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I recently rendered a bunch of pork fat into lard.

Some of it I froze (after solidifying in refrigerator), whereas the rest I put in mason jars and vacuum sealed. I just left these on a pantry shelf with a closed door (i.e. they're in darkness).

It mostly solidified overnight, and putting it in the refrigerator absolutely solidified it to the correct texture... I had filtered it through cheesecloth, and the resulting product was white or just slightly off-white.

The problem is, the jars get liquidy again, semi-melting at ""room temperature"". We've had a few hot days, and the pantry they are in unfortunately got to about 85 degrees (outside the cabinet) - a tad above room temperature.

My question is, should my lard be melting at only 85° F? It's not fully liquid, just liquid-y.

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The melting point of lard can vary quite a bit: Wikipedia claims as low as 86F, depending on the type of pork fat used. (I don't know what their source is, but that sounds about right to me.) That number will also vary depending on the exact rendering and processing method, particularly cooling which will affect crystalline structure of the solid. Rapid cooling will generally produce a fat with a more disorganized crystalline structure and thus a lower melting point.

  • Thank you. I had googled "melting point of lard" and when google said, 40°C, I butchered the conversion to Fahrenheit and so thought the melting point was much higher (>100°f). I don't think mine has been "rapidly cooled" since it sat overnight, but perhaps refrigerating it cooled it too fast. That same Wikipedia article mentioned that back fat has a lower melting point (the 86°F), and that's likely what mine is. – Jamin Grey Jul 27 '16 at 3:25
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40 C is indeed over 100 F, so you didn't butcher the conversion. But amorphous solids like lard and butter don't really have a melting point, they have a range of temperature in which they transition from solid to liquid. So anybody talking about a melting "point" is simply picking one point out of that range and randomly declaring it to be "the" point.

So there is nothing unusual in lard being not in a perfectly solid state at 85 F. It will go back to solid when it cools down, and unlike butter, shouldn't be changed much.

  • Thanks for the response. Are you saying lard semi-melting and re-solidifying a dozen or so times (as temperatures fluxuate over the next month or so) shouldn't affect the consistency too much? Or should I put it in the refrigerator (wasting already scarce space, even with two fridges) until the heat of the summer is past? – Jamin Grey Jul 27 '16 at 14:18

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