What is Tallow?
Tallow is classically made from rendering beef fat, though other types of meat may also be used to make it. The beef fat used for rendering typically is taken from suet, which is a hard type of fat near the loins and kidneys. In the process of rendering, tallow is heated up to a point where it liquefies and the impurities can be removed. It has been used for a variety of purposes from cooking to soap making and from animal feed to candle making.
In food and cooking, tallow may be used as oil for frying and as ingredient for making pemmican, a Native American dish. Tallow may also be used as shortening for breads and pastries and as part of the ingredients for margarine. Aside from beef fat, tallow may also be sourced from horses, sheep, and pigs. People who don’t eat meat and are vegetarians have also their own version of tallow using tallow tree as the main ingredient. Tallow is also used as part of the ingredients of various animal feeds like those for chickens and pigs.
Aside from its food use, tallow has also been used in making soaps. Though most soaps today are made from glycerin, there are still companies that manufacture soaps based on tallow. Tallow just needs to be mixed with lye to make soap. It is also said that the soap purity can be measured through the soap color, which depends on what animal is used to make it. Some people also used tallow in making candles. If the tallow used has a fine texture then it will produce a cleaner candle burn. Beeswax may also be added to make the tallow candles more firm and stable.
Other uses of tallow include lubrication for steel rolling. In this area, tallow has proven to be a great alternative to synthetic oils. Tallow is also used as flux for soldering and as a main ingredient in making conditioners for leather.