This is a guest post from my friend Marisa from the blog bumblebee apothecary. She is a mama of 2 little ones and has one on the way. She shares lots of DIY skin care products and healthy recipes. As you know, these are a couple of my favorite things. Today she is going to introduce us to an ingredient she uses in almost all of her recipes, tallow. I think you all will be amazed at what this healthy fat can do for our health and skin.
Traditional fats are making a comeback. You might be wondering, what is tallow? I’m going to introduce you to this healthy fat, and talk about the many beef tallow uses.
Years and years ago, fats like tallow and lard were staples in our ancestor’s homes. For a time they became less popular. But lately, we’re starting to rediscover just how wonderful and nutrient dense traditional animal fats like tallow are.
What is tallow anyway?
Basically, tallow is rendered fat. It can be from any animal, but usually, the term tallow refers to rendered beef fat. The cleanest and highest quality tallow comes from the fat from around the animal’s organs. Another name for this type of fat is leaf fat.
The rendering process melts and turns the raw fat into tallow, or as I like to call it, liquid gold! There are two main methods to render tallow: the wet method and the dry method.
Tallow is liquid when heated, and solid at room temperature. It is very shelf stable at room temperature.
As a cooking fat, tallow is amazing. It has a very high smoke point, abundant healthy nutrients, and imparts a wonderful flavor to food. One of my favorite things to make with beef tallow is beef tallow fries. They are so delicious!
Is tallow healthy?
You might have heard that saturated animal fats are not healthy. At a certain point, vegetable oils (which are really toxic, inflammatory, industrial seed oils) replaced traditional, healthy fats, like tallow, in many people’s homes and diets, not to mention as commercial ingredients. This was because of some incomplete studies that claimed that saturated fat causes heart disease. However, there is no scientific evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease.
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a wonderful resource of information on healthy fats. You can read all about why saturated animal fats are some of the healthiest fats out there here.
What are some benefits of beef tallow?
Fat from 100% grass-fed, grass-finished cattle makes for the most nutrient-dense fat. Beef fat from grain-fed cattle is good but doesn’t contain the same abundance of beneficial nutrients as fat from grass-fed and grass-finished cattle. 100% grass-fed tallow, on the other hand, contains so many amazing nutrients! These nutrients are beneficial both for skin and for our health when we consume them. Here are some of the nutrients found in tallow from grass-fed cattle:
- Vitamins A, D, K, & E, & B12
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid with natural anti-inflammatory properties
- Palmitoleic acid (omega 7) which is one of our skin’s basic building blocks
- Palmitic acid, which helps improve the protective barrier function of the skin
- Stearic acid, which helps to repair damaged skin, and improves skin’s flexibility and suppleness
As you can see, there are a lot of nutrients in grass-fed tallow! These are beneficial for building and maintaining a strong body, for hormones, brain health, healthy skin, hair, and nails, and so much more.
When we consume healthy fats, like tallow and butter, they actually help our bodies to assimilate and better use nutrients from other food. And I don’t know about you, but I think that foods are much more tasty when healthy fats are included!
What are some beef tallow uses?
There are actually a lot of uses for beef tallow. Back in the homesteading days, tallow was used for just about everything: cooking, moisturizing and healing skin, soap, candles, conditioning leather, lubricating machinery, and even styling hair!
Today beef tallow is used mainly for cooking, artisan soap, and candle making, and for those really in the know, for skin care.
Many people are discovering how incredible tallow is as a cooking fat. With its vast array of nutrients and high smoke point, tallow can’t be beaten. And it is so delicious! I mentioned that I love beef tallow fries. I use tallow all the time whenever I need a cooking oil for frying or sautéing. Other things I like to make with tallow include pie crusts and using it for frying things like donuts. Is it just me or does reading about tallow make you hungry, too?
I love beef tallow for soap making as well. It keeps soap bars nice and hard so that they don’t melt away when they get wet. Tallow also cleanses well with rich, creamy lather, while adding skin moisturizing properties to soap.
Beef tallow for skin is less known today, but I’m so excited to share it with you. Tallow balm is the most popular way to use tallow for the skin. Usually, tallow balm is made using mostly tallow with a little bit of liquid oil (like olive oil) to keep it soft and easily spreadable. Adding essential oils boosts the benefits of tallow balm.
There is nothing better than tallow balm for soothing, healing, and deeply moisturizing skin. Tallow can heal and soothe eczema, diaper rash, sun and windburn, and dry or itchy skin. The myriad of nutrients and antioxidants in tallow even make it a wonderful anti-aging face cream.
Tallow balm can also be the most wonderful boost of moisture for the ends of long hair when used as a deep conditioning hair treatment.
Getting creative with tallow
When it comes to beef tallow uses for skin and hair care, I don’t stop at tallow balm and soap. Some other things I like to make with grass-fed tallow are various salves, including an herb-infused salve and a black drawing salve. Lip balm, both plain and tinted, is really fun to make. Tallow gives lip balms such a nice, nonsticky, matte texture. Shampoo bars with tallow are so amazing! They are one of my most favorite things ever.
I’ve also experimented with making a tallow sunscreen, a tallow lotion, and a heat protectant for hair. I think it’s so much fun to think of ways to incorporate tallow into lots of different skin and hair care products. The nutrients and other awesome properties it adds make it so beneficial and versatile.
Have you excited to start using tallow?
What do you plan to make first? Something for skincare, or something delicious in the kitchen?
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