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How do you keep your schmaltz?

When I roast my chicken(s) I drain any leftover fat into a glass container, cover it, keep it refrigerated, and use it as needed.

I went to get a spooful of some (monthish) old chicken fat last night. I had mold growing on it (WAAH).

You hear about folks keeping bacon fat (and I thought schmalz) for ages in the fridge.

How??

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  1. Interesting. I've kept various animal fats in the fridge for years at a time and never seen mold. I make sure it's still screeching hot when it gets put into the fridge, and when I use it I either use it from the top, scraping off layers as I go, or else I heat the whole jar in the microwave until it's fully liquid and pretty hot.

    I recently cleaned out all of my jars -- chicken, Turkey, duck, Goose and bacon fat -- and melted them down and poured them all into my deep fryer. Best. Potatoes. Ever.

    Seems to me mold can only grow in the presence of moisture, i.e. water. May want to make sure all the water is gone after rendering the fat and before you store it. But even if there is moisture, it should sink to the bottom below the fat and I can't see how it would be on top for mold to grow. Maybe it should go into the fridge hot but uncovered so any evaporation of remaining moisture wouldn't lead to condensation that would rest on top of the fat. Just a guess.

    1. The drippings from a roasting chicken are not just fats. Chicken contains a higher water:fat ratio than other meats, bacon especially, so your drippings contain myoglobin, blood, water, fluids that will contribute to spoilage. If you want to make pure schmaltz, you need to slowly render chicken fat and allow its water content to evaporate. It is a slow and not altogether sweet-smelling process.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JungMann

        Agreed. Roast chicken drippings != schmaltz. Best used right away, or at most within a couple of days.

        Properly made, schmaltz will keep in the fridge for quite a while. (I like it best when I've rendered it with onions. Very tasty, and you end up with extra-yummy gribenes too as a bonus.)

      2. I usually keep my bacon fat in a glass jar in the freezer door and chicken fat in a zip lock bag (flattened) and laying down so I can break off a piece to use. I do this because chicken fat freezes harder than bacon fat.

        1. What else do you guys do with chicken fat ? I've only really used it to reheat cooked rice and to melt a bit on top of a bowl of chicken soup (delicious). Potatoes and liver sound amazing. But what else?

          4 Replies
          1. re: ramonasaur

            You can use it for all sorts of things - it's really an all-purpose cooking fat (not sure how well it would work in baking, though).

            1. re: ramonasaur

              You can use it as a sub. for other fats/oils in just about anything.

              I mainly use it in my chopped liver. My Mother used it in place of butter in mashed potatoes - I don't care for it, but it was a Kosher related holdover that my folks enjoyed. My Grandfather used it as a spread for sandwiches, my Great Grandmother had it on toast for breakfast daily until her death at 86 from an issue not related to the heart.

              1. re: ramonasaur

                I use it in the dough for kreplach... yummy.

                1. re: ramonasaur

                  I've used it as the fat in pastry making, although the resultant flaky pastry is VERY tender and tricky to roll. Best if rolled between sheets of plastic or parchment. Delicious for chicken pot pie!

                2. I just rendered 15 lbs of chicken fat to give as gifts! As folks have said, once the water boils out, it can last for a long time in the fridge or even longer in the freezer. I also add onions to the fat which gives it the most amazing flavor (and extra gribenes to boot). I then use the fat for everything: scrambled eggs, searing steak, sautéing veggies and the best: matzo brei. Matzo brei fried in schmaltz is the greatest. I also throw the gribenes into lots of dishes: eggs, lentils, etc.

                  1. I typically don;t keep drippings more than a couple of days, if that. mostly I use them for something that will be served next to the main event.

                    However, when I render chicken fat, or much better - duck!, for schmaltz it keeps for months in the fridge.
                    you can render it with onions, or even garlic, just keep the temp low enough to prevent any browning and take your time.
                    I also strain it before putting it into the glass jar, but you don't have to do that.

                    1. Your fridge might be warmer than you think.

                      When I render solid animal fats (except for bacon fat, where I want the brown bits), I put them in a covered container with some water, shake vigorously, and then refrigerate overnight. Then I remove the solid fat, cut off the bottom - where the water helped to trap the impurities - and the re-melt the fat to go into the longer-term container of choice. Works like a charm.

                      1. I keep schmaltz, bacon fat and lard all in separate containers lol in the fridge. Only the schmaltz has ever grown mold and I think that is because it's harder to render out just the fat without any liquid since I'm getting it from roasted chicken pieces.

                        1. Thanks everyone--looks like i wil keep my frozen in the future for the ease of it.