Friday, November 2, 2012

Tallow Candles

Super simple, nearly free lighting.  I bought these little juice glasses at a thrift store.  The larger one is from an old wax candle that was used up.
The wicks are just cotton string from the dollar store, tied to an old nut on the bottom end, dipped in melted tallow and then left to stiffen up.
I added a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of cinnamon to the tallow before pouring.  I can't say as it makes any difference.  I really don't smell anything as they burn.

Like all candles in a jar, they are self drowning.  Not a big deal, it just means I need to keep another jar handy to pour off the liquid.

Today should be the last day in the oven for the beef fat.  Most of the cracklings have stiffened up already, and I've started feeding them to the dogs and birds.  I have 4 quarts of tallow, plus the candles, and I expect I'll get one more quart by the end of the day.

12 comments:

  1. Lovely! I feel like a visit to your farm is like going back in time. In some ways I suppose it is as you do so many things the traditional ways. Its interesting to see how all the different parts of the steer are being put to good use.

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    1. Thanks Sue. No, not so much that one would notice, lol. We still rely heavily on electricity and fossil fuels. One step at a time...

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  2. Essential oils are used to add scent. The scent lasts a little longer if it's kept in a closed container, otherwise it dissipates.

    Careful feeding grease/fat to dogs.. it can do a number on their pancreas (pancreatitis). Extremely painful, miserable way for them to die. You probably won't know if there are any necrotic spots until it's too late.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Anne.

      At this point I've never bought nor made essential oils, so won't be adding them as an ingredient in candles. I may try flower petals if I make a batch in the spring or summer.

      I looked up pancreatitis, as well as dietary fat for dogs, and if anything, my dogs' general fat intake is probably on the low side. Please keep in mind that they rarely eat commercial dog food, live in the far north where fat is more readily burned just in keeping warm, and my dogs are not sedentary in the least.

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  3. From the looks of your pictures, those candles burn very bright. You sure can't ask for cheeper light. I understand the use of cinnamon with the tallow (smells yummy) but why the salt?

    Also, have you ever ate the beef cracklings? When I was a kid, we love the cracklin's from our pigs but I don't remember ever eating them from our steers? I don't know why, you?

    So when are you going to jump on the homemade bar soap craz? Seems like everyother blog is doing it with their rendered fat. I've got my great grammas recipe for it if you want to try. Just kidding, I think you have enough on your plate already...but I really do have my great grannys soap recipe if you want it!

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    1. The salt helps to harden the fat.

      No, I tried pork cracklings once, but wasn't impressed.

      lol- waiting for Sue to post more instructions. Actually, I think I'll follow this outline
      http://candleandsoap.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=candleandsoap&cdn=homegarden&tm=94&f=20&su=p504.6.342.ip_&tt=3&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.rogueturtle.com/articles/soap.php
      if I ever do try it. We burn mostly pine though, so I'm not sure about the quality of my lye. I'd love great granny's soap recipe!

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    2. Sorry for the wait, Wendy! Some of the photos didn't turn out so I'm waiting for someone to help me with another batch.

      Maybe I should just reduce the recipe so it's small enough for me to handle alone! lol

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    3. No worries, Sue! and no rush. You just make me want to try it!

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  4. Did you treat the wicks with salt and borax? I think it makes the wicks slower to burn. Does it smell like you are cooking beef when you burn the candles? I have some juice glasses that I was going to donate somewhere. I may get out my Gulfwax and make candles. You are certainly using every bit of the cow. I am so impressed. Unscented candles are so much healthier. Do you lose power very often?

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    1. No, I didn't treat the wicks. I haven't read anything that suggested doing so.

      I didn't smell anything while burning the candle- not cinnamon or beef or anything. It could be just that after cooking fat and stock for over a week my nostrils have gone on strike, but no, no smell.

      Just a cautionary note- I don't know whether the juice glasses can actually handle the heat. I assume since they are 'newer' juice glasses that they are dishwasher safe, and therefore suitable, but I have no proof. This is an experiment.

      as always, my blog is a journal of my life, not a how to on living yours.

      We usually lose power 5-6 times through the winter- heavy snow, fallen trees, ice- and then another 5-6 planned outages through the summer while they're doing repairs. We've never lost power for more than 12 hours here, but you never know. I also like to burn a candle at my desk in the morning to take the chill off while the fire is warming the house.

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  5. Way to go using the fat too. If you grind your fat it melts far quicker and doesn't not have a tendency to over cook. A tip, the fat from around the kidneys is the fat you really want to use. It is the driest and hardest of the body. In a pig it is called leaf lard. It hangs down the middle of the hog. You can pull it away easily and is premo lard for pies. It can also be used in candles. Beef, pig, sheep, and deer fat has all gone into experiments I've done in making soap. I did dip candles and taper mold candles. Jars being precious around here. easylivingthehardway.blogspot.com

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