The Absolute Best Method For Storing Tallow

Block of beef tallow
Block of beef tallow - David Pimborough/Shutterstock

The juices that fall from cooked meat, or pan drippings, turn into delicious dressings and gravies. Yet they don't come close to beef tallow, the hard fat known as suet, that cushions the cow's organs. It has a nutty, savory taste that elevates fried eggs and beefs up popcorn. In other words, we can't live without it. To easily amp up your dishes, you'll need to learn the best way to store beef tallow.

Tallow is cooked down into a clarified, scoopable spread. With its pure nature, it's great in soaps, cosmetics, and — the absolute best use for tallow — a cooking oil alternative. While pan drippings should be kept in the fridge and last for a week, there's no better place to store tallow than on the shelf or in the pantry. These locations are accessible, so you can always reach for it when you need it. Keeping tallow out of the fridge and freezer helps to maintain its soft texture, so you can easily ladle it out.

Since tallow is shelf-stable, all you need to do is keep it in a cool, dark place where it won't be exposed to tons of light or heat, two things that diminish the fat molecules and cause it to spoil. The fat should also be stored in an airtight container, like a mason jar, to prevent oxygen from triggering the oxidation process. Label the jar with the date you stored the tallow — it should last up to a year.

Read more: What Happens If You Accidentally Eat Mold?

How To Know If Your Tallow Has Gone Bad

Beef tallow in jar
Beef tallow in jar - MOUTASEM PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock

Generally, beef tallow has a mild, beef-like smell that isn't wholly unpleasant. When it's gone bad, though, the fat will develop a rancid odor that may smell sour or a little like soap. Its once nutty flavor will also take on a sour tinge. Appearance-wise, if it turns discolored or starts to develop mold, throw it out. Tallow may also harden when it's spoiled, even if it's kept at room temperature.

Keeping tallow in a cool, dark location is the best way to store it, but you can increase its lifespan by keeping it in the fridge or freezer. In the fridge, you'll still need to keep tallow in an airtight container to preserve its quality. Store it away from pungent foods to present the fat from taking in different smells. If stored correctly in the fridge, tallow can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months. It will harden slightly in the fridge, but you can melt it in a hot saucepan.

Tallow stays the longest in the freezer, lasting up to two years. However, this method is only best if you rarely use the fat. Freezing it may change its texture a little, but it still works well as it preserves the quality. You can thaw frozen tallow in the fridge, but for the best results, pour tallow into an ice cube tray and place it in a freezer safe bag to easily melt it in a pot when needed.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.