A Guide To Making Healthy Tallow At Home

How To Make Tallow At Home

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Tallow: An Inexpensive and Multifaceted Oil

Tallow is all the rage right now! This inexpensive oil is a real game-changer, and I can’t wait to share all the amazing things you can do with it. From cooking up delicious meals to creating luxurious skincare products, tallow is your new best friend in the kitchen and beyond. You can even make candles and, believe it or not, it’s great for conditioning leather and waterproofing boots. It’s so versatile and budget-friendly, making it a must-have for any homesteader or DIY enthusiast. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of tallow, learn how to render tallow, and explore all the fantastic ways to use this incredible oil!

The Versatility of Tallow Around The Home

Tallow is such a hidden gem, and I’m so excited to share all the fantastic ways you can use it! First off, it’s a superstar in the kitchen. I love using it as a cooking oil because it adds such a rich flavor to everything, from roasted veggies to perfectly seared steaks. And if you’re into baking, tallow makes the flakiest pie crusts and the most deliciously moist biscuits.

But the magic of tallow doesn’t stop there. Have you ever tried making your own skincare products? Tallow is perfect for whipping up homemade balms, lotions, and soaps. My skin feels so soft and nourished after using it. Speaking of skin, tallow is also great for treating minor cuts and burns, thanks to its soothing properties.

Another fun use is making fire starters. Just mix tallow with some sawdust or dryer lint, and you have an easy, effective way to get your fireplace or campfire going. And for the adventurous cooks out there, you can even try your hand at making pemmican, a traditional survival food made from tallow, dried meat, and berries.

I also love using tallow to season my cast iron pans. It creates a fantastic non-stick surface and keeps the pans in great condition. And if you’re into pet care, tallow can be used to make homemade dog treats that are both healthy and delicious.

Lastly, tallow is an excellent ingredient for making biodegradable soap that’s gentle on the environment and tough on dirt. It’s such a versatile and budget-friendly ingredient, and I’m always discovering new ways to use it. 

24 Different Uses For Tallow

1. Cooking Oil: Perfect for frying, roasting, and sautéing, adding rich flavor to dishes.
2. Baking: Makes flaky pie crusts, moist biscuits, and other baked goods.
3. Skincare: Ideal for homemade balms, lotions, and soaps to nourish and moisturize skin.
4. Healing Salve: Soothes minor cuts, burns, and skin irritations.
5. Candles: Historically, tallow was used to make long-burning candles before the advent of paraffin wax.
6. Leather Conditioner: Conditions and waterproofs leather boots, belts, and bags.
7. Fire Starters: Mix with sawdust or dryer lint for easy, effective fire starters.
8. Pemmican: A traditional survival food combining tallow, dried meat, and berries.
9. Cast Iron Seasoning: Seasons and maintains cast iron cookware for a non-stick surface.
10. Dog Treats: Make healthy, homemade treats for pets.
11. Lip Balm: Combine with essential oils for soothing, natural lip balm.
12. Hair Conditioner: Deeply conditions and nourishes dry hair.
13. Wood Polish: Polish and protect wooden furniture and cutting boards.
14. Soap Making: Create biodegradable soap that’s gentle on the environment.
15. Shaving Cream: Makes a rich, moisturizing shaving cream for a smooth shave.
16. Deodorant: Combine with baking soda and essential oils for an effective, chemical-free deodorant.
17. Moisturizing Bath Bombs: Add tallow to homemade bath bombs for extra skin hydration.
18. Homemade Crayons: Mix tallow with non-toxic pigments to make DIY crayons.
19. Rust Prevention: Apply tallow to metal tools and surfaces to prevent rust.
20. Furniture Wax: Blend with beeswax to create a natural polish for wooden furniture.
21. Bird Feeders: Mix with seeds to make suet cakes for birds.
22. Homemade Sunscreen: Combine with zinc oxide for a natural sunblock.
23. Chewing Gum Base: Historically, tallow has been used as a base for chewing gum.
24. Lubricant: Use as a natural lubricant for hinges, zippers, and other moving parts.

Tallow is incredibly versatile, and its uses extend far beyond just cooking and skincare!

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The Health Benefits of Tallow

Tallow offers a wealth of health benefits that extend beyond its culinary and skincare uses. Rich in essential fatty acids like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3s, it supports cardiovascular health by lowering bad cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, tallow is a potent source of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, crucial for immune function, bone health, and skin rejuvenation. Its high antioxidant content, particularly vitamin E, helps combat free radicals, promoting cellular repair and maintaining youthful skin elasticity. Furthermore, tallow’s stable chemical structure allows it to withstand high cooking temperatures without breaking down or forming harmful compounds, making it a safe and nutritious choice for frying and baking. Incorporating tallow into your diet and skincare regimen not only enhances flavor and texture but also supports overall health and vitality through its nourishing properties.

What Kind of Fat and Where to Get It

When it comes to tallow, quality and sourcing matter. Tallow is rendered fat, typically from beef or lamb, that is carefully processed to remove impurities. For the best results, look for grass-fed or pasture-raised animals, as they produce tallow with higher nutrient levels and fewer additives.

You can find beef fat from your local butcher or meat market, usually at an inexpensive rate (we get ours for about $0.50/lbs). Just give them a call and ask them for however many pounds you want of beef suet.

Required Equipment To Make Tallow

Making tallow is a relatively easy, albeit messy, process. You will want to have on hand a few pieces of equipment before you get started.

  1. A Food Processor or High-Speed Blender: I use my Ninja blender and it works beautifully.
  2. A Crock-Pot or Large Stock Pot: Depending on how much tallowing I’m rendering.
  3. Glass Jars: I reuse glass jars from things I buy, but mason jars will work too.
  4. Large Metal Mixing Bowl or a Glass Bowl: I prefer to use metal bowl.
  5. A Fine Mesh Strainer: Use a metal strainer, not plastic.
  6. Cheesecloth: Best to use 100% organic, unbleached cotton cheesecloth. 
  7. Canning Funnel: Preferably a metal funnel if possible.
  8. Metal Measuring Cup: I use this to scoop out the hot tallow to prevent burns from pouring.
  9. Paper Towel: For cleanup and wiping the rims of the glass jars.

Step-By-Step Instructions To Make Tallow

Now that you have all your equipment ready, it’s time to make tallow! This is an all-day process and is best suited to make it on a day when you don’t have plans to leave the house. If you purchased your suet frozen, allow it to thaw for 24 hours before you begin. Once it is thawed, you can follow the steps below to make your own delicious, healthy, and versatile tallow.

Step 1: Cut the suet into small enough bits and throw them into the food processor or high-speed blender. Blend for a few seconds to really break down the suet into crumble. Add the crumble into the crock pot or stock pot. Repeat this process until your crock pot or stock pot is completely full. 

Step 2: Turn your crock pot onto the lowest setting and let it cook for 10 hours. If you are using a stock pot, begin by putting your burner on medium-low for about an hour, then reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting for 8 to 10 hours. Return to your pot every hour or so to stir up the crumble. It is done when all the crumble is browned, crispy, and floating on top (sometimes it sticks to the bottom if not stirred frequently enough, try to prevent that if possible).

Step 3: Using your large metal bowl and metal strainer layer the cheesecloth into the strainer, and place the strainer securely over the bowl and empty the pot of hot tallow into the strainer. I like to use a metal liquid measuring cup here to help prevent accidental spillage which can result in severe burns.

Step 4: Once you have drained all the tallow from the pot (this may require several steps to complete) you can now begin filling your clean glass jars. Place the canning funnel into the glass jar and using your liquid measuring cup, begin “spooning” the liquid tallow into the jars until they are full. Place the cap on the jar loosely and let it cool on a cutting board or a towel. Do not cool directly on your counter top (unless you have a stone countertop, that is fine). 

Step 5: Let your tallow cool for 12-18 hours. It will turn from a yellow clear liquid to a white solid fat. Tighten the lids and place them in the fridge, in a cupboard, or in a cool dark place. You can store tallow indefinitely and so I like to make large batches (approximately 20 lbs of suet at a time) and this makes enough tallow for about a year for our family. 

Conclusion

There you have it! Easy and painless. Now, there are several different ways to make tallow, some using water, some without. This is just how I personally make it and it always results in a high-quality, low-odor, delicious-tasting tallow that the whole family loves! I hope you gives this a try and if you do, leave a comment to let me know your experience. Or, if you’re on the fence about it and have questions, please feel free to ask. I’d love to hear from you. Cheers!

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