TYPES OF USABLE VEGETABLE OILS
Apricot Kernel - have been used for centuries in cosmetics as skin softening
Avocado - oil is expressed from fruit, long time used cosmetics, oil
is more difficult to locate but can be found in food specialty
stores. This oil will make soaps rich and especially emollient.
Castor - expressed from the seed of castor bean plant. This oil adds
mildness and richness to soap. Find this medicinal oil at local
Cocoa Butter - is derived from the seeds of the cocoa tree. Cocoa butter improves
the overall consistency of soap, making it both creamy and hard.
Makes soap especially softening to the skin. Locate this oil in
candy making suppliers.
Coconut - oil is derived from the meat of the fruit and is used widely
in Asian cooking. Look for coconut oil in Asian cooking section
of grocery stores or in specialty shops. This oil while making
a creamy lather and yield medium-hard soap tends to dry the skin.
Use it more sparingly in conjunction with other oils or fats.
Olive - many grades available, all suitable for soapmaking. Soaps from
this oil are hard, brittle, mild, long-lasting, lathers abundantly.
Soap from this oil are very high quality.
Palm - like coconut and cottonseed oils, these are not as readily
available due to recent health studies showing these as contributors
to heart disease. It is still obtainable in Asian specialty stores
ranging in color from white to reddish tones. In soaps this color
will fade as the bars cure. This oil produces soap with long-lasting
bubbles, but kind to skin; makes an excellent facial soap. They
tend toward softness so mill quickly.
Peanut - as nuts are comprised on nearly 70% fat, it is no surprise they
are a good source of oil. This oil is readily available at local
Safflower - readily obtained in grocery stores.
Sesame - obtained from pressing of seeds. Generally available in grocery
stores in Asian aisles.
Vegetable Oils - are about 10% olive oil and 90% either corn, soy or peanut,
or a combination of these. It is an economical ingredient and
yields a decent soap, lathering well, but generally softer than
using all olive oil.
Vegetable Shortening - this is an alternative animal fats. It should be combined with
other oils or fats as it will produce a soft, low lathering soap.
TYPES OF USABLE FATS
Beef - this fat is not as desirable as suet as it is more slippery
to work with and does not yield as high quality tallow as suet.
These soaps are softer and more difficult to work with. Keep fat
refrigerated or frozen until used. Best used as a laundry soap.
Mutton - produces a more brittle soap that beef tallow.
Lard - (pig fat) best used for making laundry soap. This soap is mild
to the skin but does not lather well so combine it with other
oils or fats. Keep fat refrigerated or frozen until used.
Rendered Kitchen Fats (*See technique listed below) - these are fats collected after frying foods and from skimming
soup stocks. Since these fats can include a variety of sources;
chicken, pig, cow, etc., soap results will vary. For this reason,
it is not the most desirable fat. Using too much chicken fat will
produce too soft soap and quality will be limited. If using this
fat, store collected fats in the refrigerator until desire quantity
Suet - is the fat surrounding cow kidneys and once rendered, is the preferred fat of all tallows. Its hard tallow is easy to work with and produces a mild soap. Suet is easily obtained from the grocery store's butcher and should be white to off-white in color, not grey. Good suet is easily flaked and firm. Refrigerate or freeze until used.
Tallow - is the pure fat left after rendering suet or beef. (Rendering is discussed below.) Color is yellowish, soap will be mild and makes small creamy bubbles.
*SIMPLE PROCESS FOR RENDERING 5 POUNDS (2.27 KG) BEEF FAT
Place the fat in a large pot (stainless steel works best) and
melt slowly to avoid burning, allowing about 30 - 60 minutes to
heat. Stir melting fat occasionally with metal ladle. Cool slightly
and carefully run through a sieve to remove debris. To the cooled
fat, add 50% more water. (If you end up with a quart of melted
fat, add 2 cups fresh water.) Return to the heat, covered, and
slow boil 4 hours.
Cool again and strain through the sieve into a large ceramic or
plastic bowl. Refrigerate over night. The cooked fat will have
settled into two or three layers. Invert fat and unmold unto a
plate in the sink. On the inverted top will be a gelatinous and
grainy layers. Scrape this off leaving the pure tallow on the
Wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator for use.
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