Why You Should Use Lard Instead of Butter or Margarine

Lard is healthier than butter and margarine.

Why You Should Use Lard Instead of Butter or Margarine

The idea of cooking with lard or even eating it on a piece of toast might sound unhealthy. However, lard is healthier for you than butter and margarine, according to nutritionists, Paleo dieters, and famous chefs. Food Network's Alton Brown proclaims that lard is the best cooking fat ever. Some southern cooks use lard much more than their northern friends. In fact, some northerners might not even know about lard.

About Lard

Lard is one of the oldest ingredients for frying. It is a semi-soft, white fat located in the fattiest portions of a pig. Lard contains no trans fats and is a popular cooking fat. Food and Wine reported that lard contains just 40 percent saturated fat compared to nearly 60 percent in butter. Lard has 45 percent monounsaturated fat, which is good fat. That doubles butter's 23 percent. Lard contains none of the trans fats that are bad for you.

People who do not eat pork will not use lard because it is made of 100 percent fat that comes from the fatty parts of a pig.

Reasons to Cook with Lard

Those who have no dietary restrictions about eating pork should cook with lard for many reasons. Lard is not bad for you. In fact, cooking with lard has many benefits, and more chefs are choosing lard over other traditional cooking oils or shortenings. Lard is one of the highest sources of vitamin D, the nutrient that is deficient in about 42 percent of adults in the United States. One tablespoon of butter has nine units of vitamin D, and olive oil has none. Therefore, it is better to cook with lard instead of with butter, margarine, vegetable, or another shortening.

Foods cooked taste much better when they are cooked with lard. It is ideal for frying foods such as chicken and pork chops. They turn out crispy the way some people like them to be. Lard is the go-to shortening for baking because it makes pie crusts and biscuits flaky rather than them being greasy and soggy.

(Photo via pixnio)

The Versatility of Lard

Not only does lard have many health benefits, but it is also versatile with many good qualities. Even though the cooking ingredient comes from a pig, it has a neutral taste and contains no pork flavor . Lard contains healthy monounsaturated fats, just like olive oil

Most of the time lard is used for frying and baking, but it also can be used for roasting, grilling, sauteeing, and making stir fry vegetables. It can be used just like oil, butter, or shortening. Lard is delicious on a piece of toast. Try it instead of using butter or margarine.

(Photo via Public Domain/commons.wikimedia.org)

Which Is Which?

Shortening is made of 100 percent fat, just like lard. Butter is made of only 80 percent fat. Even though lard and butter are both used in baked goods, lard has some properties that make it a favorite of many bakers. The melting point of lard is lower than butter, which results in flakier baked goods. Lard produces the ideal texture for biscuits and pie crusts.

Lard is made of pure animal fat and shortening is made of vegetable oil. Shortening behaves the same way as lard in baking, producing flaky layers. However, shortening doesn't give foods the same flavor or richness as lard.

When choosing a cooking fat, don't rule out lard as an option. In addition to the reasons listed above, lard is very affordable. Keep in mind that not every grocery store carries lard. If your local supermarket does carry it, it will be located either on the shelves with cooking oils, in the meat section, or even in the ethnic food aisle.

Margaret Minnicks
Margaret Minnicks
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Margaret Minnicks

Margaret Minnicks shares articles with readers all over the world. Topics include celebrities, royal family, movies, television, foods, drinks, health issues, and other interesting things. Thanks in advance for TIPS that are sent my way.

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