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Have you ever heard of Schmaltz? Schmalz, Smalec or Shmalz? Schmaltz is a clever way Central European Jews or Ashkenazi Jews coped without olive oil in the cold and remote regions of Poland and Ukraine. Schmaltz is rendered and clarified chicken or goose fat. It is commonly used as an oil for frying similar to lard or used for dunking dark and hearty pieces of bread. The savory treat is common in Central European cuisine still. More than just a foodstuff, there is also an old association between clarified goose fat and good luck.

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Why Schmaltz?

Jewish culture dictates that individuals practicing the faith must follow the prohibitions of the Kashrut which is strict or a kosher diet. The Jews are forbidden from mixing meat with dairy products by the Kashrut. Central Europeans Jews didn't have easy access to olive oil which was traditionally part of their diet in the Middle East. They had to get creative and find another way to fry meats and vegetables.

duck fat
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Foie Gras came from Schmaltz

Did you know the Ashkenazi reliance on Schmaltz in central Europe brought about the modern delicacy of foie gras? Chicken and geese are not as fatty as cows, sheep, and goats. To ensure that they had enough Schmaltz for cooking they would overfeed the chicken and geese. Someone must have tasted a fat goose's liver and decided that it would become all the rage in Europe, and they were right. Despite concerns about animal cruelty foie gras is a highly sought after pate in France and the rest of Europe.

Foie Gras came from Schmaltz
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How is Schmaltz Made?

Schmalz is pretty easy to make at home. To create Schmalz, you will need a whole chicken or goose. A fat one. Begin by cutting up the bird and cutting the fatty parts into smallish pieces. Many traditional recipes also include onions in their dish. Next, melt the fat and be certain to collect all the drippings. Some people boil the chicken down and collect the fat that bubbles up to the top. You'll probably need more than one bird for that method to have any substantial amount of Schmaltz. Let it simmer for a long while on low heat and continually stir the concoction. When it turns to fat, extract the good stuff and strain through a high-grade cheesecloth into a sealable container and refrigerate.

YUM!

How is Schmaltz Made?
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Falling into the Schmaltz Pot

Falling into the Schmaltz pot is an old phrase meaning that you have happened upon a lot of luck without doing anything to earn it, like being born extremely wealthy, or being born really handsome or beautiful. Schmaltzy is also often used as a way to describe media or people who are overly sentimental, or soppy about romantic things. Generally, Schmaltzy is used as a way of describing someone whose overly emotional, but with a hint of affection. Schmaltzy is a term rarely used to criticize another person.

Falling into the Schmaltz Pot
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Health Benefits of Schmaltz

Recent studies have shown that Schmaltz may help aid in balancing out of whack cholesterol levels. Schmaltz has the equivalent of monounsaturated fats found in lard. Chicken fat has 3.8 grams of saturated fat in each tablespoon. Schmaltz has much more of the good monounsaturated fat than saturated fat levels, comparatively at 6 grams and 3.8 grams and 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Unlike vegetable based oils, Schmaltz doesn't spoil quickly and offers a budget-friendly and easy way to better your cholesterol levels. Moderate enjoyment of Schmaltz may help prevent heart disease, but it is so tasty, it is easy to overdo it with this savory spread.

Health Benefits of Schmaltz fats
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Shiny Hair, Clear Skin, and Strong Nails

Schmaltz is similar to other healthy, monounsaturated fats because it can help you maintain a healthy head of hair, dewy, youthful skin, and strong nails. They fats are necessary to a human body's overall health and become more vital as we age. This emphasis on healthy fats is crucial to overall healthy cholesterol levels which in turn maintain the strength and integrity of our skin, hair, and nails. The byproduct of Schmaltz (called gribenes) is an enzyme that contains collagen which helps keep your hair strong, your skin clear and supple, and durable nails.

Shiny Hair, Clear Skin, and Strong Nails
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Studies Show Schmaltz isn't any Worse Than Butter for Your Health

The Annals of Internal Medicine published a study conducted by Doctor Rajiv Chowdbury who proved that cream, egg yolks, fatty meats, cream, full-fat cheese, and even butter aren't any worse for your cardiovascular health than olive and canola oil. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition at Penn University discovered that a human diet high in monounsaturated fats doesn't raise triacylglycerol or reduce HDL cholesterol levels. However, monounsaturated fats help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.

Studies Show Schmaltz isn't any Worse Than Butter for Your Health
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Schmaltz Yourself to Weight Loss?

Big business producers of sugary foods and drinks have long been blaming the obesity epidemic in the western world on high-fat foods. However, foods rich in monounsaturated fats like Schmaltz, help you stay full, focused, energetic, and ready to tackle your next workout. Schmaltz may help you lose weight by helping to keep you full longer. That means you might not be as tempted to have that bowl of chocolate ice cream before bed.

Schmaltz Yourself to Weight Loss?
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Protect Your Brain

Scientists have weighed in, and high-fat foods low in monounsaturated fat (like Schmaltz) can help reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. An added benefit of this yummy spread is that it may protect your brain from neurological disease and help you live longer. Essential fatty acids may also help you fight off depression, which has been shown to impact different vital parts of the brain negatively.

Protect Your Brain Schmaltz
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Schmaltz, A Perfect Fit for the Keto Diet

The Ketogenic diet is a nutritional path that focuses on ensuring your body gets all the healthy fats that it needs for optimum wellness. The Ketogenic diet is best for people who are sensitive to carbohydrates. Many people have diets full of simple carbohydrates which can lead to heart disease and obesity. Schmaltz is a great way to avoid carbohydrates while following the Ketogenic diet. It has a hearty mix of essential fatty acids and has a butter-like consistency which lends itself to being a great substitute for spreads and bases in a variety of roasts and stews.

Schmaltz, A Perfect Fit for the Keto Diet

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.