Rendering Tallow

Hunting season having just concluded, several friends (most especially Glen) gave us a quite a bit of deer fat. We use the tallow produced from it in our daily cooking and when teaching classes in soap and candle making.

Simply place all the fat in a large kettle and slowly heat. Once all the fat is melted and the water moisture is rendered out, you can strain out any solids and you’re left with pure lipids.  Animal fats are naturally saturated, which are a healthy and affordable alternative to canola or other hydrogenated vegetable oils. These ‘good’ fats are essential for a properly functioning body. You can then keep the purified fat in a crock or other container and store in a cool place until ready to use to make candles, soap, salve, food preservation, waterproofing shoes or eating. It’s the only thing we use for frying foods, making pie crust, or roasting vegetables.

If you don’t happen to have deer fat available, locally you can purchase beef fat at Country Counter (now bought out to become a Giant Eagle store) or at any other grocery store. For smaller quantities you can cook the fat down on your kitchen stove in a regular sauce pan. Once it cools a bit so it won’t burn little fingers, you can allow the kids to dip candle wick (or plain string) in the rendered fat to make candles. It’s a fun winter (or summer) project.

(The directors of the museum are dedicated to the preserving of history and historic “artifacts” and the teaching of the skills of  how to use them. We believe in the using of those tools and methods in our own daily lives. In this way we seek to create a path to and knowledge of a more sustainable future.)

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