Are Leather Goods Edible? Get the Scoop Here

We have talked about different topics about leathers like how to make something out of leatherand tips about becoming a leatherworker. And if you are a foodie person, for sure you’ve already asked the question “Are Leather Goods Edible?” if you want to know the answer to that? Take time to read this article, and I promise you, you won’t be wasting your time because this will tell you all the scoop for you to know if you can eat leather.

Since leathers are from animal hides and skins, they are edible as long as they are untanned. In fact, in the Donner Party, back when people had almost nothing to eat, there were times when they were forced to eat anything around, including leather. 

Do not stop right there! Because even though leathers are edible, there are still things to consider before trying to eat one. To give you a preview, the type of leather is one of those you should take account of.

Types Of Leather You Can Eat

You may think that eating leather is such a crazy thing one could do and might also say that people who tried doing it are out of their minds. But what if an apocalypse happens and we are to face a shortage of food?

Some people are curious that they want to eat anything, even the things that were not supposed to be eaten. And one of the most asked questions is, “Are leathers safe to eat? How?” 

As I said, since leather came from animal hides and skins, they are safe to be eaten, as long as they haven’t undergone chemical treatment yet. And the three types of leathers are safe to consume: untanned leathers, vegetable-tanned leather, and oil-tanned leather because they don’t have anything on them that makes them synthetic to last longer. 

Do not think too much that they may say you have Pica Disorder because you’ve tried eating leather. After all, leather consumption is safe based on the variety of leather you are about to try. 

Oil-Tanned Leather

To be specific, oil-tanned leather is a type of leather that has been treated with natural oils such as animal fats and fish oil. These oils make the leather soft, shiny, and water-resistant, so they are commonly used to make leather shoes and gloves.

An article from Standard Handmade by Chad Kimball listed five reasons why they love oil-tanned leather. To sum up, the first reason is that when leather is oil-tanned, it is more flexible and you can easily bend it. For leather workers who love to make wallets, bags, and shoes that require a lot of molding, oil-tanned leather will be the ideal kind for they can shape it easily to how they want it to be, and it does not take all of your time making one leathercraft.

The second reason is that oil-tanned leather is highly water-resistant, which amazes Chad every time he uses his leather shoes in mud, wet grasses, and other things that might destroy leather’s shine.

Another reason is, oil-tanned leather has the ability to fend off scuff marks. And last but not least is that oil-tanned leather does not need regular maintenance unlike the other kind of leather which needs to be maintained every after use. 

If you want to read the whole blog and know more about why they love oil-tanned leather, you can visit Standard Handmade’s page and enjoy! 

Untanned Leather

Well, if you asked what the safest or most edible leather to try, it would be the untanned leather. From the name itself, untanned leather didn’t undergo any process with chemicals. It is called leather because it came from animal hides, and the appearance will be pale skin since it is chemical-free and doesn’t have a tanning agent. Because of this, like what The Creative Folk says, untanned leather has been a delicacy in some parts of the world and eaten like it’s normal food.

Vegetable-Tanned Leather

Said to be the oldest method and is the most natural way of tanning leather, the vegetable-tanned leather. Vegetable tanning has been around and was used for centuries when it comes to preserving leather. And if you think it is called vegetable-tanned because it’s a vegan version of leather, somehow that is correct. But the main reason why it is called vegetable-tanned leather is because of the oils that leather tanners use to make the hide become actual leather. Some of these oils are bark tree oil, oil from nuts, and other kinds of trees. 

What’s good about vegetable-tanned leather is that it makes the leather thicker. That’s why it is the best type of leather when making bags. And just like a fine wine, of all the types of leather, vegetable-tanned leather becomes more beautiful as it ages because of the protein that has been developing as time passes by. 

Vegetable-tanned leather can be eaten traditionally, but if you’re not into bitter food, vegetable-tanned leather isn’t for you because it has a strong bitter taste. Please don’t say I didn’t warn you! 

A NO-NO: Types Of Leather You Should Not Eat

Faux leather

First on the list of leathers that you are not allowed to eat is Faux leather. Faux leather is artificial leather which means it does not come from animal hides. Instead, it’s made from synthetic material, which tends to last longer than the regular tanned leather. Also, it is more durable and is not prone to scratches, peelings, and cracks. 

Since it is fake and artificial, faux leather is not edible, so don’t ever think of trying to consume this kind. But for leather workers, faux leather is the ideal type that they believe will bring more income because of its low price.

Chrome-Tanned Leather

One of the most popular types and ways of tanning today is Chrome-Tanned Leather. No, this isn’t like the google chrome type. But it also produces results way faster than how the other types of leather were made. It is called chrome-tanned because of the one ingredient which is the main cast in here: the chromium salt.

Unlike the other tanned leather, chrome-tanned leather is a way thinner and softer leather. And just like oil-tanned leather, chrome-tanned leather is also water-resistant. It is also one of the best choices when making shoes, bags, boots, furniture, etc. 

Chemically Tanned Leather

Another synthetically tanned leather but holds the title as the most stable one is the chemically tanned leather. It is synthetically tanned, meaning it has too many chemicals on it that make it inedible. Don’t be hard-headed, and don’t ever try because your curiosity might be just toxic to you big time!

Alum-Tanned Leather 

As a bonus, aside from the three types of leather listed above, I have another type of leather that you can eat without worrying that it will poison you. And that is the Alum-Tanned leather. It was used and made a long time ago wherein they used alum salt, but it’s not really tanned because a tannic acid is not involved. Although alum salt is usually used in baking soda, too much consumption can also bring danger to your health because of the aluminum ions present in the alum salt. But if you want to try it, then have a small piece and be content.

Make Leather Edible

So here we are now! We’ve come to the part that I know you’ve also been waiting for. To make the leather edible. Make sure to only choose from our edible leather list above and not on the no-nos.

First things first, you will have to clean your leather thoroughly and ensure that there is no dirt left on it. If you have to wash it over and over again, then do it. After that, tenderize the leather using a mallet and make soft punches so you will be sure that it was tenderized evenly. Once satisfied, slice it based on the size that you want and then boil until soft. Be patient because you will have to wait for hours before it becomes soft like it was in its original state. So watch T.V, clean the house, play your favorite playlist, or bond with your kids while waiting for it to become soft. 

After waiting forever, add seasoning of your choice and Bon Appetit!

Know What Makes The Leather Edible

Still, raising an eyebrow after all the explanations above? In this section, I will tackle why leathers that are tanned naturally are still considered edible even after the fact that it has already gone through the process that makes them leather. 

Leather came from animal hides, so that is already a plus point why you should try consuming one. Usually, it came from a female cow or cattle, but as time passes by, leather workers became obsessed with the idea of making leather from different animal hides and skins. That’s why today, we have leathers from crocodiles, alligators, snakes, pigs, and even fish!

Since these are skin, it contains collagen and protein that will benefit your body too. It is 60% water and 40% -45% protein, making it like a portion of normal food.

Tragic Story Of Rugby Players Who Ate Leather Seats And… Human Meat


On the 13th of October 1972, a plane carrying 45 passengers of rugby players from Uruguay, together with their family to attend a match in Chile, crashed in the high mountains of Andes. The supposedly happy preparation for their travel became their biggest nightmare after the tragic accident that took 29 lives. 

While still not getting any help because they are nowhere to be found, the survivors experience all that you cannot even imagine, such as avalanches and starvation. Because they don’t have food, that’s where they were forced to eat the leather seat of the aircraft to survive. And if you think that it’s just it, then what I’m going to tell you next will blow your mind.

Aside from proving leathers will help survive, some of these Miracle Flight 571 survivors also resorted to anthropophagy or the practice of eating the organs or flesh of their kind. Yes, they become cannibals to fight starvation and because the situation gave them no choice.

After 72 days of fighting for their lives and living in their nightmare every day, the answer to their prayer came on the 22nd of December 1972. They were finally rescued. Out of the 45 passengers, only 16 were able to survive, and one of them came so brave to tell the world what they have experienced in that tragedy. 

Were you intrigued by the story of the survival of these passengers? And you wanted to know more about it? You can read the full article After the Plane Crash—and the Cannibalism—a Life of Hope by SIMON WORRALL.

How The Donner Survive Their Final Days

James F. and Margaret Reed -Photo Credit: Public Domain

In the beginning, The Donner Party was just a group of traveler families who were to head on to California with their wagons in 1846—aiming a 2000mi. Walk within five months and go over to another continent to have many new and good opportunities. But chaos happened when they got trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains by an intolerable winter of 1846-1847.

There came the time that they have to eat the hides and leathers that they brought along with them to survive and continue life, but that was not enough. They cannot get enough nutrients by eating hides and tree bark, so some have no choice but to eat their co-travelers dead bodies who didn’t survive the trip.

Out of the 81 original members of the Donner Party and nearly a dozen families, only two families made it through. The Reeds and the Breens, along with some single travelers and other comrades who lost their wives, children, husbands.

Cook And Try!

After all the explanations, I hope I have proved to you that leathers are edible based on the variety you are to try. It is now up to you if it is a yay or Nah. Remember that to make the leather edible, especially those tanned leathers, make sure that you follow the cooking steps and won’t shortcut anything because that is also for your good. Don’t forget to wash it thoroughly and boil it for hours so you can enjoy it more.

However, other people prefer to sundry their untanned leather after cleaning it and then roast it to have a nice crispy texture like a Chicharrón.

Note that not all leathers are edible, and you might get confused if you based on their appearance; synthetic leathers are the ones that can harm your body if accidentally eaten. So be sure to check them out before purchasing them to become your food.

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