of your freezing process. A recommended method involves wrapping fatback in butcher paper followed by vacuum sealing, a procedure similar to storing fresh cuts of beef. This approach should help prevent issues. Over time, freezer burn may occur, potentially affecting taste but not rendering the lard inedible or harmful.

It’s worth noting that unrendered pork fat doesn’t face the risk of turning rancid as it hasn’t undergone the conversion into oil yet.

Rendered Lard

The process of rendering lard involves gradually heating the fat, leading it to melt and detach from any surrounding connective tissues. After reaching a liquid state, the resultant substance is carefully filtered to eliminate any impurities from the oil.

Interestingly, rendered lard was actually utilized as a means of food preservation before the advent of refrigeration. While any oil can potentially become rancid under certain conditions, storing your rendered lard in a cool, dark, and dry environment undoubtedly contributes to extending its shelf life.

For the sake of safety, most recommendations advise using your rendered lard within a span of about six months. Your sense of smell can often help you determine if the oil has gone bad. Rancid oil emits a distinctive and easily recognizable odor.

The positive aspect is that consuming rancid oil won’t result in fatality. While it might not be pleasant to taste and could lead to mild stomach discomfort, unlike the risk of botulism, it’s not lethal. However, it’s important to highlight that continued consumption of rancid oils could potentially lead to negative health consequences, including accelerated aging, increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders. If you want to know how to store water long term then check out my recent article How To Store Water Long Term ( In 7 Easy Steps ).