We’re all made to believe witches are scary, the bad woman in the fairy tale, scaring little kids.
I see that differently, I see them as Healers, in contact with nature. Paganism comes to mind again, but after Christianity became the main religion, the church has worked very hard to bring these believers of being one with nature in discredit. I’m not a Pagan, nor Christian. But I do believe in nourishing my loved ones, my surroundings. For me, in this stage of my life, it means making nourishing meals for my family, looking after them and the land that feeds us. For us they go hand in hand with a veggie garden.
Our land is not ready yet for cattle, it needs a lot of work done before we can take that step (fences, dam, holding paddock).
We’re no vegetarians, I do believe that to create a balance in the body we do need meat and fish. But also on the land, you find a balance when implementing animals. The garden grows like mad with manure.
But… Eating meat brings a responsibility with it, with big factory farming of animals the balance has gone. I do believe meat is as good as the life an animal has had. A cow being fed rubbish and being stuck inside to fatten up most of the year won’t bring much nourishment, mostly diseases. Where being able to graze and forage outside on a natural diet will bring many minerals and good fats once butchered.
For us this is a reason we rarely eat chicken, almost impossible to find chickens raised outside. An extra chook pen for own consumption is in the planning, but not yet realistic.
At the farmers market I can buy free range pork from a small local farmer. His meat is superb, with many different cuts available. Making pea&ham soup from a real hamhock makes all the difference.
Cattle around here stays outside all through the year. A lot of people on acreage have some cattle, to keep the grass down and to restock the freezer. Besides local fish and vegetarian meals, beef is what we mostly eat. But there is more then steak when an animal gets butchered. The many different cuts come with different recipes, but all gets used.
I’ve become a big fan of using bones in cooking, bringing so much more taste and nourishment to the table. Stock is a great way to create a meal brimming with goodies. All you need is a bag of soup bones, a walk through the veggie garden and a big pot. I roast the bones for half an hour before they go in the pot, it brings out more colour and flavour. Chucking the hot bones and scrapings in cold water will result in tiny cracks in the bone, making it easier for the minerals to become available. Add the roughly cut veggies and woody herbs and let simmer. The longer the better.
I gave this pot two days of very slow simmering. All the marrow and gelatine was out by then. Straining, reheating and pouring boiling hot into meticulous clean bottles and jars will make sure that the stock will last (I still put them in the fridge and a part in the freezer). Trim the bit of meat of the bones and keep in a separate jar in stock. On cooling the lid will pop, the liquid turn into jelly and the fat will float to the top.
Click here for a great article on The healing power of broth