Trustworthy Tallow

Trustworthy Tallow

Using Tallow

Tallow has traditionally been used for cooking and in body care products for years. There are good reasons, so let’s see if we can keep it that way.

Cooking with tallow:

Tallow is a natural fat and is amazing for cooking, especially when obtained from healthy animals. Tallow does not contain all the polysaturated omega-6 fats found in highly processed fats such as canola, corn, soybean, and other vegetable oils. Highly processed oils have been shown to be associated with inflammatory diseases, which include heart disease, obesity, IBS, and diabetes.

So, try this saturated fat in your next meal and see how you feel. Solid (saturated) fats are ideal for cooking because they have a high smoke point and are stable at high temperatures.

Small jar of tallow

Tallow in body care products:

Tallow closely resembles our skin (containing about 50% saturated fat), which allows it to be easily absorbed by our bodies. Properly raised, grass-fed cows will provide tallow that contains vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as palmitoleic and conjugated linoleic acids, which are all things your skin needs. Another perk to tallow is that it is really stable at room temperature due to it’s high percentage of saturated fatty acids, so it will not go rancid quickly.

Convinced yet? If so, here is a link to a quick DIY Tallow Balm from We Eat Naked, or ask for Mellifera Homestead Tallow Balm at a nearby store.

And since we’re on the subject of fats, here are some healthy ones along with their best uses:

  • Tallow, great for cooking
  • Lard, great for cooking
  • Coconut oil, great for cooking
  • Grass-fed butter, great for cooking
  • Ghee, great for cooking
  • Olive oil, great for cold preparation/flavoring
  • Macadamia Nut Oil, great for cold preparation/flavoring

Rendering Tallow

I have tried both the crock pot and the oven method, and I personally prefer using oven-rendered tallow. It seems to end up lighter in color and cleaner because the bits that don’t render are kept separate from the rendered tallow the entire time.

How to render tallow:

Preheat oven to 220 F.

Find some high quality beef fat (suet) and clean it up by removing any leftover meat (red, dark bits) from the fat. Put the fat chunks in a food processor and process until it is crumbly.

Place the fat in an oven-safe strainer over a pot and melt it in the oven for a couple of hours, checking every so often and stirring the pieces in the strainer. All the fat is rendered when the strainer only contains small dark crispy bits, also known as cracklins. You can snack on the cracklins or feed them to the chickens (which they will undoubtedly love).

Strain the melted fat through a cheesecloth into a heat-proof container (preferably glass) and allow to cool covered at room temperature. When cool, the tallow is stable at room temperature for about a year, though I do refrigerate mine until I use it to make sure it is kept at a consistent safe temperature.

Two jars of tallow

If you’re near Culpeper, VA, consider using fat from one of these local, conscientious farmers:

  • Pannills Gate Farm, Culpeper, VA
  • Lakota Ranch, Remington, VA

We’re sure there are others, so let us know what you find!

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