Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. It is solid at room temperature. Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.
Industrially, tallow is not strictly defined as beef or mutton fat. In this context, tallow is animal fat that conforms to certain technical criteria, including its melting point, which is also known as titre. It is common for commercial tallow to contain fat derived from other animals, such as pigs or even from plant sources.
Tallow is used in animal feed, to make soap, for cooking, and as a bird food. It can be used as a raw material for the production of biodiesel and other oleochemicals. Historically, it was used to make tallow candles, which were a cheaper alternative to wax candles.
Tallow is used in the steel rolling industry to provide the required lubrication as the sheet steel is compressed through the steel rollers. There is a trend towards replacing tallow based lubrication with synthetic oils in rolling applications for surface cleanliness reasons.
Tallow is also the primary ingredient in some leather conditioners.
The use of tallow or lard to lubricate rifles was the spark that started the Indian Rebellion of 1857. To load the new Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle, the sepoys had to bite the cartridge open. It was believed that the paper cartridges that were standard issue with the rifle were greased with lard (pork fat) which was regarded as unclean by Muslims, or tallow (beef fat), regarded as sacred to Hindus.
Tallow, along with beeswax, was also used in the creation of lubricant for American Civil War ammunition used in the Springfield Rifle Musket.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||3,774 kJ (902 kcal)|
|Fat percentage can vary.
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
The composition of the fatty acids is typically as follows: