Until the Cows Come Home

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Wow, my initial determination to get projects recorded here in a timely fashion didn’t last long. First off, there was the pre-Christmas rush, and then the whole family came down with the flu for the Christmas holidays (and beyond). We’re just finally (mostly) back to normal this week.

So, backing up a bit. In early December our much anticipated  mixed quarter of grass fed beef arrived ! We’d been buying grass fed ground beef at our butcher for over a year, but they don’t carry other cuts, and it’s not certified organic. At various times in my life, I’ve been vegetarian, or mostly vegetarian,  but after a nasty bit of illness 3 years ago I found out I’m gluten and corn intolerant (possible celiacs) and dairy doesn’t do the body good anymore either, so my diet had to change. I did the gluten free substitution thing until this past year, but still was having issues with grains in general (and sugar). As a result, I decided to go grain free, and luckily there is a whole world of people out there following the paleo diet so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. My favourite recipe site.

Which brings me back to the beef. I wanted to be supporting a small scale local farmer and the O’Brien farm fit the bill. I also want to be as sustainable as possible, make my budget go as far as possible, and utilize as much of the animal as possible. I haven’t quite made it to liver yet, but I was supper excited about getting more marrow bones for stock, and rendering my own tallow.

Since rendering tallow seemed pretty straight forward it was one of the first things I did after safely getting our meat tucked away in the deep freeze. Actually, the first thing I did was to order Shannon Hayes book on cooking grass fed beef. HIGHLY recommended !!! Preping the beef fat was simple. I chopped it up fine, added it to my slow cooker, put it on low and left it for the night. OK, now here is the part that I haven’t seen mentioned before. Grass fed beef smells, well, grassy. At least to me. Granted, I do have an overly sensitive sense of smell. The fat, once it started to melt was particularly pungent. Nobody else in the house seemed bothered much, although they did admit to a smell. I on the other hand wanted to run screaming from the house ! Fortunately, it was all done by the next day, and once cooled the tallow lost most of it’s smell. Surprisingly, when re-heated for cooking (I use tallow to sear our meat) it has a much less noticeable odour. The final colour of the liquid tallow was also interesting; bright yellow, practically florescent ! I hoping that’s all the good stuff from the grass. Once cooled it was much more cream coloured but still definitely on the yellow side.

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I’m hoping this will last me for awhile, at least until  I can have all the windows open !

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