Rendered animal fat typically has a shelf life of 1-6 months, a year if you’re lucky. In my frantic research I recently discovered a method of storage that extends fat’s shelf life to 3+ years.
This is good news!
The only hitch is that this method is dependant on an unsustainable resource: canning jars and lids. Still, if you have too much fat to immediately consume or want to put some away in the proverbial `larder`, this method is super cheap and requires almost no extra energy. One simply pours freshly rendered, burning hot liquid fat into a jar, plops the appropriate sterilized lid on, fastens and it seals itself. It`s just simple hot pack canning.
Here are more detailed instructions:
Wash and sterilize your jars, have lids at the ready in a pot of hot water. Pour your burning hot, liquid fat into jars, avoid getting it on the rims - clean them off if you do. Leave a half inch headroom. Place lids on jars and fasten with screw tops. They should seal themselves as they cool. You are done, this is awesome.
Why don`t you need to pressure can fat?
Because botulism, the main reason for pressure canning, requires water to exist. Pure rendered fat is just that, 100 percent pure oil. No water, not at risk for botulism.
Why does it extend the shelf life of fat?
The main factor that causes fat to degrade (go rancid) is exposure to oxygen (oxidation). When a jar seals, the oxygen in it is displaced through a vacuum effect. One of the main factors that spoil the fat is significantly reduced.
So far I have just canned some ghee this way; hopefully someone out there is as excited about this as me……