0

votes

Shelf stable fat

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 20, 2010 at 6:17 AM

Here's a question I've never seen asked before. Why are plant fats shelf-stable, while animal fats not?

It doesn't seem to be the saturation, because coconut and palm are highly saturated and they are shelf stable.

It doesn't seem to be sterilization of bacteria, because rendering should be able to get the fat much hotter than fruits & veggies get when canning them. Though having said that, low acid veggies do need to be pressure cooked to get their temp above 212 deg F.

Anyone know? I suppose rendering once every 2-3 months isn't so onerous, but once a year is my kind of convenience.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 21, 2010
at 02:57 AM

Yeah, tallow has a looooong shelf life even when at room temp. Should last eons in the fridge or freezer.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 21, 2010
at 02:55 AM

I do think the manufacturers tend to err on the side of super over cautious. This saves them from any lawsuits and also makes it more likely you will buy more of their product instead of using some older stuff you already have. This is a winwin situation for them.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 21, 2010
at 02:28 AM

In a few days I'll get my shipment of coconut oil from the plant in Tecoman- can hardly wait!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 21, 2010
at 02:27 AM

In Mexico it melts too much- I take it out of the fridge and in a few minutes it gets soft.

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on November 20, 2010
at 03:51 PM

Interesting. Now I'm wondering if the typical citation of 1-3 months in the fridge and 1 yr frozen is people being afraid of the food police & lawyers. Thanks. For others, yes we leave butter on the counter all the time. Salted seems to do better there. And I suppose shelf-stable is a relative term. I knew it wouldn't immediately go bad, but I was thinking long-term storage, like canned foods, w/o needing freezer or fridge space.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on November 20, 2010
at 03:14 PM

Butter does not last long enough when left out in my kitchen. I tend to eat it too fast to test stability!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 20, 2010
at 01:53 PM

You're right. Saturation confers stability.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

6 Answers

best answer

2
0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

on November 20, 2010
at 03:07 PM

In my experience, tallow is shelf stable. I've got tallow at 65f in air tight glass containers. Oldest batch 1.5 years old and still passes the sniff and taste tests. Both home rendered and from US Wellness. Pork lard has lasted me a similar duration in my basement storage.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 21, 2010
at 02:55 AM

I do think the manufacturers tend to err on the side of super over cautious. This saves them from any lawsuits and also makes it more likely you will buy more of their product instead of using some older stuff you already have. This is a winwin situation for them.

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on November 20, 2010
at 03:51 PM

Interesting. Now I'm wondering if the typical citation of 1-3 months in the fridge and 1 yr frozen is people being afraid of the food police & lawyers. Thanks. For others, yes we leave butter on the counter all the time. Salted seems to do better there. And I suppose shelf-stable is a relative term. I knew it wouldn't immediately go bad, but I was thinking long-term storage, like canned foods, w/o needing freezer or fridge space.

5
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 20, 2010
at 08:11 AM

Many plant oils are not shelf stable. For instance, the PUFA laden corn oil and other seed oils are rancid almost from the outset. The heat required to make them also oxidizes them. Then they are bleached and perfumed to hide the rancidity. This same treatment also makes it hard to detect their degeneration until they get really badly rancid if given enough time. So PUFAs are NOT stable. It IS all about the saturation. THe saturation makes oils stable and the least likely to go rancid or form transfats. That is why many paleo eaters are in favor of saturated fat intake.

For the best veggie oils, palm and coconut oil are a few of the most stable plant oils as they are very saturated. Oils that are highly saturated are very shelf stable. These saturated fats come from warm climates where they will always be liquid because the temps there are high. Plants from colder regions must have less saturated fats in order for the oil to remain liquid at lower temps. Animal fat has a mixture of types of fat, with beef and pork having the most saturated fat. Cold water fish tend to have a lot of PUFA and less saturated fat. You can tell how saturated an oil is by looking at what temp it melts at. The slower it is to melt (more solid at room temp), the more saturated it is and the more stable it is. (not including artificially hydrogenated frankenfoods that is..) Even butter has a lot of saturated fat and is solid at room temp. Butter is actually reasonably shelf stable out of the fridge. In the old days before fridges were invented, it was never refrigerated! ;-)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 21, 2010
at 02:28 AM

In a few days I'll get my shipment of coconut oil from the plant in Tecoman- can hardly wait!

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on November 20, 2010
at 03:14 PM

Butter does not last long enough when left out in my kitchen. I tend to eat it too fast to test stability!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 21, 2010
at 02:27 AM

In Mexico it melts too much- I take it out of the fridge and in a few minutes it gets soft.

0
Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on March 04, 2011
at 02:03 PM

Butter has too much water - but Ghee will stay indefinitely in a cool dry place as long as it's not contaminated. It does not need to be refrigerated.

0
5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

on March 04, 2011
at 05:50 AM

Thought I'd offer an update for others that may be interested in this topic.

I got tired of having to chip at my home rendered lamb tallow, which I kept stored in the fridge, every time I needed a tablespoon or two. Based on the answers to my original question I decided I'd keep it in the cupboard and see what would happen. I figured worst-case it would grow mold and I'd throw it out. Right off I noticed it was much, much softer. At 65-67F or so (yeah, it's winter time here) it was quite easy to spoon out. By closest comparison, I'd guess a touch softer than butter.

After about two months I noticed it developed an ever so slight gamey smell. Now, about three months later, the smell has progressed to full-on gamey. I don't think I'll let it hang around to find out, but I'm going to guess in another 30 days it will be past gamey and firmly into stink. As there's barely a couple tablespoons left I'll probably just pitch it and make fresh.

All in all, I think keeping 30-60 days supply at room temp is completely safe and considerably more convenient. I reckon this summer I'll go back to storing it in the fridge and just deal with having to chip at it for July and August.

0
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 20, 2010
at 02:23 PM

Like Eva said, it is the saturation that makes a fat stable, so animal fats are usually more stable than plant oils. Hydrogenation will increase the stability of unsaturated fats because it artificially saturates them. Gross.

I think you could render tallow just once a year, if you made sure you got all the moisture out, and especially if you keep it refrigerated or frozen.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 21, 2010
at 02:57 AM

Yeah, tallow has a looooong shelf life even when at room temp. Should last eons in the fridge or freezer.

0
14aa918d730371ed14f8e7e7d6eb6587

on November 20, 2010
at 07:04 AM

I thought tallow was shelf stable? I recall reading that pemmican lasted a long time, even if not refrigerated.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on November 20, 2010
at 01:53 PM

You're right. Saturation confers stability.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!