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Tallow Candles

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Tallow candles in survival situations.

A candle made from tallow is a great addition to any survival kit. They provide a long burn time, and in an emergency tallow can be used as a survival food. Emergency and survival candles have many uses including; fire starting, providing light, emergency survival food, pan frying foods, providing heat, and the larger ones can be used for cooking.

Tallow candle history.

Tallow has been used in candle making for several hundred years. The way that they were made has been updated, but the end product remains un-changed. Years ago people would dip a wick in tallow fat, leave it to dry and repeat the process again until the candle was about 3/4 inches thick. Nowadays however tallow candles are mass produced in moulds.

How are tallow survival candles made?

A tallow emergency survival candle can be made from Natural vegetable fat such as oleo stearin, or can be rendered from fat processed from suet. Suet is a type of hard fat from an animal (normally beef or mutton) that comes from the loins and kidneys of the animal. This fat melts down easily, and becomes solid at room temperature.

To make tallow survival candles the suet first needs to be rendered. To do this the suet is usually minced to allow it to be melted down easier, Once melted down any larger bits left over from the simmering are removed by straining leaving a clear liquid leftover, this liquid is allowed to cool then the process is usually repeated.

Tallow Candles
Tallow for survival candles.

Normal candle wax has a much higher melting point than tallow, meaning a tallow candle will have a longer burn time. To produce a good light a tallow candle needs a fat wick that needs constant snuffing so that the flame will stay in contact with the fat.

In an emergency survival candles and tallow candles can be used as food. Although it may not taste very nice it will provide you will enough energy to find your next meal, if needs be you can even use tallow as oil for pan frying. Below is a Nutritional value chart for beef tallow.

Beef tallow nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Carbohydrates 0 g
Fat 100 g
- saturated 50 g
- mono-unsaturated 42 g
- polyunsaturated 4 g
Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 109 mg
Selenium 0.2 mg

Why should I buy tallow survival candles?

A tallow survival candle, whether made from animal or vegetable fat will have a significant burn time. Most of the tallow survival candles on the market have a burn time of 10-12 hours, where other candles made from paraffin, beeswax, or soy may have a much less burn time.

In a survival situation a fire may not always be an option for you. Fire gives off smoke that could give your location away, or the smell from a fire could lead unwanted attention to your location. Emergency candles could be used in these circumstances to provide heat, cook food, boil water, provide light, and start fires. Why mess about using matches when you can use a survival candle to start your fire instead?

How to make your own tallow survival candle

You will need:

Suet/ Melted tallow.
Sauce pan
Candle wick (cotton or rolled up dryer lint).
Frame or rack to hang wicks from.
Container to hold melted tallow.

Step 1. Melt the suet in a sauce pan until it becomes a liquid, remove any larger bits so you are left with just the liquid. Note that the suet should be ground or chopped first so that it melts down easier.

Step 2.Put the liquid into your container. Then take your wick and dip it into the melted tallow and let soak for 20 seconds. Remove wick from liquid tallow and hang on frame or rack to cool and harden.
Step 3. Once first layer has hardened (takes about a minute), repeat steps one and two until you have the desired thickness. You can use a fan to speed up the process.
There you have it. How to make your own emergency candles from tallow, You can save yourself money by making your own emergency candles from suet. Just remember that tallow does not store well, especially in hot climates.