Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tallow

We bought a half a cow a few weeks ago. They asked us if we'd like the scraps, and  (under the assumption that it would be soup bones and such) we said yes. But actually it's not soup bones, it's a lot of sinew and fat. So I'm rendering out the tallow to make candles (which is all kinds of exciting and fun!)
Tallow is solid at room temperature, but becomes liquid when heated, so to render the tallow I chop up the fat chunks, add a little water, and boil them until all the fat separates from all the other stuff. Then I strain it (to get out little chunks of sinew or meat) and let the water and fat separate and cool until the tallow solidifies (at which point I can pick it off the water in a big chunk).

This morning Wolf saw a container on the counter where I'd left some tallow to separate and cool overnight. He asked what it was, and we told him it was tallow "you know, the fat from the cow."
"Oh," he said knowingly, looking at the container and seeing a solid part and a liquid part, "the tallow and the oil."
"No," Hubby clarified, "the tallow is the oil, it's just solid at room temperature."
"Really?" Wolf asked.
"Sure," I interjected. "After all, cows are solid at room temperature!"

5 comments:

Katrina said...

Sounds like an adventure! Can you make tallow with the candles?

Katrina said...

Sorry. I meant, candles with the tallow. Sheesh.

Jenni "Bee" said...

lol, yes you can. Tallow is pretty soft (Even when it's solid, it's kinda squishy) so I'm not trying to make pillar candles, but it works great in a little jar. I've got a bunch of glass baby food jars, so I'm using those.
Right now I've just made a couple, because I'm still fine-tuning how much essential oil to add for scent (the tallow doesn't smell much, but it is mildly beefy, so I'm adding a little something to neutralize that). I'm also needing to figure out how fat a wick to make...I've got the cotton but I wasn't sure how many strands to use. My first couple attempts were too thin--They burned fine, but when they got down to the level of the tallow, instead of being able to melt the tallow out, they just fizzled out. Whoops! So I'm working on fatter wicks now.

Carrie said...

Tallow is great to fry in...try it for that. You can also use it for savory baking, like pie crusts. Yumminess. I am jealous! The farmer didn't offer me the fat from my cow! Grrrrr. How many pounds did you get?

Jenni "Bee" said...

Carrie--the 'scraps' were a full box (like apple box size), but it's not all tallow...there's gristle and a little bone and stuff in there too. I'd anticipate that I've got 10+lbs of tallow though...just a wild guess.

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