To me, the whole idea of homesteading is making the most use of what you've got. That means using up the scraps. We were recently gifted with some fatty cuts of mutton. Though I'm not a big fan of sheep meat, I don't mind it once in awhile. Before I packaged them for the freezer, I cut off as much of the fat as I could, leaving just a bit for flavor when I get ready to cook each portion. I piled all the fat in the crock pot, there was just enough to fill it, added a bit of water and let it heat all day on high. I let it continue to melt on low overnight, then skimmed out the chunks that didn't melt and set them aside for the dogs. The rest of the fat I put in a kettle in the fridge to cool and wait until I had time for the next step.
A few days later, after I got caught up with some other chores, I got out the kettle of fat and remelted it. I heated my canning jars in the oven and got out my funnel, cheesecloth and ladle. After cooling the fat for about 20 minutes, I strained it through the cheesecloth lined funnel into the canning jars. Since I am not planning on using this lard for cooking, I just applied some clean, used lids and let the jars seal themselves. I now have 3 quarts of lovely white sheep fat, with no offensive odor. My first project will be some laundry soap, but that will have to wait until after the holidays.
Laundry soap is always a good way to use up scraps of bar soap or liquid soap and shampoo you have lying around. I've made several different kinds of homemade laundry soap over the years, but my latest batch seems to have the best cleaning power yet.
Here's the formula:
2 pounds homemade soap ends and scraps, shredded in food processor or blender
2 gallons water
1 cup borax
1 cup sodium carbonate
Put all ingredients in a large stock pot and heat until soap scraps are completely melted. Cool before pouring into old laundry soap containers. If cooled mixture thickens too much, add hot water until liquid again. I keep my mixture fairly liquid and use 1 cup per load of wash, with a little extra sodium carbonate added. I have very hard water, and my whites are whitening back up again with this soap and no bleach. I do add about a cup of lemon juice to the whites.