Lard is the most famous Ukrainian product in the world. They love him very much in Russia too. But nutritional historians believe that it was not very popular among the Russians: above the geographical line passing through Smolensk, Tula, Penza and Samara, they practically did not eat it.
And only in the Soviet period, when there was a mixture of peoples, Lard, along with the settlers, spread throughout the country and fell in love all peoples into itself.
The oldest documented lard-making tradition has existed since the days of Ancient Rome in Northern Italy. As in the old days, without changing the recipe, they still make two types of Lard – “Lardo di Colonata” and “Lard d’Arna”.
But actually, lard was loved in many countries. The Balkan Slavs called him “slanina”, the Poles called it “slon”, the Germans called it “speck”, in the USA – “fatback” (fat from the back). In addition, lard was also popular as melted lard, which has the consistency of butter.
When it is mixed with cracklings and spread on black bread, as they do in Transcarpathia and Germany, it is simply delicious. And for many centuries, mankind has considered lard to be a tasty and healthy product. And in scientific medical works back in the 1930s. in the USA, it was called one of the healthiest fats. Today in the United States, lard has been erased from life in general, it is practically not there. And the rest of the world believes that this is one of the most harmful foods.
It was sentenced in the early 1960s, when the United States declared war on cholesterol: animal fats, and above all lard, were considered its main sources. In 1995, when the Lard was gone and margarines with trans fats almost completely replaced it, it suddenly became clear that there was nothing more dangerous than these trans fats. They stimulated the development of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes, and some types of cancer.
The truth about cholesterol
In 100 grams of lard there is one third of the daily value of this substance. But, firstly, it is not as dangerous as our own cholesterol synthesized in the liver. Secondly, there is a lot of choline in Lard, and it weakens the harmful effects of cholesterol and protects blood vessels. So lard is not as harmful as it was presented to us for a long time. In moderate doses (optimally 30-40 g per day), it is quite useful.
There is another powerful argument for lard – it’s perfect for cooking. And especially for frying, where it has traditionally been used. Today dishes are usually fried in vegetable oils, especially in sunflower oil. So, our favorite sunflower oil, together with corn oil, is the worst for this. This was proved in an experiment by Professor Martin Grutveld from the University of Leicester De Montfort in the UK.
The so-called beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids of vegetable oils turn into very harmful peroxides and aldehydes during frying. They contribute to the development of cancer, atherosclerosis, joint diseases, etc. It turned out to be best to fry in oils, where there are few such useful fatty acids – this is olive and butter, goose fat and lard. At high temperatures, they are more stable, and as a result, toxic aldehydes and peroxides are not formed. Professor Grutveld strongly recommends frying with these fats.
When is the best time for lard?
Do you know when is the best lard? In the morning, for breakfast. Our toiling liver distills liters of blood during the night, cleansing it of toxins, and sends all these “waste” to bile. And lard helps to “expel” this bile into the intestines in the morning. Bile, in turn, is the best stimulator of intestinal motility, which means it helps to remove all unnecessary from the body.
So – I had a delicious breakfast and brought benefits to the body. One misfortune – you don’t eat garlic in the morning, it is unlikely that those around you will be happy with the garlic smell.
Why is lard better to eat with garlic? It is believed that eating Lard with garlic give you a selenium which is extremely necessary for us, and at the same time in a well-assimilated form. And garlic – the same storehouse of selenium, acts as an excellent partner for lard.
The Russian Academy of Medical Sciences claims that about 80% of Russians are deficient in this extremely necessary trace element, not in vain called the “mineral of longevity.” By the way, for many years a story has been circulating on the Internet that the diet of the “Kremlin elders” – the oldest Politburo in the early 80s, always included 30 g of this most useful product every day.
These 30 grams are the optimal dose for a healthy adult.
The benefits of lard
What else is the use of lard? In fat-soluble vitamins A, E and D, in arachidonic acid, which is a part of cell membranes, in enzymes of the heart muscle. This essential fatty acid “turns on” the immune response of our body to viruses and bacteria, and is involved in cholesterol metabolism.
Yes, it is also found in other foods, but for example in butter it is ten times less than in lard. And unlike fresh milk, where the level of arachidonic acid falls rather quickly, in fat it remains practically unchanged.
Lard and cholesterol
Are you still afraid of cholesterol and consider Lard as one of the provocateurs of atherosclerosis? That’s in vain. There is no “bad” or “good” cholesterol on the plate, it becomes such in our body. Perhaps, we will definitely talk about cholesterol in foods next time.
And, by the way, lard contains only 85-90 mg of cholesterol per 100 g, in contrast to the cake with cream or choux pastry, where its 150-180 mg, and much less than in super-healthy quail eggs, where it is 600 mg. And you can neutralize the harm of cholesterol by eating lard with a salad of fresh vegetables, seasoned with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
Are you afraid that lard is a “heavy” product and is poorly absorbed in our body? In vain. The melting temperature, for example, of lamb fat is 43-55 degrees, beef fat is 42-49, but lard is 29 -35. And all fats, the melting point of which is below 37 degrees, that is, close to the temperature of the human body, are perfectly absorbed, because they are easier to emulsify.
Do you still believe that cellulite comes from fat? No, fat does not accumulate on the sides and buttocks, of course, unless you eat it in pounds. However, this is quite difficult to do, lard is a very satisfying product with a high saturation coefficient. True, some manage to eat it much more than the norm.
And, by the way, it is possible and necessary to fry in lard, because it has a “smoke point” (the temperature at which fats are charred) about 195 degrees, higher than most vegetable oils, that is, the frying time is shortened and more nutrients remain in the dish.
Another amazing property of fat is that it does not accumulate radionuclides, and helminths do not live in it.
The harm from lard
Excessive consumption of fat is a direct path to obesity and the development of atherosclerosis due to high cholesterol levels. It is recommended to sharply limit its use (up to a complete exclusion from the diet) for those who have problems with blood vessels, heart and digestion.
The product should not be over-fried to prevent the formation of carcinogens. Be careful with your choice – animals should be raised in ecologically friendly areas.
Is smoked lard harmful? Certainly! This is explained by the content of a huge amount of carcinogens. This is not only a natural way of smoking, but also the use of liquid smoke.
We should not forget about the high calorie content of the product: 797 kcal per 100 g. This is the average daily norm of an adult, taken from fats and necessary for a full life! If we take into account that lard does not differ in its richness of composition, it cannot be called extremely useful. Moreover, in excessive doses it is very harmful, provoking the development of not only obesity, but also many diseases.
We should not forget that systematic overeating of lard, even for a completely healthy person, is fraught with serious disorders. In the presence of severe chronic ailments, it is better to consult a doctor about the use of the product.
Having found out whether lard is more useful or still harmful, the corresponding conclusion suggests itself: if you really want this fatty product, do not deny yourself, but remember the measure!
Since lard is animal fat, the own taste of such a product is practically imperceptible. But in order to enjoy an already salted or smoked product, lard lovers need to be careful about the choice of raw. The slightest mistake or carelessness will lead to irreparable consequences.
- High-quality raw fat is necessarily checked by veterinarians, as evidenced by a special stamp.
- It is better if bacon cut from the back of the animal or the side of the carcass is used for salting.
- Boar lard can strike you with the smell of urea and far from the best taste.
- The quality of lard can be told by its white color with a delicate pink glow. If the fat casts yellow or seems grayish, it is better to put it aside.
- It is better to pay attention to the pieces with a thin elastic skin, which can be pierced even with a wooden toothpick.
- High quality raw bacon is easy to knife.
- Lard has almost no smell of its own, and if it does smell, it is fresh meat and nothing else.
When raw lard is selected, it can be salted, melted, boiled or smoked. And here the product will be able to gratefully accept the aromas and tastes of all used seasonings and spices.
No other food product can compare with lard “love” for spices and seasonings. Moreover, in different countries they prefer dissimilar aromas.
Ukrainians cannot live a day without lard with garlic and black pepper, and Hungarians love salted bacon, thickly sprinkled with ground paprika. But this is not the limit.
Lard in national cosines
Italians from northern Tuscany turned out to be the biggest foodies. The local stonemasons, who were involved in the extraction of the famous Carrara marble, began to salt lard several centuries ago, adding rosemary, oregano and thyme, nutmeg and sage to the brine. Such a fragrant lard, lardo, was aged for a long time in marble tubs, after which it itself became like a precious stone with veins of meat.
Germans are adherents of hearty dishes. Therefore, bacon, as in Germany they call lard, is useful in hot dishes and thick meat soups, snacks and sausages, where bacon is added for juiciness.
In Western Europe, lard is not very popular, so it is doubly surprising that on the island of England, when bacon is mentioned, the overwhelming majority of residents confess their love for this product. But this is the real bacon with thin layers of tender meat, which even gave the name to the direction of pig breeding.
The French, as true originals and gourmets, prefer not raw, but ghee. It is an indispensable ingredient in the famous French pâtés with liver, mushrooms and spicy herbs. But lard is in demand not only in French cuisine.
Hungarians love it very much, adding it to fragrant paprikash, goulash and even the national Halasle soup with fish. The Belarusians approached lard more seriously than other peoples. At the request of this country, the potato grandma with bacon was included in the fund of the culinary heritage of Europe.