Despite my efforts to live simpler, be greener and eat healthier, Mr. Hippie likes him some junk food. To that end, we have something that has become known fondly as “Meat Day” in our house. Meat Day is when the boys in my family consume a pound of bacon and sausage. I do my best to buy local sausage and nitrite/nitirate free meats, but let me tell you, that stuff’s expensive. So, some “Meijer Meat”, as my daughter and I have taken to calling industrially produced meat, sneaks through. I try to trick them into eating healthier by serving eggs, potatoes, and pancakes or french toast with their meats, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are consuming copious amounts of pork products.
With pork products come pork fat. There are many uses for pork fat. I add some into my dog biscuits and homemade dog food, but that poor dog couldn’t possibly eat all the bacon grease produced by Meat Day. (Well, he probably could and would love every second of it, but it would be a messy, messy walk the next day.)
So, what do you do with all that grease?
If you’re like Ivory Soap and Tomato Lady at Little House in the Suburbs, you make soap with it.
I have friends that make soap, and I’ve always wanted to make soap, but I have been intimidated by the lye-factor. But, when you have this much grease, intimidation becomes an afterthought to, “I have to get these damn jars of grease out of my kitchen!”
So, here goes.
- Microwave the jars of grease for a minute until they are soft enough to dump into a big pot.
- Fill the jars with water and add the greasy water to the pan.
- Bring the greasy mess to a boil.
- Remove the mess from the heat, stir it and add a jar of COLD water.
- Let cool until the fat hardens on top. (I put mine on the back porch to speed thing up, but it is January in Michigan~you may need to use the refrigerator, or wait a really long time.)
- While the fat is cooling, stir up a batch of homemade bread and then make a batch of homemade laundry detergent.
- Write a post about the detergent.
- Check on the fat and water. See that it is still warm. Decide that even though it is January, the porch isn’t cold enough.
- Move the pot of fat and water to the fridge.
- Make Homemade Fabric Softener.
- Write a post about Fabric Softener.
- Check on the fat. See that it still isn’t hardened.
- Turn the oven on and bake the bread.
- Become impatient. Make space in freezer for fat.
- Wonder why I didn’t cook the fat in smaller batches to speed cooling time.
- Run to Tom’s to buy habañero peppers for this recipe.
- Start dinner.
- Check on the fat. See that it has finally hardened.
- Take it out of the freezer.
- Scoop the fat out onto a plate.
- Dump the nasty brown water and bacon bits out.
Check to see if your grease still has too much “gick” in it. Wonder how long it will take to do it over again so that the resulting fat is cleanish. If your fat is clean the first time, lucky you! You can now start actually making soap. If not, continue on to step #23.
- Crack a beer.
- Clean the grease pan.
- Scoop the fat back into the pan, add two jars of water and return to a boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add a jar of ice water.
- Place the pot of fatty water directly into the freezer. Wonder for a second how bad it is for the freezer to put that steaming pot in it.
- Take a drink of beer. Finish cooking dinner.
- Eat dinner.
- Start making chocolate chip cookies.
Start making habañero cookies.
- Check the fat. Decide that even if the fat was hard, it is too late to start soap today anyway; move the tub of fatty water back out to the porch to finish next weekend.
- Put the icemaker receptacle back in the freezer. Finish the cookies. Go to bed.
This post continues here with actual directions on making soap!