A semisolid fat used in food preparation, especially baked goods, and is so called because it promotes a "short" or crumbly texture (as in shortbread). Shortening is basically just fat or lard from an animal or vegetable. The term "shortening" can be used more broadly to apply to any fat that is used for baking and which is solid at room temperature, such as butter, lard, or margarine.
Vegetable shortening is mostly a buttery substance and tends to be somewhat greasy and smooth. Like butter, it is an easy to spread substance.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
Vegetable shortening may be substituted for other fats (such as butter, margarine, or lard) in baking of pie pastry, cookies, and cakes. Shortening is ideal for pastry, since it blends well with the flour.
Conserving and Storing
Vegetable shortening can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.