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Miscellaneous Recipes

Rendering Tallow

Tallow can be used ( and is in most commercially made soap) as the base oil. I think every soaper (with the obvious exception of the vegetarians) should make tallow at least once. It is a very long but very satisfying experience. You will rarely find rendered tallow for sale.

1. Collect beef fat scraps from your butcher. Specify beef because pork fat will produce lard. Lard makes a good soap, but the characteristics are different.
2. Cut the scraps into small pieces. If you have a nice enough butcher, ask if he will run them through the grinder for you.
3. Put fat in a large pot with about 2 cups of water (we are talking 10-15 pounds of fat).
4. Cook on low heat for 8-12 hours.
5. Strain the fats through a loose cloth (unbleached muslin works great) and
6. Place in a refrigerator for 12-24 hours
7. When the tallow hardens it should be a lovely creamy white.
8. Lift the tallow out of the bowl and scrape off the gel and you will have beautiful tallow (the layer of gel on the bottom contains the water and some of the beef that was suspended in the fat)
9. Store it in the freezer until you are ready to make soap with it

A quicker variation (rendering is done in an hour or two) is to add salt and use a stick blender. Follow steps 1 and 2, and then add 1/8 cup salt (this will help in the separation phase) with the water at step 3. Cook on medium heat and don’t forget to stir occasionally. The fat will look cooked and transparent when it is time to start stick blending. Turn off the heat, and begin to run your stick blender in pulses until the fat is dissolved. Liquefy ALL of the fat lumps! You can then choose to go on to step 5, or skip step 5 and go on to step 6. If you choose to strain the hot fat, be careful…it makes for a nasty burn, if you spill it! The next morning, take the tallow out of the refrigerator and scrape away the gelatin and impurities. You can use them for making Suet (see below). The nice, creamy, tallow is now ready for use in your soap.

~ Many thanks to Joan DiCoio for her help with the quicker variation.~

Suet (a nice byproduct of making tallow)

1. Save the leftover meat scraps and press them into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan so that it is about 1 1/2 inches deep. This is the expensive suet you buy at the lawn and garden for the birds.
2. Mix in birdseed if you like before the suet hardens
3. Store it in the freezer until winter

If you don’t want to got through all this, you can buy tallow from occasional suppliers, or you can use shortening as a substitute for the tallow in just about any recipe you come across. I hope you enjoy this process!!

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