Modern Pioneer - - Candle Making -

Be­fore you can make tal­low or lard can­dles, you must first re­move the fat’s im­pu­ri­ties. It’s sim­ple to do, but it does take some time.


Ob­tain fat from any part of the an­i­mal. How­ever, leaf fat (fat from around the kid­neys) is the hard­est and clean­est. Trim off as much tis­sue, skin and other non-fat par­ti­cles as you can. This is eas­ier if the fat is al­most frozen.


Cut fat into small pieces or toss into a food pro­ces­sor and pulse un­til it re­sem­bles ground meat.


You can ei­ther wet or dry ren­der. Dry ren­der­ing in­volves slowly heat­ing the fat in a crock­pot, skil­let or pot with no wa­ter added. The plus side is no con­cern over wa­ter re­main­ing in the fin­ished product that may cause can­dles to go ran­cid. The down­side is it can scorch eas­ily if you heat it too quickly. Wet ren­der­ing is the same as dry ren­der­ing, ex­cept you add about ¼- to ½-cup wa­ter to the pan to pre­vent burn­ing. If you let the fat ren­der fully, the wa­ter will evap­o­rate and won’t pose any ran­cid­ity is­sues. In both meth­ods, slowly heat the fat, stir­ring pe­ri­od­i­cally. You’ll no­tice changes as the fat be­gins to melt. This may take half an hour to sev­eral hours, de­pend­ing on the size of your batch.


Watch and lis­ten for the fat to start hiss­ing and spit­ting. This is the fat re­leas­ing its im­pu­ri­ties, wa­ter, etc. You’ll see small pieces—some­times called crack­lings—float to the top. Once all of the fat is melted, re­move from heat. I like to strain through a cheese­cloth-lined colan­der im­me­di­ately be­fore the fat be­gins to cool.


Pro­ceed with can­dle mak­ing at this point, or pour the hot fat into a skil­let or cake pan and al­low to cool. Once it hard­ens, pop it out and freeze or leave in re­frig­er­a­tor for later use.

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