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Guest kappydell

COOKING WITH RENDERED FATS

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Guest kappydell

while I am sitting and healing up after back surgery, I am compiling & collating all the recipes I can find on Mrs S . In the course of this I noticed in Jan. 2007, Stephanie asked what to do with the pint jar of chicken fat she had saved when processing chicken in bulk (I think she was canning it).  Now this was before I had internet, so I did not see the question when it came up, but it looks like something I could have helped with as I was taught....NEVER THROW AWAY THAT FAT!  Not just chicken fat, but any fat has use in the kitchen or household.  Of course you do have to render it (separate the fat from the skin/gristle/tissue) and purify it so it will keep, but that is easy-peasy.  So for the domestic engineers out there who want to waste as little as possible, here is the scoop.... 

     1.  CHICKEN FAT:  includes fat removed with skin, when butchering, and from stock.  It is valuable in cooking, as it is one of the most unsaturated animal fats (ie, very soft at room temperature).  Last time I checked, about 6 yrs ago it was selling for $12 a pound as shmaltz.  Its greatest value is in baking, as it can be substituted measure for measure for butter in baking.  Other fats require adjustment as their shortening ability differs from butter.  Cakes rise slightly less high, but they do not get greasy or fall flat, as happens when you try to use other fats measure for measure.  It makes a very soft and crumbly bar of soap, but that soap dissolves more easily and is considered a soft laundry soap.  Don't expect bars, just crumble it and let it dry.  Other poultry fats (tyurkey goose) are similar but may require better cleaning before use.  Chicken fat makes a good butter substitute for the table when minced onions, garlic and or herbs are infused in boiling fat, then strained out (for flavor)

     2.  PORK FAT:  many old timey cooks still swear by it for cooking.  It makes flakey pie crusts and a hard and white bar soap.

     3.  BEEF FAT:  I was surprised to find when I cleaned beef fat, it made an excellent and fine textured,, long lasting soap.  Hamburger grease, when saved from frying hamburger and cleaned is a clean tasting fat with a high smoke point, excellent for frying other foods.  Some sources claim that Beef tallow was the original fat that  McDonalds fried their world class fries in, before the health police made them stop (and the fries were never quite as good after that...).

     4.  Purified game fat uses:  venison tallow softens skin, waterproofs and dresses leather;  bear fat makes fine lard and is used the same; Possum fat is not as good flavored but makes an excellent boot leather waterproofer.  Skunk oil (rendered fat) has value as a medical fat - its molecular structure carries infused herbs through the softened skin into the bloodstream efficiently.  It also has a warming feel to it, making it a natural linement base.  In fact, some game fats are used in cooking too, you have to clean & taste each batch before use though, because it is much more variable in its flavor.  

 

That is what I remember off the top of my head about uses for saved fats.  Now as for rendering, folks seemed to have the idea....just melt slowly and strain out the crispy parts.  But how can you CLEAN fat that may have been picked off broth, or poured from a broiling pan with drippings?  You have to wash them.  Yep, sounds wierd, but....put equal amounts of hard fat & clean water in a pot, melt together, then pour in a settling container for the refrigerator.  Pick it off the top when hardened, and you will see much of the other 'stuff' stayed in the water.  Pour the water off, repeat this washing until the fat is totally visually (and smell it too) clean when you pick it off the top.  That usually takes 3-4 wash times for me.  Last, melt it down in a clean pot, and let any remaining water sputter out of it.  When it no longer sputters the water is gone.  Pour into a heatproof container for keeping, refrigerate and use as desired.

TA-DAH!  Stephanie, there ya go!  I STILL cook with chicken fat in cakes, bacon fat in biscuits (the flavor is an asset for seasoning greens, too), beef tallow for sauteeing, and lard for pie crusts, routinely.  Just dig out those old recipes from grandma and great grandma, or from old wartime rationing cookbooks and you will have plenty of recipes and projects to experiment with!    

 

 

 

 

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Ooops it was Josephine, not Stephanie that asked the original questions.......

 

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Chicken fat is schmaltz, pig fat is lard and comes in regular and leaf (use leaf for pastries if you can), while beef and lamb is tallow.   Sheep is tallow too, but usually not real digestible.  And that lanolin smell just follows you...

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:sSig_thankyou:   Another copy/paste for the "Kappy" file on my laptop. 

 

MtRider  :cook: 

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