Monday, November 10, 2014

Rendering Suet

It's valuable ancestral wisdom that cooking with and consuming animal fat (grass-fed) is extremely beneficial to our physiology for numerous reasons. For one, it's very high in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which is an extremely efficient anti-inflammatory agent, especially for heart disease. Animal fat has high levels of Vit D and A which are not easily accessible in our common diets. The list goes on…
 Although this contradicts conventional wisdom I see   mainstream nutrition shifting a bit and some of the traditional ways of eating are starting to reach the ears of some who are willing to listen. We have been rendering lard and suet (mutton or beef kidney fat) for quite a few years now and really enjoying the flavor and the therapeutic nutritional value it brings to our diet. After a few frustrating attempts at using our wood stove to render the fat, I switched to using the ubiquitous (at least in our household) crock-pot. It's important to keep it on the slow-cook cycle (about 10 hours), which will help to extract more fat. Water needs to be added so that the fat can dissolve into it and later be strained.

The extra bits of fat left in your strainer are not for human consumption. We give this to the farm cats but I'm sure can be used for some kind of project like soap or candle making? 

Leaving the liquid on the counter all day will eventually separate the fat from the water. Put the bowl in the refrigerator if you want to speed the process up. You can then remove the fat patty (for lack of better words) and lightly scrap some of the bottom guck off in order to have a clean, whitish chunk of, now what is called, tallow.

Break up the patty and put it on the stove with a low temperature. The fat will dissolve and can then be poured into jars for use. Of course, it will need to harden once again, but after that you can enjoy a traditional life exilir! Fry an egg, line a pie pan, or make some pemmican. I feel like the more involved we get with our food the better it tastes and this is no exception.
I should say that this can be a bit of a messy project and having a large pan of boiling water to clean up will make this project much more enjoyable to clean up in the end. Obviously, fat is not something you want clogging the sink drain so it's best to pour some hot, hot water in the dishes and strainer that are used and then pour them outside in the driveway or grass.