A semi-solid fat made from vegetable or meat sources. Shortening is made by hydrogenating vegetable oil and the resulting product is 100% fat with a lower smoke point than butter or margarine. This makes shortening a good choice for frying. Shortening can be used as all the fat in baked goods but a combination of 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening provides for good browning and good flavor. Additionally shortening produces a product with a longer shelf life than pure butter.
Due to health concerns, shortening manufacturers such as Crisco have reformulated their product to reduce the amount of trans-fats which have been know to create health problems.