Living on our farm has afforded us so many ideas for recycling and saving money. We have had our fair share of power outages from severe wind storms, the worst leaving us without power for 3 days.
There are no street lights here in Foster, RI so when we do lose power it feels like we are in the stone age. Bacon is a staple in my daily routine. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Everyone knows that it is bad to dump oil and fat down kitchen sinks, but most people do it anyway unless they are on a septic system like us.
Not only do we recycle used glass jars from jams and sauces, we save any and all oil and fat and use it for light. I started by saving all the melted fat left over from cooking bacon in a large glass jar, and I used it as a replacement for oil or butter when needing to grease a pan. The fat started to fill the jar very quickly, and I wasn't using as much as I needed. I noticed that the bacon fat stayed solid unless it was exposed to sun or extreme heat, so I bought candle wick to try burning it for fuel.
Everybody thinks that burning bacon fat candles will cause their homes to smell like cooking bacon. Although I would love to smell bacon in my house all day, I learned quickly that burning these candles doesn't put off much of a smell at all. I had also noticed that they burn slower than when I burn wax candles, provided that the wick stays trimmed as to about 1/4 an inch from the top of the fat.
When we were slammed by Hurricane Sandy last year we weren't prepared and got stuck with no light and had no candles on hand. One of our neighbors supplied us with a kerosene lamp and some candles, so we made it through, but we have since taken strict measures to help us be prepared for when we lose power again. These candles are easy to make.
All you need is some cheap candle wick, which you can get on Amazon, some bacon fat, and some empty glass jars to store it. In the event of an emergency, you may also use Crisco for making candles. When you accumulate enough fat to make a candle, melt it in a pan. Place the wick into an empty glass jar and pour in the melted fat. Allow it to harden in a cool, dark place such as a basement or refrigerator.
One thing you do need to worry about with storing these candles is pests. We made the mistake of blowing out one of these candles in our barn and leaving in on a table at night. While our cats aren't pests, they were nice and full from the bacon fat when we found the empty jar in the morning! Make sure you use jars with lids. Keep the lids on securely and store the candles in the basement or cupboard until you need them. Wash the outsides of the jars thoroughly before storing them to keep away the mice.