So for the last two days I have been doing something that sane women gave up 70 years ago. Well, except for my Mum, she went through the same phase about 30 years ago…apples, falling far from trees etc…
I have been rendering beef fat for tallow.
WTF? Would be a most fitting response to that odd little sentence. So I’ll explain.
As you may know, I have a new obsession/compulsion/hobby, making soap. On the blogs that I’ve been reading voraciously (stalking…), they call themselves “Soapers” and when they make soap, they call it “soaping”. Therefore, I am now a “Soaper” and if all else fails, I will also be the cleanest “Soaper” for at least the next 67 years. Did I mention that I’ve become somewhat obsessed?
Anyhoooo, back to the topic at hand… Rendering Beef Fat for Tallow. Back in the day soap was predominantly made from Tallow and not a whole lot else, so I decided to have me a go at that. And the vast majority of commercial soap in our supermarkets still uses tallow or sodium tallowate as it is called post saponification (after it has been turned into soap).
But drats, you just cannot get hold of Tallow all willy-nilly from the supermarket shelf, nor from the soap supply companies I am currently using.
A spot of Googling and whaddaya know, Tallow is just basically beef fat melted down and cleaned of any semblance of cow. How bad could it be…hmmm.
First stop, my local butcher shop – awesome folks, Daryl and Pam. “Umm, don’t suppose you could gather me up about 10 – 15kg of beef kidney fat anytime soon?” And yep, that is one of the strangest questions I’ve posed in a while.
So Wednesday morning saw me take delivery of said beef fat (with a goodly portion of pork fat as a bonus prize), and off home to render that baby.
Several blogs and YouTube vids I watched, told me to get the Butcher to mince (grind) it all up for me, but ha! How hard could it be to cut it all up into itty bitty…bits?
I cook a lot and I love chopping stuff up with a knife, no food processor for me, so I’ve got a fair selection of knife callouses – but bugger, if I haven’t got blisters on blisters on callouses!! Holy horse balls, those suckers hurt.
I am a raving carnivore also, but in all honesty, can’t see myself cooking a roast any month soon, I am so over the whole rendering experiment and I suspect the next whiff of hot animal fat that finds my olfactory centre, will have me gagging. I still think the smell of mince (ground beef) cooking is way worse though.
There is an upside to this experiment, the resulting Tallow is superb, blisteringly white, rock hard and so smooth. It really is rather beautiful. And so far removed from the bovine it came from and a terrific use of an otherwise wasted part of the animal, that it is hard not to admire it, (if your mind works in the same crazed fashion as mine).
Being singularly obsessed with this whole “Soaping” thing, I used a bit of my Tallow yesterday to make a Laundry Soap (I have a cunning plan, more on that another day). Oh lordy, what a beauty. The crispest white and so hard, cannot wait for the 4 week cure period to be up. Smitten to say the least. So I can see that I will be adding Tallow to some of my soaps while keeping other soaps, strictly Vegetable.
And that, my dear readers, was my foray into Weird Shit That Olden-Days Women Did All The Time.
Now tell me, what products do you draw the line at? Is it petroleum based products in your skincare, animal products in your soap, phthalates in your scents, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), its close relative Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) or Parabens in your shampoo? And don’t you just love the main ingredient in most stuff is aqua – why can’t they just call it water, do they think we are so dim as to not know what aqua is…? Or do you use what you like, what smells good and just happens to be on special that week?
A Shiny Bright and Clean Day to you all,