***Our farm market and tour will be closed today due to excessive heat. Stay cool!***
Wow! It sure is summer in the South! It was high humidity, high 90 degrees, and Farmer Bob moved slowly and methodically outside all day Saturday. I got in the kitchen to start prepping for making soap this coming week. Anything to stay inside!
Last fall I asked our certified humane processor to save me some suet (beef fat) the next time he processes beef, and he did. Boy, did he ever! He sent me a whole box back with our lamb, forty pounds!
It was VERY nice and CLEAN. When you render suet, you get tallow, which is what the rendered beef fat is called. (You may be more familiar with lard, which is what you get from rendering pig fat.) You have to trim any meat bits from the fat first, and from the nine pounds I used, I only got about a cup of trimmings. Clean!
Nine pounds was three bags, and I let it thaw a bit, and then chopped it into smaller pieces. I added them to my 8 quart dutch oven and started cooking it down, then I added more suet until all nine pounds fit into the pot. Then I simmered it on low and stirred it every once in a while as it cooked.
Here it is raw in the pot:
Here it is cooking down. You can see the tallow cooking out of the suet.
And then I strained it into containers as it cooked, until there was nothing left in the pot but little golden crunchy bits. I think that’s called “cracklins” if it’s pork, and I know those are often added to the cornmeal batter to make cornbread. I threw the beef “cracklins” away, but I’m sure our ancestors would have eaten them somehow.
Here is the tallow poured into containers. You can see that it starts out as a golden liquid, and then, as it cools, it turns a creamy, beautiful white.
Finished and ready for making soap! From 9 pounds of suet, I rendered out a little over 6 1/2 pounds of tallow. It will make lovely, creamy, bubbly, moisturizing, skin-nourishing, hard bars of soap, just like our great-great grandmothers made!
All our soaps except Country Clean are made from 100% vegetable oils. Country Clean has vegetable oils as well as lard in the formula, and I look forward to adding tallow soap to our menu of our premium homemade honey & beeswax soaps. It’s a great way to spend these super hot Southern summer days!
Oh! Did you notice the wooden paddle I’m using? It’s one of my new favorite tools in the kitchen due to that broad flat edge on the bottom to scrape bits from the bottom of pots, including my Instant Pot.
Farmer Bob and I escaped to Blowing Rock, NC, for a couple of days of loafing, and I found this at an import shop called Cross Trade. Follow that link to its website and check it out. The goal of the owner of this shop is to provide an outlet and income for third world artisans. Deann at Indigo Pearl in Waxhaw carries several of Cross Trade’s products, too.