How to Turn Animal Fat to Lamp Oil

Oils from animals, vegetables and minerals have long been used to burn as fuel in lamps. Although paraffin is now primarily used in these lamps, animal oils can still be used in the lamps by rendering the fat into tallow or lard. The tallow will cool to a hard, waxy substance that will burn as a candle if a wick is incorporated into the center before cooling. To use in lamps, combine the heated tallow with a vegetable oil and blend. The mixture will form a gel that can be poured into a lamp.

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Animal fat can be rendered to make lamp oil.

Step 1

Cut the animal fat into 1-inch cubes.

Step 2

Pile the cubes in a large pot. Add just enough water to cover the cubes. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least one hour.

Step 3

Strain the separated fat into a bowl to get rid of any bits of meat.

Step 4

Cool the contents of the bowl to room temperature. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.

Step 5

Lift the hardened fat out of the bowl. There will be liquid left behind in the bowl to discard.

Step 6

Fill the pot with water. Break up the fat and place in a pan. Place the pan on top of the pot to form a double boiler. Heat the water gently until the fat melts.

Step 7

Cool slightly. Poor the warm fat through a mesh strainer, funneling into a Mason jar. Pour the strained fat back into the bowl. Allow it to come to room temperature, refrigerate over night.

Step 8

Break up the tallow and place back in the double boiler. Pour sunflower oil into the pan until the tarrow is covered. Heat gently, stirring to incorporate the fat with the oil.

Step 9

Funnel back into the Mason jar. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature at which point it should be in a gel consistency. Pour the gel into the oil lamp.


Gregory M. Dew

Gregory M. Dew has been writing about arts and culture since 1998. His work has been published in "The Ohio State Lantern," "Columbus Wired" and "Columbus Yogurt." Dew has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ohio State University.