All About Beef Tallow Storage
You might find yourself with a big tub of beef tallow because your local farm was having a deal and now you don’t know how to store it all. Well, the good news is that beef tallow keeps fairly long in many different places. Beef tallow has a pretty long shelf-life as long as it’s rendered and stored properly. Storing properly basically means in an air-tight container, with no exposure to moisure, air and extreme temperature fluxuations. A good air-tight container is a glass mason jar. There are three ways to store tallow: at room temperature, in the fridge, and in the freezer. Generally, tallow keeps the longest in the freezer.
If you bought a large quantity of beef fat to render yourself, or a big vat of already-made tallow, I would recommend dividing it into smaller, more usable portions to use it all with little waste. Keep reading below for more info on how beef tallow keeps and how to store beef tallow in each place in the kitchen.
In the Pantry
Tallow can last in the pantry at room temperature for about a few months. It doesn’t really spoil or mold as long as it isn’t exposed to air or moisture. The main problem you would encounter is the top oxidizing. It is recommended to keep it sealed tightly in a glass mason jar, away from light and extreme temperature change.
Additionally, this may vary if you rendered it yourself vs commercially rendered. If it was rendered commercially it is likely that the manufacturer ensured all the water and other impurities were rendered out. However, if this was done yourself, you may not be certain that it was rendered completely. If you rendered the tallow yourself and aren’t a seasoned pro, I would recommend keeping it in the fridge to be on the safer side. Read below to see how to know when tallow has spoiled.
In the Fridge
Tallow will last for months to a year in the fridge. That being said, it’s recommended that you keep track of how long it’s been there. It’s always a good habit to mark the date on the jar with some masking tape and a marker. If anything looks or smells off, even if it’s been stored properly and isn’t that old, it’s always safer to toss. I keep my tallow in a mason jar in the fridge, marked with the date.
In the Freezer
Tallow can be left in the freezer for a year or more. The only problem you might run into is some freezer burn on the top. The tallow could possibly also absorb some flavors of other things in the freezer if you do not seal the containers. You can store it in glass mason jars or silicone or plastic containers. If you’re worried about the glass cracking, make sure you use mason jars with no shoulder, such as Weck jars. Also ensure that you do not put hot, liquified tallow straight into a glass jar and then into a freezer– that extreme temperature change could definitely cause some glass breakage. Another great storage option are these silicone Souper trays. I really find the Souper trays really convenient and easy to use, since they are portioned out to two cups (or smaller). I personally use them to store tallow in the freezer. You can use the tallow straight from frozen, you don’t have to let it defrost to use it (unless you need it to be pliable).
Do not refreeze the tallow once it has been defrosted.
How can I tell if tallow is spoiled or rancid?
Besides anything very obvious visually, such as mold, rancid or spoiled tallow will have an off smell. Any abnormal odor coming from your tallow is a sign that it has spoiled. Also, if you taste something off or “fishy” from your tallow, toss it, as it is likely spoiled. Usually, any oil or fat that has a “fishy” smell or taste is rancid.
Can I reuse tallow?
Yes, you can reuse tallow. You should strain it with a fine metal colander or mesh sieve with a paper towel after frying with it to remove impurities and pieces of food, and then refrigerate it in a tightly sealed jar. How many times you can reuse it is your call, but definitely stop using it and toss it if it starts to smell or look off.
Make sure you pour your used, liquified tallow back into a wide-mouth container, otherwise when it solidifies, you will have to remelt it in the container to get it out.