Tallow is an animal byproduct that has several good homesteading applications. It can be used to make soaps and salves; it makes the best lard for pastries, and it can even be used as a candle wax. It is white, odorless, and at room temperature it has the consistency of a soft bees wax.
To render tallow you need to start off with the fat from a moose or elk. Deer or cow works well too but typically moose or elk is the way to go.
Start off by filling up a pot with fat taken from the animal as soon after it has been dispatched as possible. Fat goes rancid quickly so the sooner it goes into the pot, the better the product will be. Bring it up to a simmer. It will mostly liquify and turn clear.
At that point you want to turn the heat off and leave the pot alone to cool. Do not disturb the contents as they cool. The tallow will rise to the surface and harden as it cools. Beneath the tallow will be the liquid portion of the fat (which I usually discard unless I am going to use it to fry something the same day). You will be able to lift the tallow right out of the pot or you can tip the contents into a strainer to make retrieval easier.
Place the cooled hardened tallow into a new clean pot and reheat it. It will turn back to liquid and you will see some sediment in it.
Into a heat-proof wide-mouthed container, using a wire mesh strainer, pour the liquid tallow. The strainer will catch the sediment and the final product will cool and harden to a nice clean white.
There you have it: tallow! Come back and visit the blog in the future to see us attempt homemade soap using tallow and lye rendered from our own potash!
Happy Homesteading Xx