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A guide to preserving food in lard
By Zoey Sky // Jun 06, 2018

If you're searching for a natural way to preserve food in animal fat, look no further than lard.


Naturally salt-cured meat, like bacon, contains salt, a great preserving agent. Thanks to the salt in bacon, bacteria can't multiply in the meat.

However, there's a healthier, more natural method that lessens the salt content used for this process: Preserving meat in lard. Aside from requiring a smaller amount of salt, lard doesn't contain harmful chemicals. You just need to get your hands on lard, or pork fat.

Lard is easy to make or render, and preserving meat in it or other animal fats can prevent bacteria from multiplying in your food. (h/t to Survivopedia.com)

What is a confit?

A confit is any type of food preserved by cooking it slowly over a long period of time. A method that's been used for several centuries, "confit" is French in origin and it means "preservation."

Duck confit is a delicacy and it was traditionally made with salt-cured meat like duck, goose, pork, or turkey. The older methods of making confit also involved poaching the meat it in its own fat until it’s tender and the meat is then covered in the fat and stored.

A properly confited bird can be stored in a cool, dry place for at least six months. Ideally, the confit should be eaten in the first six months, but you can extend the storage time for another six months. However, this means the confit won't taste as good.

The process is the same for a pork or beef confit. Don't skip the salt-curing step which can add flavor and keep bacteria out of the confit. (Related: Frying your food in lard is healthier than using sunflower oil, say scientists.)

Here's the traditional way of making confit based on a recipe by Madeleine Kamman, author of "The New Making of a Cook." The process of making a salt-cured duck confit can last for about two days.

Confit of duck


  • 1 Turkish bay leaf (finely crumbled)
  • 8 cups of rendered duck fat
  • 36 garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Six duck legs
  • 1/8 teaspoon (tsp) ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp finely crumbled dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger


  1. Combine all the spices and sprinkle them evenly over the duck legs. Measure out enough kosher salt so you have 1/3 of an ounce for each pound of meat, and sprinkle it evenly over the legs.
  2. Set the duck legs in a flat, glass baking dish with the garlic cloves. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and cure the duck in the refrigerator for 36 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C), then remove all the liquid from the baking dish. Pat the legs, garlic cloves, and dish dry. Return the legs and garlic to the dish then cover it with the duck fat.
  4. Bake the duck legs until the garlic cloves turn a deep golden color. This may take about two to two-and-a-half hours. Once the meat has cooled in the fat, transfer it to a large canning jar.
  5. Use a cheesecloth to strain the fat, then pour enough fat over the meat. Cover the duck with at least an inch of fat. Cool the duck legs completely, seal the jar, and store in a cool, dark place like a cellar or refrigerator for about six months.

Preserving food in lard

If you want to skip the steps for making a confit, you can go straight to preserving food in lard. Frank G. Ashbrook outlines the process in his book, "Butchering, Processing, and Preservation of Meat."

Ashbrook noted that well-made lard has various applications, and it can be used to make incredible dishes. When used with fresh meat, lard can preserve meat for a long time.


  • Crock (ceramic pot)
  • Jar with ring and seal
  • Wax paper


  • Lard
  • Meat (e.g., pork chops, pork steak, roast pork, or sausage patties)


  1. Cook the meat as if you would serve it, then place it in a dry, sterilized crock. Immediately cover the meat with hot lard.
  2. Cover the meat and lard with clean wax paper and place the crock cover on it.
  3. Store in a cool, dry place. Unless you're keeping the meat in a storage area that's always cold, do not keep meat packed in lard during hot weather.

If you remove meat from the crock pot, always pack down the remaining meat and cover it again with melted lard to prevent air from getting into the meat. Store the meat in a small crock pot to extend its shelf life.

The next time you want to preserve meat, consider using lard to enhance its flavor and extend its shelf life.

You can read more articles on other food storage tips at Foodsupply.news.

Sources include:



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