The last time we raised pigs I had the butcher save me all the pig fat. I wanted to render my own lard for cooking and for soap making. I have since rendered some of it and recently had a friend ask me for directions on how I did it. I thought someone else may also find this information useful.
How to Render Lard
Cut the fat into small pieces. Put in a large pot (I use stainless steel) and put the pot on your burner. Turn on low and stir and let it slowly melt down. After it has melted there will be lots of bits that did not melt. I pour this melted fat and bits through a strainer into another pot or large bowl. Discard the bits and return the melted fat to the pot.
The fat will still be looking dirty and not ready to use yet. The next step is to add an equal amount of water to the fat. Bring this fat/water, mixture to a boil, reduce heat and let is simmer for about 20 minutes.
Put the pot somewhere to cool over night. In the morning the fat will have risen to the top and be firm and the water will be underneath along with a lot of the gritty fat bits that made it look dirty.
I do the water boiling step a second time in order to get nice clean white looking lard. I spoon out all the fat in the pot, put it in a clean pot, add an equal amount of water and bring it to a boil, turn down, simmer for 20 minutes and let it cool.
After this the lard is nice and white looking. I then take it out of the pan and store it in the fridge to use or put in zip lock bags to use during the rest of the year.