DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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29 June 2015

Starting a dripping pot

At the risk of sounding ancient, which I'm close to, or old-fashioned, which I often am, I want to write about dripping today. I know!  Scary stuff in these fat-free times. But a little bit of fat won't do you harm.  All things in moderation, so the saying goes.  Dripping is what we used to call the fat that rendered down off roasted meat. Dripping is beef or lamb fat and pork or bacon fat is called lard. Dripping and lard were a valuable ingredients in many pre-1970s homes. Most households had a dripping pot which was usually aluminium, pottery or an old china bowl.  Most dripping pots had a lid and a well fitted strainer to collect bits and pieces from the cooking. These were discarded or kept in the fridge until the next stew.

Tricia and I never had it but our mother, father and grandmother all talked, with affection, of eating bread and dripping. It was quite common pre-world war 2 to use dripping instead of butter on bread. I have fond memories of my mother's dripping pot, usually full, sitting in a dark cupboard, although I think she would refrigerate it now. And although I've never eaten dripping on bread, I still use dripping in cooking and I hope I can get you to make up a little dripping pot to try it yourself.



This is a little dripping pot I've just started - it's an old jam jar used for preserving, so the glass is toughened.  I'm on the lookout for a proper pot and when I find one at the second hand store, I'll grab it, give it a good scrubbing and use it for the dripping I save.

I only have a fraction of the dripping my mother collected. Meat is leaner now, we don't eat meat everyday and often I make a sauce with the dripping and don't collect it. But I do save the dripping from our roasts and also from bacon. I strain off the dripping through a strainer or sieve and store it in the fridge until it's needed. After you've saved dripping from a few roasts, you'll see a small dark layer under a lighter colour layer of fat on top. The dark layer is full of flavour but when I use the dripping, I dip the spoon right down the bottom and take some of the dark layer too. Although you can turn the pot on it's head until it's set and have the jelly layer on top.

Dripping can be used to cook roast vegetables or to make delicious gravy. Whatever it goes with it give a lovely flavour to because it has the concentrated flavour of the meat in it. If you brown your meat in dripping when you're making a casserole, it will add an extra level of flavour to the meal.

To make gravy, I take two tablespoons of dripping, add 1½ tablespoons of plain flour, salt, pepper and a small sprinkling of paprika (for colour). Stir the dripping and flour together over a medium heat and let it brown while you stir.  When you reach a good rich brown colour, add enough water to make a gravy to the consistency you like.  

If you're raising your own beef or pork, you probably know more about rendering fat than I do and you're might be using it in your soap as well, I'd love to hear from you to know how you're processing that fat and what you're using it for.  But if you have a small amount of dripping left when you cook and usually throw it out, try this and see if you like the extra ingredient and the ability to use as much of the animal as you can.


53 comments:

  1. Jamie Oliver's recent cookbook "Save with Jamie" encourages saving the dripping from the big weekend roast for the leftover meals created during the week. unbeatable flavor.

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  2. We keep a small jar of bacon drippings in the fridge for cooking with. I also keep an empty aluminum can (usually from tomatoes) in the fridge at all times for other drippings, like frying oil or other meat grease that I don't like to use for cooking because the flavors are strange. I'd never realized that people used to spread drippings on bread instead of using butter, that's very interesting. I have heard that people used bone marrow from meat bones that way.

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  3. Growing up in England a huge treat on Christmas morning was having the solidified turkey dripping (and the jelly) on toast! It was delicious.This was in the 50's and early 60's. We came to Canada in '66 and no one had heard of dripping on toast or even saving the drippings. Everyone thought it was gross. They don't now what they are missing! I'd never be able to convince my husband or kids of that though. It's been many years since I've had that artery clogging treat!!!lol

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  4. Delicious! The French here often roll hot cooked green beans in the meaty juices of the dripping, including chicken and duck. My kids love that, and when I explained to them that's what dripping is,I got 'yum' instead of 'yuk', so that's a bonus!

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  5. Thank you Rhonda for your gravy recipe as I am very shameful and use dried granules - tut, tut!!
    Tonight we have had roast chicken for tea so no dripping here!
    Dad-in-law joined us and afterwards we played Scrabble - simple and fun.
    I hope that you have a lovely week ahead.
    xx

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    1. I have a pot of chicken drippings in my fridge from Sunday's roast chicken. Absolutely brilliant for making a sauce for a chicken pie, frying potatoes and many other things besides.

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  6. I love the idea of a dripping pot!

    I started one - quite by accident - whilst on holidays recently. It was very handy and add a lovely flavour to things like eggs and the like.

    If you follow the "Nourishing Traditions" school of thought - its a book about the health benefits of fats and things like bone broth etc - then this is a great day to reuse something considered waste that is actually good for you.

    Not old fashioned at all - its all making a coming back now so you're a trend setter Rhonda! :)

    Thanks for posting :)

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    1. I'm a long term disciple of Nourishing Traditions, EcoMum. It's the best book about this kind of food that I've read.

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  7. I used to have bread or toast and dripping as a child! Money was scarce due to my father's gambling and drinking, but I used to love getting home from school and being given hot toast and melty dripping for a snack, although sometimes it was actually dinner, with bread and butter pudding to follow. Filled our tummies. And Rhonda! I have 2 enamel dripping containers both with the strainers still in......If you like I'd be happy to gift you one. I don't use them for dripping, I don't eat meat now, one I keep my wool in when knitting a few colours, the strainer holds the different strands nicely, and the tin keeps the wool clean and away from kitties, but the other is decorative as I like to rescue old enamel from op shops. Not in perfect condition but clean and good on the inside. If you'd like it, can you email me your address please.

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    1. What a great reuse idea for your knitting, Nanette. I'd gratefully accept your gift. Thank you for your generosity. I'll email you. xx

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  8. I'm only 43, but I used to eat dripping on bread or toast with salt and pepper...absolutely lovely! But then mum got on the fashionable "low fat" band wagon in the 80's and that was that! Dad and I lost our dripping LOL.

    But don't worry Rhonda, Jamie Oliver is bringing fat back. In one of his newer cookbooks SAVE, he talks at length about how to save dripping, and more importantly what to do with it! I love that book, it's taught me so much, and no I don't work for him LOL, I just love his work!

    I pour all the pain juices etc off my roast lamb, and let the gel and fat separate, then I freeze the gel in ice cube trays and use them like a stock cube, (but I don't necessarily add water like you would a stock cube) I call them flavour bombs. The fat I just store in a clean glass jar in the fridge, and use it for frying, that fat makes the best roast potatoes!

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  9. I'm glad to see this. I just put some bacon fat in exactly the same jam jar as yours! And, there was another jar of it in the fridge already. I have to remember to use it.

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  10. I'm just a bit older than you and don't remember my mother's dripping pot but loved to eat bread and dripping to my mother's horror. I have always liked fat and now am approaching 70 and am reasonably healthy so maybe it is not so bad.

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    1. It's frightening to see so many commenters afraid of fat.
      The low fat fad has proven to be a health disaster, and people are thankfully now becoming aware that fat is actually very good for you!
      I'm not surprised to hear you say that you feel reasonably healthy at nearly 70, and I'd bet that the drippings you loved to eat are part of the cause.

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  11. When I first saw your title, I wondered what you meant. I was excited to learn another trick from you! But alas! This is something my grandma and mom used to do, and I had continued their tradition for a while. For some reason I had stopped until we moved to and started out farm. I guess I began again because it is the traditional way to add flavor to foods!
    My daughter asked me why I would save the "drippings" although that isn't what she called them. I explained what I could do with them and she still looked at me like I was crazy. (She accuses me of hoarding, because I won't throw anything out until I am sure there is nothing left of it to use. ;) )

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  12. Yorkshire puddings! So far this is the primary food that has my family eating dripping. So delicious. I too have been keeping a look out for a dripping pot. Mum got rid of her's around the same time as everyone else and though you used to see them in op shops all the time they're as rare as hens teeth now.

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    1. Yeah, I haven't seen one in the op shops for a long long time.

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  13. My grandmother lived near a little town called Lickskillet, MO!! Pan drippings are wonderful, one of my favorites is grandma's 'wilted lettuce'. Fresh lettuce from the garden, bacon (fried and crumbled), a little bacon fat and sugar and some vinegar - yum!!

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    1. HA! what a great town name. I like grandma's recipe for wilted lettuce.

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  14. Oh I love bread and dripping, we always saved a dripping bowl when I was a child and had it on bread with a pinch of salt. Delicious! Elk and beef dripping are the best in my opinion :). Pam in Norway

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  15. My mother always had an aluminum pot on the stove that was meant just for bacon drippings. I have always kept mine, too. So many uses for it to give flavor without actually adding meat.

    She also saved chicken fat. There is a name for it but I don't recall what it is.

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    1. Chicken (and goose) fat is called schmaltz, I also keep the bacon fat. Chicken and beef, too, but don't have it as often these days. Shirley

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  16. My Grandmothers both had a dripping pot and so did my Mother. They had one for meat renderings and another for bacon. They used them to season veggies, especially green beans. The bacon was used to fry potatoes. I can still taste the crisp bacon flavor in their taters... soooo delish... We also used to gather "creek lettuce" (cressy greens) and use the bacon fat on it to make wilted salad. It was also fabulous on all kinds of greens --mustard, turnip, and spinach.

    They used a metal can with a lid to save it in -- a Crisco can -- and it sat on the back of their stoves for immediate use! Soooooo good.......

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  17. I've tried a few times to use the drippings from a roast to make gravy (the same way you describe), but I always end up having to add some stock because the gravy seems to turn out so oily. I wonder if it's actually supossed to be very oily? Or maybe I'm doing something wrong?
    -Jaime

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  18. I store my dripping in a dripping jug I purchased from Odgers and McClelland. My kids love gravy made from the pan drippings. There is no comparison between dripping gravy and the powered stuff and I think it is a much healthier alternative.

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  19. It is weird, I am 30, and we have never not had one in our house. Mum always had one and we used that to do the roast vegetable the next time and in other stuff. Nan also had one so I guess we just carried it down the family. Much better than store bought fats for veg.

    We just use mugs that came with diner sets (because most people always use different ones for their morning tea and coffee anyways lol).

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  20. I saw an aluminum dripping pot at an Op shop-I almost bought it purely because I'd never seen one before but I left it behind and still regret it!

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  21. When browning mince quite a bit of fat can be gleaned for the dripping pot. I save all my fats, keeping poultry fats separate. I use dripping mostly for Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes (why pay for goose fat?) But my very favourite use is on an odd crust with a sprinkling of salt when I'm a bit peckish.
    Great post and comments
    Gill in the UK

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  22. We clarify all our dripping by heating in salty water and then refrigerating, discarding the water and repeating the process. The unclarified dripping tastes the best however.....sourdough bread and dripping with salt and pepper - yummo.

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  23. We are on a station and kill our own meat and roast our mutton with the animal fat and it gives so much flavour. It makes the best roast potatoes and as you said Rhonda, the browning is great for gravy.
    Have a great week.

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  24. Oh my goodness. Rhonda, you must try dripping , but on toast, not bread. It was a childhood treat for me, complete with salt!, truth be told I still have a piece as a treat once. Year, it's so yum, try it, you will love it!, xxBrenda

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  25. I grew up in England in the late 50s and 60s eating the jelly from under the dripping on toast! Mum and dad would have the dripping, but they always saved the best bit for me!
    I have mum's old ceramic dripping pot, and it's still in constant use.
    Now I cook Chorizo quite often, and always save any oils left in the pan, added to the dripping pot, it gives a delicious spicy kick!

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  26. My mother always strained off the drippings especially from bacon and added them in to many things that she cooked. The best to me was when she used them to season dried pinto beans cooked with onions. Ohhhh so good. It makes a nice thickish juice which goes wonderfully over cornbread and is just the thing to have with pinto beans. I could make a whole meal off of this combo!

    Victoria in Indiana USA

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  27. Here in the south it was customary to save bacon drippings and there were canisters made for it. Most times it sat on the rather large stove that had enough space between the burners for it to rest. Everybody used bacon drippings to season green beans and t use again, if you had enough, to fry up steak and such.The wilted lettuce salad mentioned above was a favorite as was adding it to potatoes and onion. I don't even buy bacon anymore so no drippings but it was delightful when we had it.

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  28. I'm so glad you wrote about drippings. I save them, too. My son is a chef and told me he learned that our bodies are designed to metabolize meat fats. On the other hand some of the fats used in processed foods are not easily metabolized.

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  29. Dear Rhonda, I use to love my nana's bread and dripping...lovely memories :)

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  30. We raise rabbits for meat, and when we harvest, we keep all the fat around the kidneys. We put it in a oven safe pan and melt it at 225° until it is done, which is right before 'burnt'. It takes a few hours, depending on how much fat we have. We use it making gravy, rice, or anything that needs a bit of fat. We chop the cracklings and feed them to the Dog. He thinks he's special that way.

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  31. I once told my 100 year old Grandmother that she shouldn't be eating it any more because it wasn't good for her. She laughed and said " I have been eating bread and dripping my whole life, what's it going to do, kill me? "

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  32. I have had a dripping pot going for many years now, ever since I ceased being vegetarian. If you can get meat from pasture fed animals, the fat is of a better quality. It browns meat better, and gives a lot more flavour to gravy than does grain fed animals.

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  33. I have my mother’s in law dripping pot and use it but once full I just discard the harden grease. I don’t know how long bacon dripping are good for, does it go bad? I would love to use it, didn’t know how. thanks Rhonda for the post.

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    1. Eileen, use it in place of oil in your cooking and to make fried potatoes and eggs as well as sauces and gravy. The keeping time is always long but it does depend on the quality of the bacon. Good dry smoked bacon fat will last the longest (months) but cheap bacon usually has a lot of water in it and maybe preservatives, and that will go off sooner. The only way to tell is to save some of the bacon fat in a jar and put it in the place you usually keep your bacon fat. It will probably last months but if it smells or develops mould, it's no longer usable.

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  34. I have always been a veg oil girl..healthier and all that stuff..however as time goes on and I get more back to grass roots I find the thought of eating processed veg oil a bit off really. Last week I went to my local (rural) butcher and was surprised when on asking, he gave me 4kg of fresh beef suet. It was such a satisfying feeling rendering down that beautiful hard fat. I know have a 'dripping tin' , some beautiful suet in the freezer for pastry and dumplings and a nice container of beef fat for soap making.. and all for nothing..however I will give the butcher some soap when it cures.

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    1. Hi Wendy, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil should be okay. That's the only oil I use. I never stopped eating dripping and lard as I've always used it in my cooking. You're heading in the right direction and I bet that soap will be lovely and silky.

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  35. I don't save the drippings but most times I go ahead and make gravy and save that for the next meal. yum...

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  36. Here in the American South the use of a dripping pot is very common. My Cherokee grandmother kept a aluminum one on the back of her stove and to this day I can close my eyes and still remember the wonderful smell and taste of her fried potatoes and wilted greens from whence she used the contents of the dripping pot. I learned to cook from her and I keep a dripping pot as well but I use a mason jar.
    Many people are beginning to go back to our roots here realizing that eating well - that is raising most of your own food and good, hard steady physical activity such as working in the garden, farming and homesteading is the key to a long, healthy, happy contented life, not counting calories and obsessing about every morsel you put in your mouth. The people of my grandmother's generation were long - lived around here and believe me they ate a lot of animal fat! They were very active and worked it off.

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  37. Hi Rhonda, Funny how you are talking about this as we are renovating our house and found a 1940's grease jar in the walls. I too save my drippings in a jar in the fridge.

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  38. Good Afternoo Rhonda Jean, Oh yes, I remember dripping spread on bread. It went hand in hand with the Sunday roast dinner. Often my mother, Phyllis, would give us children, dripping sandwiches for Sunday tea. I don't eat dripping sandwiches now, but I do keep the dripping from the meat in a pyrex bowl.... which is as old as the hills and pop it in the fridge, so when I want to roast potatoes, the dripping is ready and waiting.
    Enjoy the lovely sunshine we are having today. Best wishes from Newcastle.
    Daphne

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  39. Well I like dripping straight from the roast pan, just dip a piece of bread in and eat. his is something my Grandmother who immigrated to Australia with my father when he was ten taught us to do. She often cooked with drippin or lard, especially when cooking something like Yorkshire puddings. She just kept an enamel bowl with a lid next to the stove. She never refridgerated it to my recollection.

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  40. At present I have 3 jars of dripping in my fridge. Dripping makes the best pastry (use instead of butter) for savoury dishes. Man of the house uses some to grease the barbeque when cooking lean meat, the dogs love a slice or two of bread & dripping every morning for their breakfast, roast veges in dripping are delicious. Fat from grass fed organically raised meat is not harmful if used in moderation. All our meat is grown to these standards here on our farm & we feel so fortunate to eat a "Nourishing Traditions" diet with foods that we grow. I can't imagine life without a dripping pot,or two or three, but I realise we're probably a minority.

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    1. I used to eat my grandmother's suet pastry when I was growing up. You're right, it makes the best pastry.

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    2. Truth is e need fat for our brains to work well. all that lowering of cholesterol has been proven to be a wrong approach. The enemy is in fact sugar which covets to fat.
      your dripping pot seems lke a good idea to me.

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  41. Ah,ha!! I have trying to work out why my grandma's baked potatoes always tasted so good. I have never been able to replicate it and through it might be her fuel stove. You brought back a memory today and I can see her scooping out some dripping ( which I wasn't sure what it was until later in life) and putting it in the roasting pan. Have to try it now ....put the dripping post in one of your books or that taste could be lost forever- I could only just remember it ....love it when your posts make everything old, new again!

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  42. I had a roast beef and dripping sandwich last week it was beautiful brought back so many memories

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