The FOG days of summer

As a general rule, for health and environmental reasons, the only meat I consume is the freestyle-swimming variety. But a couple of times a year, the fine folks at Comerford Farms sway me to the dark side with a nice cut of lamb. Not a difficult thing to do since:

  • it’s delicious.
  • the farm is committed to sustainable practices and ethical treatment of animals.
  • Matt Comerford teaches classes on mob grazing. And I just love saying “mob grazing.”
So when the first muscadines of the season arrived last year, it was hard to resist pulling out the dutch oven for a variation on roast lamb with plum sauce.

Once the roasting was finished, a fair amount of lamb stock remained, and I couldn’t bear to throw it away. So into a glass mason jar it went, and thence into the freezer.

After ten months (let’s be honest — it was forgotten, hidden in the icy, dark recesses) I pulled it out last week, substituting the stock for plain water in a pot of grits. The result was rich and savory, perfect as a side dish with a lunch of sautéed vegetables.

There was only one problem: that layer of separated fat floating on top of the jar. What to do with it?

Fats should never, ever, ever be poured down the drain — it’s the number one cause of sanitary sewer overflows that release raw, untreated sewage into our creeks, streams and rivers. Fortunately, Columbus Water Works holds several public recycling events each year to collect FOG (Fats, Oils, and Grease), which are then used to generate methane to power one of the water treatment plants. Suh-weet.

But no one wants to look at a jar of grease on the counter for months in between collection days. The fix? Stow it away in the freezer in un-recyclable plastic containers. It solidifies, becoming significantly less funky and easier to transport on recycling days. Just be sure to clearly mark the canister to avoid unfortunate confusion.

So check with your local water supplier to see if they sponsor any sort of FOG collection. If not, you can still do your part by absorbing leftover grease with paper towels or newspaper. Then toss that mess in the trash. Rest assured, your neighbors — and the aging sewer pipes — will thank you.

Note for Columbus residents: The next grease recycling event is scheduled for Saturday, August 3. Stay tuned for more details.

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