You’re gonna want to save more of your leftover grease after you see what clever folks on the interwebs are doing with it.
You’re not a grease-saver. I get it. Neither was I before I wrote this post. I wasn’t ever sure what I’d do with it. And holding on to stuff you don’t have an immediate use for can lead to hoarding. That’s what they say, at least.
Or, perhaps you are a grease saver. I don’t know you very well after all. Perhaps you’re one of those clever folks stockpiling bacon grease in coffee tins for after the apocalypse.
No matter which camp you’re in, making good use of leftover oils and grease is a smart thing to do – just because they look nasty or smell like rancid french fries, doesn’t mean they’re beyond their useful life. Some brilliant folks on YouTube have figured out what to do with it all.
But first, some words of wisdom I’ve garnered in my hours of reading up on the subject:
- Remember to always use caution when there’s fire around – if you don’t already have at least one fire extinguisher, this is your reminder from nagging Auntie Nancy. Please go get one already – this one is a good starter if you haven’t already got one.
- If you’re using leftover fat, be sure to schmaltz it – that is, strain it through a coffee filter (you do have a stockpile of these, yes?) or an old t-shirt. Getting rid of the bits will help extend the life of the fat and make it burn cleaner.
- For wicks, remember that they must be all cotton, otherwise they won’t burn well. I’ve seen old clothing (jeans in particular), string/twine, and a mop head used.
Now hold on to your fryin’ pans, here comes the brilliance:
1. Button Emergency Light
The Button emergency light is straight out of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter.
It’s a sweet light, don’t you think?
2. Tuna Can Emergency Lamp
A short video (who doesn’t appreciate brevity?) and a super-clever take on the tuna can emergency lamp that will surprise you. “It’s easier to light a can of tuna than curse the darkness” — well said, brother.
And now a word from my sponsor: if you want a great tuna to make an emergency light with, try this one. It’s the only brand of tuna I can eat after being spoiled on fresh tuna while living in Hawaii.
3. Mason Jar Oil Lamp
This nice lady will show you how to use canning jar attachments to make a classy-lookin’ oil survival lamp. This is a great candidate for something decorative too, like for a wedding or outdoor gathering.
You can find these canning jar attachments on Amazon and EBay. Just check the diameter of the attachment matches your jars.
4. Bacon Survival Lamp
I know I should be keeping my bacon grease. I know, bad prepper, bad. But now I have a real survival reason to: the bacon survival lamp.
You can get wick by the roll here. There’s also a great and very detailed instructable on this out there – this brilliant Aussie has devised a lovely survival lamp made from bacon grease. Nice work.
I’m going to start keeping my bacon grease in one of these very smart grease keepers from now on.
5. Crisco Emergency Lights
Ah, father and son doing projects together. Super cute and interesting way to make a wick, although I think they could trim it a bit. Thirty-five hours of burn time isn’t bad from a can of shortening.
Apparently this is a pretty popular way to make a survival lamp. When you check out Crisco on Amazon, you’ll see that people who bought it there also bought oodles of candle wicks too. Hmmm.
7. Birch Oil Lamp
It’s a fairly long video, but really instructional.
If you are unsure of how to identify a birch tree, it might help to have one of these helpful books in your knowledge-base.
So there you go – how even the nastiest grease can save your bacon in a blackout. Remember to always use extreme caution when using fire, and for goodness sake, get a fire extinguisher today.
Your turn: What’s been your experience in using a grease/oil-based lamp? I think all of us reformed grease-wasters would benefit from your experience. Thank you.