Preservation methods have evolved throughout history, with techniques ranging from canning and pickling to freezing and dehydrating. One traditional way that has stood the test of time is preserving foods in lard.

Lard, which is rendered pig fat, has been used for centuries to extend the shelf life of various foods. Not only does it protect against spoilage, but it also imparts a rich and savory flavor to the items it preserves.

In this article, we will explore 10 foods that can be preserved in lard, showcasing our ancestors’ culinary creativity and resourcefulness.

While there are numerous, complicated scientific reasons why lard is an excellent preservation method, to keep it simple, lard creates an environment that is inhospitable to bacteria. Lard works like salt, blocking bacteria growth and keeping food moist and flavorful. Since lard has no salt and is simply animal fat, this method is healthier and guaranteed to create a tasty meal.

Pork10 Foods To Store In Lard For A Long Shelf Life

Let’s start with the obvious choice: pork preserved in lard. This method, known as confit, involves slowly cooking pork in its own fat until it becomes tender and succulent.

The result is a delectable treat that can be stored for a very long time.

Pork confit can be used in various dishes, from tacos to pasta. The key to storage of any meat when using lard is to ensure the meat is fully submerged in the fat. This prevents air from penetrating the meat and prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria.

You can learn here the simplest method for butchering and preserving a pig for a whole year without refrigeration, just as my grandparents used to do.


This one may be obvious, but you can also preserve your fresh herbs in lard. Preserving fresh herbs in lard is a fantastic way to capture their flavors and aromas for later use.

Herb-infused lard can be used as a cooking fat, drizzled over roasted vegetables, or spread on bread for a fragrant treat. It can even be used as a unique salad dressing.

Once again, creating this delightful treat is super simple. Ensure you completely submerge the herbs in hot lard before storing them in a cool space for later. When ready to use the stored herbs, submerge the container in hot water to melt the lard and enjoy the tasty treat inside.

Chicken10 Foods To Store In Lard For A Long Shelf Life

You can also store chicken using lard. Chicken preserved in lard is a fantastic way to keep this versatile protein on hand for the future. I have tried this and found it helpful to combat the ever-increasing prices at the grocery store.

I opted to shred the chicken and use it in sandwiches, salads, or tacos. Also, I always ensured it was fully cooked before storing it in my cold cellar. Again. The lard ensures the meat stays moist, flavorful, and free from bacteria.


Caramelized onions are a beloved addition to any dish, and you can achieve this caramelization by preserving onions in lard.

Much like garlic, onions preserved in lard will hold flavor and remain moist. Use lard-infused onions to enhance the flavors of your stews, burgers, or sandwiches.

Garlic10 Foods To Store In Lard For A Long Shelf Life

It is not only meats that can benefit from the use of lard. In fact, lard can be used with many foods to extend shelf life and infuse flavor. One excellent example is garlic. Preserving garlic in fat extends its shelf life and transforms it into a truly delicious ingredient for cooking.

The cloves, which will soften over time, can add a mellow, roasted garlic flavor to sauces, soups, and roasted vegetables. Garlic that has been stored in fat holds in moisture and absorbs any flavors you have added to it. It is the most delightful thing to cook with if you love garlic, like I do.


While sardines are an acquired taste, they hold some benefits. Preserving sardines in lard is a timeless method that enhances the flavor of the fish while keeping it tender. Furthermore, preserved sardines can be enjoyed on toast, in salads, or as a protein-packed addition to pasta dishes.

Mushrooms10 Foods To Store In Lard For A Long Shelf Life

Another fantastic ingredient I always want to have on hand is mushrooms. Unfortunately, I find they spoil rather quickly. However, mushrooms preserved in lard last much longer and can be stored for extended periods.

These mushrooms make for a savory treat or flavorful ingredient later. Preserved mushrooms can be added to omelets, pasta dishes, or pizza, among other things.


Yes, you can even use lard to preserve cheese! This technique, known as cheese larding, involves encasing cheese wheels in fat to protect them from drying out or developing mold. When cheese is preserved this way, the lard provides a seal that keeps it fresh for extended periods.


Surprisingly, fruits can also be preserved in lard. Fruits have always been a popular preservative among canners, and lard can help make this process even easier.

This technique, known as fruit confit, involves poaching fruits in a mixture of lard and sugar until they become tender and sweet. Preserved fruits can be used as a topping for desserts, stored for later use, or enjoyed as a sweet treat.

Duck10 Foods To Store In Lard For A Long Shelf Life

Duck confit is another classic. To make duck confit, tender duck legs are cooked in lard until they are meltingly tender and infused with flavor.

The cooked meat is then placed in a crock or large container and covered with hot lard.

Once the lard cools and hardens, the meat is encased in a protective layer. Thanks to the seal the fat provides, duck confit can be kept for 3-4 months if stored in a cool, dark space in an airtight container. When you’re ready, simply heat the meat in the oven and enjoy a gourmet meal at your fingertips.

The How-To

Begin by cleaning and sterilizing the container you will use for storage. Heat your lard and cook your meat thoroughly. You can season the meat however you like, just as you would to eat it. In fact, this is an excellent option for those meals with many leftovers.

Once the meat is fully cooked, create layers of meat and lard in your crock or container. Layering ensures the fat can cover every inch and no air can get in. Remember, the lard is going to be hot, so be careful. It is also important to ensure the lard covers the meat entirely and there are no areas where air pockets could form.

Ensure a generous amount of lard is on the top of the container. I usually have at least 2-3 inches of lard at the top of my storage container to ensure the meat is fully encased and protected. This is also helpful for large portions where you will be removing a small amount here and there. The excess lard remains to allow you to recover the food later if desired.

Related: 50+ Foods That Last 10 Years

Allow the lard to solidify, and then cover it with wax paper. The wax paper will help to create a seal and keep air out of the meal without sticking to the food, breaking down, or compromising the flavor.

Cover the crock or container and store it in a dark, consistently cold place, no matter the outside temperature. That’s it. It is effortless.

Preserving foods in lard is a time-honored technique that extends the shelf life of various ingredients and enhances their flavor and versatility. The possibilities for using lard as a preservation method are endless, from meats to vegetables, herbs, and even cheese and fruits.

Whether you’re looking to experiment with classic recipes, store food for an emergency, or add a touch of culinary nostalgia to your dishes, consider giving lard preservation a try – you might discover a newfound appreciation for this traditional method.

This article first appeared here.

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