While not a commonly used material for candle making in modern times, tallow candles used to be quite popular. Making tallow candles is an easy way to use up some of the tallow that may be sitting unused in your fridge or encourage you to even attempt rendering down that fat that is sitting in a bag in the freezer.
Heat-resistant jar or container
Popsicle sticks or a couple of pencils to hold the wick in place while the tallow solidifies
Step 1: If you still need to render the fat down into tallow, start here. Otherwise, skip to the next step. Finely dice or chop the fat (it helps if it is slightly frozen). Then, in a crock pot set on the lowest setting, render down the fat until it is mostly liquid – this process may take all day, and can be a bit smelly so it’s advisable to do it outside if possible. Strain the cracklings from the liquid, then pour the strained tallow into a container and allow to firm up. Store in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.
Step 2: In a double boiler over medium-low heat, add the tallow and allow to melt completely. Remove from heat and allow to sit for a minute to cool – it will be very hot at this point so practice caution. Add essential oils at this point if desired for fragrance, stir to combine.
Step 3: Place the wick into the jar (using a little dab of wax or a small, double-sided sticker). Keep the wick upright in the jar by wrapping it around a pencil or popsicle stick. You could also try balancing it between two sticks. Pour the liquid tallow into the jar and allow to solidify completely before using. Trim wick before lighting for the first time.
Exercise caution while burning candles and never leave them unattended. Due to them being made of tallow, please be extra cautious around pets as they may be attracted to the smell – even if it is so faint you yourself do not notice one.
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