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Suet facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Beef suet-01
Calf suet

Suet is the raw, hard fat of beef or mutton found around the loins and kidneys.

It is available to buy ready prepared, in which case it is mixed with flour to stop it melting at room temperature.

Cuisine

Sitta canadensis CT3
Red-breasted nuthatch feeding on suet

Suet is found in several traditional British dishes. Suet pastry is soft in contrast to the crispness of shortcrust pastry, which makes it ideal for certain sweet and savoury dishes. Suet is most widely used in sweet puddings, such as jam roly-poly and spotted dick. Savoury dishes include dumplings, which are made using a mixture of suet, flour and water rolled into balls that are added to stews during the final twenty minutes or so of cooking. In the savoury dish steak and kidney pudding, a bowl is lined with suet pastry, the meat is placed inside and a lid of suet pastry tightly seals the meat. The pudding is then steamed for approximately four hours before serving. Suet is also an ingredient of traditional fruit mince (known as 'mincemeat' in the UK).

Suet should not be confused with beef dripping, which is the collected fat and juices from the roasting pan when cooking roast beef. Suet should also not be confused with all beef or sheep fat. It is normally the fat found around the heart and kidneys of cattle and sheep, and nowhere else in the animals.

Due to its high energy content, suet is used by cold weather explorers to supplement the high daily energy requirement needed to travel in such climates. Typically the energy requirement is around 5,000–6,000 Cal per day for sledge hauling or dog-sled travelling. Suet is added to food rations to increase the fat content and help meet this high energy requirement.

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