Friday, December 3, 2010

Lance's Bear Hunt

We have a friend, his name is Lance,
he likes to hunt for bear......
and when he hunts, he really hunts,
and then he loves to share  :)

 Our sweet friend has blessed us abundantly with bear meat and bear fat from a very local source.  OK, I have been up and down on this one.  It really has some..... smell to it.  Not bad, just different.  I'm working on it.

We bottled up several quarts of beautiful, rendered bear fat.  How do you do that, and why???? you might be asking.  Well, here are directions and some of the reported uses and facts for rendered bear fat.

Take the bear fat, clean it, chunk it up, put it in a big pot, put on a stove (we used the wood stove) and liquify.  Strain while it is warm and bottle up.  Store in a cool place.  It looks like hard shortening when it is cold.

I confess, I did not know I should clean and chunk it before rendering it for this batch, but it seems like it turned out fine.  I'll let you know how the different process works out.

So, the uses, in no particular order:
(I have only tried a few of these, but we plan on trying out as many as possible this winter)
  • Boot oil / Leather conditioner
  • Wood conditioner
  • Apparently makes the finest croissant, biscuit and pie crust you can make
  • A concentrated energy source
  • Soap making
  • Candle making
  • Hair grease (we will not be trying this)
  • Oil lamp
  • High quality gun oil
  • Pemmican
I will let you know how it goes.  If it goes rancid, I'm thinking boot oil.


Here are a couple of great web sites Mrs. Survival  and Grandpappy's that have a lot of basic information on soap and candle making.  Can we use some modern ingredients instead of this wood ash thing?   Still in the experiment phase.  I have never actually made either of these items in my life...... but that does not mean it is not on my radar.  :)

ye olde style

If You EVER want to try this, please check out this very helpful web site.... How To Make Soap
 Here is a link to the history of soap making.  Maybe.  :)  Soap Facts 

Ingredients: bear fat, white wood ash

  1. Sift ash into cold water. Let sit overnight, then strain through a cheesecloth, saving the potash water. 
  2. Render bear fat in a kettle over medium heat. 
  3. Boil a quantity of the potash water and rendered bear fat while stirring constantly.
  4. The mixture will react. Continue adding potash and rendered fat until you have a suitable quantity of soap. Ensure there is no excess lye by tasting the soap. If it tastes sharply of the potash water, add more fat and stir some more.
  5. Remove from heat and ensure saponification has halted. Pour into molds or suitable containers before it solidifies.


    Ingredients: bear fat, bees wax, cod liver oil
  1. Take equal parts of rendered bear fat, beeswax and cod liver oil, heat together slowly until thoroughly liquefied and blended.
  2. If you use just bear fat, it will eventually degrade the leather.
  3. Pour off into containers and allow to cool to solidity. 
  4. This can also also be rubbed in to protect wood.
Here is a product advertisement from Finland for Bear Grease leather conditioner.  I think it has other ingredients added.   "Bear is simply the best leather dressing on the market. It nurtures leather. It softens leather stiff with age. It waterproofs leather. It restores leather's warm glow. Use on work boots, hunting boots, hiking boots, saddles, harnesses, leather furniture, baseball gloves and leather jackets."

RECIPE #3 - Pemmican

Grandpappy has pemmican information all organized as well.

Native Americans used rendered bear fat, dried preserved meat, nuts and berries and ground everything up/mixed in the fat to create pemmican.  Pemmican is a compact source of energy that contains protein, fiber, fat, carbs, sugars, vitamins and minerals... an advance protein bar perhaps.

I just wonder how this tastes. 


    1. No hair grease Cindy? Where's your spirit of adventure? :->

    2. An interesting post.I think I would like to try making soap, but I want the glycerin kind. It sounds like a good boot grease. Seems I read somewhere that it was used for dry cracking feet back in the day.

      1. See entry below refering to glycerin soap.

    3. Ann..... I'm just not there yet :) Maybe next year. Hope you enjoy yours.

      Jackie, I had not heard that. Thanks for the tip. I'll try to find a recipe. This is a problem that I have since I hate wearing shoes and am barefoot as often as I can.

    4. When the fat and lye are boiled together it causes saponification (as refered to in the recipe.) This is a chemical process that turns the two ingredients into the soap and at the same time produces glycerol or the glycerin you were questioning.