Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance has a good article up on Cooking with Animal Fat. In some sort of long term disaster scenario, it will be easier for most people to procure animal fats than vegetable fats. Lard, as one example of animal fat, is shelf stable for four to six months at room temperature, which also happens to be the same amount of time that it took for pioneers to travel the Oregon Trail. A family of four on the Oregon Trail would take around two hundred pounds of lard with them for the journey. An excerpt from the Practical Self Reliance article is below:
Animal fats can be a healthy part of any diet, especially from a grass-fed and pasture-raised animal. Learning to cook with lard, tallow, and schmaltz is easier and healthier than you might think.
Whether you’re rendering fat from scratch or buying good quality animal fat, there’s never been a better time to reintroduce this classic kitchen staple back into your culinary repertoire.
Animal fats have been through a lot in the last 30 years. Once a staple in kitchens across the country, lard and tallow were largely eliminated from American cuisine in the early 90s when fat-free diets became popular.
At the time, margarine and vegetable shortening became the new popular kids on the block — it was down with natural fats and in with super-processed, high-in-trans-fat alternatives!
We now know that those synthetic, processed trans fats have nasty health consequences, and studies are now confirming the wisdom of a traditional diet with plenty of natural animal fats. (And grass-fed bone broth too!)
Now the pendulum seems to be swinging in the opposite direction and animal fats are making a resurgence. Maybe you’ve noticed the appearance of duck fat-fried potatoes on your local bistro menu or you’ve made an astonishingly perfect pie crust using lard instead of shortening.
Or perhaps you’ve read about the health benefits of using animal fats, many of which are rich sources of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Whatever your reason for wanting to introduce more animal fats into your diet, there are plenty of reasons and resources to get you started.
BENEFITS OF ANIMAL FATS
Animal fats have been vilified for so long that it’s refreshing to see a resurgence in public interest around the once-taboo ingredient’s many health and culinary benefits. Both lard and tallow are high in vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids and lack any of the trans fats which are prevalent in commercially prepared vegetable shortenings.
Depending on the recipe, food that has been prepared using animal fats tends to be crispier, flakier, and ultra-flavorful. If the fat is prepared properly before rendering, that is, all the meat has been removed, it should be fairly flavorless and odorless.
Instead of introducing a “gamey” flavor, the rendered fat should work to enhance the natural flavors of the remaining ingredients.
Readily available animal fat is an added bonus of the tip-to-tail lifestyle, it would be incredibly wasteful to dispose of fat instead of finding a use for it — whether that’s in the kitchen or elsewhere.
Even small animals like squirrels are a potentially good source of animal fat, I’ve found it largely comes down to trial and error in terms of which fats are best for cooking with.
TYPES OF ANIMAL FATS
The world of animal fats is vast and varied, with many different factors contributing to taste, texture, and usage.
The type of animal is top of the list, but other factors include where on the animal’s body it’s harvested from, how and what the animal is fed, and the season it’s harvested…(continues at PSR)