What Exactly Is Vegetable Suet? [Shortening vs. Lard]

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I’ve heard of suet and vegetable shortening.

But I was curious about vegetarian suet.

I performed some investigation and this is what I discovered.

Vegetable suet is a kind of solid oil that is used in cooking.

To make it solid at room temperature, hydrogen gas is infused into vegetable oil.

It gets its name from suet, a kind of animal fat.

Vegetable suet, on the other hand, is vegetarian.

Shortening and vegetable shortening, which seem to be quite similar to vegetable suet, are also available.

Thus, in this section, I’ll discuss if they’re the same thing, what alternatives there are to vegetable suet, and how it compares to lard.

Is Vegetable Suet the Same as Shortening?

Both vegetable suet and vegetable shortening are white and used in baking in the same manner.

So I was interested whether they were the same item and if there were any distinctions.

Vegetable suet and vegetable shortening are interchangeable terms.

Because animal products are used to make veggie suet. Shortening derived from animal fat is distinct from veggie shortening.

The latter, on the other hand, is manufactured from vegetable oil.

Vegetable suet and vegetable shortening are other popular bird feeder ingredients.

When seeds are combined with vegetable suet or vegetable shortening to form a solid item into which birds may peck.

At room temperature, regular vegetable oils are liquid, but vegetable suet and vegetable shortening are solid.

Because of its peculiar qualities, it is also often used in puddings and savory puddings.

Why vegetable suet/vegetable shortening is used rather than cooking oil

Suet was historically used because it is very hard at room temperature, similar to a bar of soap.

As a result, it was simple for individuals to carry and store.

When it came time to utilize it, some might be shaved off using a knife or grater and used as cooking oil.

It’s a typical major ingredient in recipes dating back to the 1800s.

It is still in use today.

It is very popular in traditional puddings in the United Kingdom, particularly in England and the United Kingdom.

The custom most likely moved with immigrants when they traveled to other regions of the globe in the 1800s, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, where recipe books and memorized recipes were brought with them (source).

Since some individuals choose a vegetarian or vegan diet over a meat-based one, demand for suet derived from vegetable sources increased.

Here, in my view, is where vegetable shortening, often known as vegetable suet, originated.

Suet is usually animal fat that has been reduced down.

It is usually purchased from the local butcher, who will either have some on hand or will create a special batch for you if you ask.

Cooking oil and containers that keep them are widely available

Vegetable oils are not extremely handy to utilize instead of suet due to the extensive availability of transportation, the fact that vegetable oils are simple to create using machines, and the general availability of plastic bottles to preserve them in.

Suet was roughly the same as butter or vegetable oil.

Instead of removing a bit of fat off a piece of meat and using it to oil a skillet.

Suet was largely employed for this purpose.

Olive oil is a common oil that is often used as a salad dressing, bread dip, and cooking oil.

At ambient temperature, olive oil is totally liquid, but in the refrigerator, it solidifies.

Many individuals are unsure how olive oil differs from vegetable oil.

In this post on the difference between olive oil and vegetable oil, I described the fundamental differences, how long they keep, and the best methods to store them.

Suet has different properties from oil – better suited for some recipes

Oil is liquid at normal temperature, while suet and shortening are solid.

As a result, suet is preferable in specific dishes, such as pastry dough and pudding.

Whereas once created and at room temperature, they retain their shape considerably better than if oil is utilized.

Pudding keeps its form until it is heated, at which point it melts and spills out.

Then it leaves little holes in the pudding, giving it a lighter texture.

Modern vegetable suet is available from various retailers

There are a few manufacturers that produce vegetable shortening, which is almost equivalent to vegetable suet.

They usually offer one made of animal products and one made of vegetable goods.

Suet vs Lard

Suet and lard are quite similar in that when warmed and cooked, they are both white, hard, and have a greasy oily feel.

But are they interchangeable, and what are the distinctions between suet and lard?

Lard is manufactured from swine fat, while suet is created from beef or mutton fat.

As a result, they have a distinct taste, as well as a somewhat different texture and melting point.

Suet and lard are made from fat derived from the kidneys and loin, rather than any other portion of the animal.

This fat is substantially different in texture than fat from other regions of the animal.

The fat used to manufacture lard is known as leaf fat and is located in the rear of a pig’s rib cage after all of the organs have been removed.

Suet, on the other hand, is prepared from fat taken only from the loin or kidney area of cattle and sheep.

Mutton is meat from a male or female sheep that is at least one year old, as you may know.

Not to be confused with lamb meat.

It has a radically distinct texture and flavor than other portions of the animal’s fat.

Here’s an excellent video that demonstrates how suet is made:

Both suet and lard and made using an identical process

Suet and lard are created in the same manner.

The fat is sliced into little 1 to 2 inch wide chunks. It is then slowly heated.

The idea is to warm it but not cook it.

This procedure might take between 2 and 3 hours.

And it has to be stirred from time to time.

Animal fat comprises fibers, veins, and even organs from the animal.

This should be removed before cutting it into cubes.

Even with extreme caution, many fibers remain.

The fibers will separate from the oil when the fat is rendered.

Finally, after it’s totally melted, drain it through a strainer or a towel.

The amount of total fat that stays as fibers in the cloth colander is around 25%.

As a result, a batch of oil will include around 75% suet or lard.

It is then put into jars or molds and allowed to cool, resulting in beautiful white suet or lard.

What Can I Use Instead of Vegetable Suet?

Vegetable suet might be difficult to find in certain areas.

As a result, I was interested whether there were any more common components that might be substituted for vegetable suet.

Here’s what I discovered.

In general, vegetable shortening or butter may be substituted for vegetable suet.

Vegetable suet and vegetable shortening are the same item, but are labeled differently because to linguistic variances that have evolved through time.

Individuals have reported swapping suet for butter in various recipes and claiming that the end result is still extremely tasty.

Others claim they’ve used butter instead of suet in puddings and found it to be just as wonderful.

Since it is less prone to splattering, vegetable suet or vegetable shortening is preferable to butter and cooking oils for frying meals.

This is because it has less water.

The major source of uncertainty seems to be the development of margarine.

It is vegetable oil-based butter.

It is produced by hydrogenating vegetable oil, which causes it to solidify at room temperature. This is the same technique used to produce vegetable shortening.

Since margarine, also known as vegetable oil spreads, vegetable suet, and vegetable shortening, have almost similar qualities but are commonly used for various reasons, they are labeled differently.

When they’re sold in shops, they’re branded differently.

Can I Use Lard Instead of Suet?

Since lard is often more generally accessible than suet, you may be asking whether you can substitute lard in a recipe that calls for suet.

I checked into it and this is what I discovered.

Lard is a great alternative for suet and has almost equal characteristics.

The major variation is the taste, which is caused by the change in fat source.

Suet is manufactured from sheep or beef fat, while lard is generally derived from hog fat.

Pig, mutton, and beef all have distinct tastes that are readily distinguished.

While suet and lard do not have a distinct taste, there are discernible flavor changes.

Suet and lard have somewhat differing melting points, varying by no more than 10 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit.


Is vegetable suet the same as lard?

Suet retains its shape.

According to Serious Eats, lard is any melted pig fat, while suet is the fat around a cow’s kidneys. This is most similar to pig-derived leaf lard, which is similarly composed entirely of kidney-encircling fat, but there are a few important distinctions between suet and lard.

Can you use vegetable shortening instead of lard in suet?

You may use veggie suet, which is available on Amazon. You may also use vegetable shortening, which has a similar melting point to butter: the taste and texture of the pudding will be comparable, but not identical.

Which is better suet or lard?

Suet offers pie crusts a flaky and crunchy texture that holds up well to wet filling. Suet has a clear flavor profile that is not very meaty; whereas lard has a little sweeter flavor, suet’s hardness more than compensates for its blander taste.

Is vegetable shortening and lard the same thing?

The distinction between lard and vegetable shortening is that lard is created entirely of animal fat, while shortening is made entirely of vegetable oil.

Can I use Crisco instead of lard for suet?

If you can’t get suet, grated vegetable shortening (such as Trex, Crisco, or Copha) works well as a replacement. Then, freeze a stick or block of shortening until hard but not solid (this usually takes about 30 minutes).

Can I use Crisco instead of lard for suet cakes?

DO NOT USE CRISO or other products containing hydrogenated oil (vegetable shortening). Hydrogenated oils are harmful to both humans and birds. Adhere to utilizing natural, unmodified fats.

What can I use instead of lard in suet for birds?

Crushed peanuts are another alternative if they are unsalted and in date. Since suet may be substituted for lard, fat balls are sometimes known as suet cakes. You may also use plain peanut butter with no extra oils.

Which is better lard or shortening?

Lard has less trans fats than shortening and fewer saturated fats than butter. Although it will never be considered a health dish, it definitely does not live up to its negative image.

What is the best fat for birds?

Fat balls often include suet, nuts, cereals, and sunflower seeds. As a consequence, they are densely packed with the energy and lipids required by birds. These are perfect for the cold months. Fat balls should be kept away of direct sunlight throughout the summer. Pure fats are advised. Lard

What are the cons of suet?

However, pure suet will melt in warmer temperatures. Melted suet may cover a bird’s feathers, causing major issues. Dripping suet might potentially be a hazard. As a result, this should only be used in cold weather.

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