Chew the fat: Pt.2
£6.99 (for 265g)
Organic grass fed beef tallow, also known as suet or clod fat is the fat from around the kidneys of 100% organic grass fed cows. Rich in CLA and Omega 3s. Our tallow is not bleached, deodorised, hydrogenated or processed in any way. The only processing involves gently heating the fat until it melts, so it can be poured into the jar and then quickly cooled. Once received, tallow can be kept in the fridge for a month, or frozen for up to 6.Green Pasture Farms*
There are people on paleo and keto diets prepared to pay a premium for tallow extracted from the fat around the kidneys and loins of grass-fed cattle from organic farms. We’re really into our homemade tallow, and it’s interesting to learn that a product of similar quality is now such a highly priced commodity.
Your butcher’s beef dripping was probably made from fat trimmed from the meat, with most of the kidney fat being grated raw for use in baking as suet. Nowadays dripping is rarely available in our shops, and round here at least, suet not at all. Last year we ran out of homemade tallow, and although we couldn’t find a butcher who still sold dripping, we did manage to buy some from Timaru’s New World supermarket.
What we didn’t want was to be consuming the chemical residues stored in the fat of cattle reared on non-organic farms. And it was probably partially hydrogenated as well to increase its shelf life. Hydrogenated oils being bad for your heart because they increase ‘bad’ cholesterol and decrease ‘good’ cholesterol. So we stopped using it and bought in coconut oil instead.
Generations of mums, just like ours, fed their kids roasts and shallow and deep fried foods cooked in beef dripping. Remember when fish ‘n’ chip takeaways tasted best? Deep fried in beef dripping. Hayden, the mobile abattoir butcher, was here a couple of weeks ago. Plopping the kidney and loin suet fat from our cattle beast in a large bucket and recalling: “Butchers used to buy a lot of this from us. No suet and dripping these days, it’s all vegetable oils.”
Not all vegetable oils are created equal of course – some of them would appear to be very healthy choices. Personally though, I’d only feel I was missing out on some health-enhancing vege oil goodies if I stopped drizzling olive oil on my breakfast porridge.
We’ve now rendered the fat from the cattle beast we had killed, skinned and gutted here recently. The carcass was hung on a hook inside the mobile abattoir truck’s chiller to be taken to the butcher’s shop to be made into steaks, roasts, mince and a few kilograms of sausages.
Our cattle feed on a variety of pasture grasses and herbs, and we farm using organic methods. Grass-fed along organic lines, we’re confident that the fat has the health-enhancing qualities that are referred to in the online promos I provide a link to below.* And that it’s not just another diet fad and sales hype!
It was a small cattle beast we had done, but I still walked out of the paddock and puffed up the drive carrying a 10 litre milking pail up to the brim with fat, and another full of cheeks, tongue, kidneys, liver, heart, tail.
Once the fat has firmed up in the fridge, June uses the food processor to grate enough suet to fill a two litre ice cream container. Then half the fat is stored in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the freezer for making into tallow when we run out of what we’ve made from the other half. Duly labelled and bagged, the offal and meaty bits go straight in the freezer.
The rendering method we use is very straightforward. The solid lumps of suet fat are put in our large roasting pan with the lid on, and the woodstove’s brought up to a temperature of around 150 to 160 degrees Celsius. At this relatively low temperature the melted tallow fat stays at well below its smoke point of 205 degrees.
When enough has melted to fill four or five small glass or ceramic containers it’s poured off, and the remaining solid fat is cut into smallish pieces to make it easier to get out as much of the remaining tallow as possible. The golden liquid cools and hardens to form solid blocks of white fat which we leave in the containers but seal off with plastic bags before storing in the freezer.
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.