When Bette Mitchell, Beef Baroness at Mitchell Bros Beef, asked me if I’d like to help out with experimenting with tallow soap, I jumped at the opportunity.
If you traveled back in time, to homesteads across the country, tallow would’ve been one of the primary ingredients in soap. Tallow is a form of rendered beef fat that is ultra rich in vitamins A, D, E, K, and fatty acids. It has an extremely similar composition to human fat, so it makes a great moisturizer as well as a solid bar of soap.
I love trying new things. And what’s better than new? Old! Going back to the way our ancestors lived and created products. Second, I love the idea of using pure, ethical, local product. I’m a staunch believer in using an animal nose-to-tail, re-purposing what would otherwise be wasted.
Which is how I ended up at the breath-taking Flint Rock Ranch, located in the Porcupine Hills in Southern Alberta with Bette Mitchell and a large amount of tallow.
The process of tallow soap making is simple. You take the rendered tallow, add lye and water and voila! You have soap! But rendering tallow is not for the faint of heart. It’s tough and messy work. We started, on Saturday afternoon, boiling down the suet (beef fat) over an 8 hour period. We strained it and let it sit overnight and reheated it come Sunday morning. Then it was time to do a few more sieves to remove any traces solid bits and make sure that tallow is pure and ready for the soap making process. Once all was said and done, Sunday afternoon we had 4 huge baking pans of pure rendered tallow, ready for the soap-making journey to commence!
Watch for my next blog post on what comes after!