Beef suet is a versatile and delicious ingredient that has been used in traditional British cooking for centuries. It’s a pure, crumbly fat found around the kidneys of steers and heifers, and it’s perfect for making all kinds of steam puddings, pastry, and deep-frying.
But what about its shelf life? Does beef suet go off?
In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of beef suet, how to store it properly, and whether or not it can go bad.
So, if you’re a fan of this tasty ingredient or just curious about its longevity, keep reading!
Does Beef Suet Go Off?
Beef suet, like any other food, has a shelf life. The good news is that beef suet can last for quite some time if stored properly. However, it’s important to know when it’s time to throw it away.
Beef suet has a much shorter shelf life than other fats, so it should be stored in a refrigerator for no more than 7 days, or in a freezer for up to 6 months. Beef suet should NOT be stored at room temperature as it will go rancid within a couple of days.
When compared to beef tallow, beef suet can’t last as long. Beef tallow can be stored for 12 months at room temperature, 18 months in the fridge, and over 2 years in the freezer. However, you should not pick tallow over suet just because of the shelf life. You should consider the purpose you’d like to use suet or tallow.
Beef suet bought at a supermarket may be hydrogenated to extend the shelf life, but by adding trans-fat you’re making it less healthy. If you do not intend to use beef suet right away, you can cut the suet into cubes and store the smaller pieces in the freezer. Then you can take what you intend to use.
It’s important to note that if beef suet goes off, it will be rancid and have a smell that you really cannot mistake. No smell means it’s absolutely fine! If you’re unsure about the quality of your beef suet, you can melt a teaspoon or so in the microwave or a pan and see if it smells rancid before using it.
What Is Beef Suet And How Is It Used In Cooking?
Beef suet is the hard, white, and crumbly fat surrounding the kidneys and loins of a cow. It has a melting point of between 113 °F (45 °C) and 122 °F (50 °C) and a high smoke point, making it ideal for stable frying. Suet has been used for centuries in traditional British recipes, such as steamed puddings, pastry, and sweet mincemeat. It adds a dark and rich flavoring to dishes like meat pies, while vegetarian suet is used for lighter foods.
Suet is a type of saturated fat that home cooks use to add moisture to sweet and savory dishes. Its crumbly texture and solid state at room temperature make it an ideal ingredient for creating less-greasy pie crusts than butter would yield. Suet can be used in many recipes calling for shortening and other cooking fats. It’s especially good for greasing a pan you use for sauteing or as the fat you deep fry in.
One huge advantage of suet over other flavorful fats is the fact that you don’t have to render it. Instead, you can simply throw it into whatever dish you’re making. This includes baked goods too. If you’re trying to get a flaky crust with alternating layers of flour and fat, the firm nature of unrendered suet gives you a huge advantage. Suet is somewhat less sweet than lard and tastes neutral enough that it’s best described as “bland.”
In addition to its use in human kitchens, suet is a popular ingredient in bird feeders. It’s also found in some Caribbean recipes (like Jamaican patties) and chili con carne. However, it’s important to note that beef suet has a shorter shelf life than other fats, so it should be stored properly if not used immediately.
How Long Does Beef Suet Last?
Beef suet has a relatively short shelf life compared to other fats. When stored in the refrigerator, it should be used within 5 days if fresh. If you don’t plan to use it within that time frame, you can portion it up using freezer bags and store it in the freezer where it will keep for up to 6 months.
It’s important to note that beef suet should not be stored at room temperature as it will go rancid within a couple of days. Unlike beef tallow, which can be stored at room temperature for up to 12 months, beef suet is more perishable and requires more careful storage.
If you’re unsure about the quality of your beef suet, you can always conduct a simple smell test. If it smells rancid, then it’s no longer good and should be discarded. However, if there is no smell, then it’s safe to use.
To extend the shelf life of beef suet, it’s recommended that you cut it into smaller pieces and store them in the freezer. This way, you can take out only what you need and avoid wasting any excess. Also, if you’re buying beef suet from a supermarket, be aware that it may have been hydrogenated to extend its shelf life. However, this process adds trans-fat which makes it less healthy.
How To Properly Store Beef Suet
Storing beef suet is crucial to ensure its longevity and quality. Here are some tips on how to properly store beef suet:
1. Refrigerate or Freeze: Beef suet should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. It’s important not to store beef suet at room temperature as it will go rancid quickly.
2. Cut into Smaller Pieces: If you don’t intend to use all of your beef suet right away, you can cut it into smaller pieces and store them in the freezer. This way, you can take out only what you need and leave the rest frozen.
3. Check for Rancidity: If you’re unsure about the quality of your beef suet, you can melt a teaspoon or so in the microwave or a pan and see if it smells rancid before using it. If it has a strong odor, it’s best to throw it away.
4. Store in Sealed Containers: Beef suet should be stored in sealed containers to prevent any air or moisture from getting in. This will help keep it fresh for longer.
5. Label and Date: It’s always a good idea to label and date your beef suet containers so that you know when they were stored and when they need to be used by.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your beef suet stays fresh and ready to use whenever you need it.
Signs That Beef Suet Has Gone Bad
It’s important to be able to recognize when beef suet has gone bad. Here are some signs to look out for:
1. Discoloration: If you notice any mold or bacteria growth on the suet, it’s a clear sign that it has gone bad and should be disposed of immediately.
2. Unpleasant Smell: Rancid cooking fats have an off, soapy smell when they’ve gone bad. If your beef suet smells sour, putrid, or generally unpleasant, it’s likely that it has gone rancid.
3. Unpleasant Taste: If you’re still unsure after examining the suet for discoloration and smelling it, you can taste a small amount of it. Suet that has gone bad will have a rancid taste that is unpleasant and can ruin any dish you’re making.
If your beef suet passes the sight, smell, and taste test, then it’s likely still safe to eat. However, always be mindful of rancid animal fats as they have almost no nutritional value and can ruin the flavor of your dish.
Can You Still Use Beef Suet After It Has Gone Bad?
If you notice any signs of discoloration, mold, or bacteria growth on your beef suet, it’s best to dispose of it immediately. The same goes for if it has a rancid smell or taste. Consuming rancid beef suet is not recommended as it can cause food poisoning and other health risks.
It’s important to always be mindful of the shelf life of your beef suet and to store it properly. If you’re unsure about the quality of your beef suet, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it away. It’s not worth risking your health for a small amount of expired fat.
Tips For Using And Cooking With Beef Suet.
Beef suet is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some tips for using and cooking with beef suet:
1. Flash fry for a crispy snack: Cut up the beef suet and flash fry it on high heat for a crispy snack. This is a great option for those on a ketogenic or no carb diet.
2. Render down to make homemade tallow: Beef suet can be rendered down to make homemade tallow, which is a pure beef fat alternative to heavily processed plant-based oils. Use tallow for cooking and frying, as it has a high smoke point and adds great depth of flavor to dishes.
3. Saute or stir-fry veggies: Use tallow as a healthy animal-based oil for sauteing or stir-frying veggies. This will add a delicious meaty undertone to your dish.
4. Brush and baste on spuds: Brush and baste tallow on potatoes to make superb and crispy roast potatoes for Thanksgiving.
5. Store properly: Beef suet should be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you do not intend to use it right away, cut it into smaller pieces and store in the freezer.
6. Check for rancidity: If beef suet goes off, it will have a rancid smell that cannot be mistaken. To check the quality of your beef suet, melt a teaspoon or so in the microwave or a pan and see if it smells rancid before using it.
By following these tips, you can make the most out of your beef suet and create delicious dishes with this versatile ingredient.