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    Re: Tallow, was: Voyaging the traditional way
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2004 Nov 7, 08:01 -0400

    Thank you again, gentlemen.
    The only web pages I can find which mention Foxfire and tallow deal with
    how to make soap from the tallow, not how to make tallow from beef fat,
    but the hard-copy versions may well have more detail. (Soap made from
    waste fat was standard at my high school in the '60s and early '70s.
    Made by the janitorial staff to save money, it was horrible stuff! Maybe
    that was supposed to be part of its educational value.)
    Jared wrote:
    > Trevor-
    >  http://www.missionpeaksoap.com/Base_Oils_Quick.htm
    > You can indeed buy beef tallow today, in this case from northern California
    > at $12.95/USgallon, or $44.95/5USG, which probably would last you for a
    > while.
    Thank you. That gives me one retail source.
    > Since it still is beef fat, I'd expect it to still go rancid after a while.
    Granted. But beef tallow is a good bit more stable than other forms of
    animal fats. To quote a scatter of web sites:
    "Pure tallow is white, odorless and tasteless; it consists chiefly of
    triglycerides of stearic, palmitic, and oleic acids"
    "Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without
    refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent
    "TALLOW , the solid oil or fat of ruminant animals, but commercially
    obtained almost exclusively from oxen and sheep. [...] Ox tallow occurs
    at ordinary temperatures as a solid hard fat having a yellowish white
    color. [...] The hardness of tallow and its melting-point are to some
    extent affected by the food, age, state of health, &c., of the animal
    yielding it, the firmest ox tallow being obtained in certain provinces
    of Russia, where for a great part of the year the oxen are fed on hay.
    New tallow melts at from 42.5 to 43 C., old tallow at 43-5, and the
    melted fat remains liquid till its temperature falls to 33 or 34 C.
    Tallow consists of a mixture of two-thirds of the solid fats palmitin
    and stearin, with one-third of the liquid fat olein.
    Mutton tallow differs in several respects from that obtained from oxen.
    It is whiter in color and harder, and contains only about 30 per cent.
    of olein. Newly rendered it has little taste or smell, but on exposure
    it quickly becomes rancid. Sweet mutton tallow melts at 46 and
    solidifies at 36 C.; when old it does not melt under 49, and becomes
    solid on reaching 44 or 45 C."
    Which is probably more than most of us wanted to know of the subject.
    Jared continued:
    > There are adhesive waxes, used in graphic arts for "pasteup", that can be
    > thinned with mineral spirits to make a very tacky soft wax that is stable
    > and inert, if kept in a sealed jar so the solvent doesn't evaporate out.
    Except that I am after a lubricant which remains soft after prolonged exposure to air.
    And for others who want to arm their sounding leads with the real thing,
    I finally stumbled across instructions for making your own at home. They
    come from: http://www.eaudrey.com/tallow.htm
    To quote:
    Required Items
    3-5 lbs. suet or other meat fat
    2-4 tbls. salt
    sharp knife
    large pot
    long handled wooden spoon
    safety goggles
    rubber gloves
    wood or stainless ladle
    primary mold
    Steps to Follow
    1. Cut or grind the suet into the smallest pieces possible. This will
    make it melt more easily.
    2. Place ground suet into a pot. Make sure there is room for expansion
    as it heats.
    3. Add 3 inches of water to pot. At this point, add the salt.
    4. Set mixture over medium high heat and put on safety gear.
    5. Stir mixture as it heats. Melt the suet into as much liquid as possible.
    6. Allow a slow boil only. Mash the small pieces with the spoon. This
    could take up to two hours, depending on how much fat and how small the
    7. Once the suet is liquified, remove from heat. Pour or ladle it into a
    sieve or colander to remove any meat, sinew, or gristle. Mix the
    strained solids with peanut butter and put out for the birds.
    8. Fill your primary mold with the strained mixture and refrigerate
    9. Remove mold from fridge and turn upside down in the sink. Allow any
    extra water to drain away.
    10. You now have a block of tallow. Refrigerate or freeze until you are
    ready to make a batch of basic soap.
    End of quote from that site.
    So there we have it. From comments on other web sites, I suspect that
    extra efforts to separate the pure white layer of tallow from both
    heavier and less-dense layers would improve the quality, including a
    second round of melting and separation if necessary. Probably better to
    attempt it in warm weather when you can heat the pot out of doors,
    rather than spreading its odours through the house!
    Makes for an alternative to the retail product anyway.
    Trevor Kenchington
    Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus{at}iStar.ca
    Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
                         Science Serving the Fisheries

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