Tempted to eat your placenta, but not sure how to go about it? We outline a few options for your perfect postpartum dish
The idea may not appeal to everyone, but many women swear that eating the afterbirth will help avoid baby blues, boost milk production and get a natural energy high. So, if you do want to do it, the next question is – how?
First of all, let the hospital know you’d like to take your placenta home with you, so they don’t get rid of it. It’s a good idea to make a note of it on your birth plan. There are also around 40 placenta specialists in the UK who you can hire to take your placenta home and prepare it for you, in any way you fancy eating it.
Have it made into a placenta pill
Encapsulation is the new trend in placental cuisine, especially since Mad Men star January Jones announced she popped placenta pills after the birth of her baby. A specialist can do this for you – they take your placenta after birth and cook, dehydrate and grind it into powder, before encasing it in a vegetable-based capsule.
Cook your placenta yourself
If you’re preparing your placenta yourself you’ll need to clean it, first by draining all the blood then rinsing it until it’s pink. Then you’ll have to cut away the umbilical cord and membranes. But, as we mentioned above, you can hire someone to do this for you.
The downside of eating cooked placenta is that, like any other meat product, it will eventually spoil, so you’ll have to eat it within a few days.
Once it’s prepared, it’s no different from something you’d get at the butchers, so go ahead and roast, steam, sautée or flambée – wherever the culinary winds take you. Add herbs or garlic for taste if you want. Just don’t turn it into a spag bol and serve it without telling anyone.
Eat your placenta raw
Fans of placentophagia – the practice of eating placenta – will tell you that every other mammal (except camels) eats their own placenta raw. Well you can do that, too. And it’s supposed to be great for boosting immediate healing after labour. It’s recommended that you cut the thoroughly rinsed placenta into very small pieces and swallow them whole, rather than chew. Just imagine they’re oysters – if you can ignore the overwhelmingly metallic smell.
Make it into a smoothie
A slightly more palatable way of eating raw placenta. Many women blend a piece of with mixed fruits and juices. You can use any smoothie recipe you like.
Create a pâté
In 1998, Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall caused quite a kerfuffle on Channel 4 when he fried up a willing new mum’s placenta with garlic and shallots, then flambéed, puréed and served it to 20 relatives and friends as pâté with focaccia bread. Some of the guests weren’t too thrilled, but the new mum’s husband had 17 helpings.
Enjoy it in your favourite dishes
Sautée with spices for a pepperoni-esque pizza topping. Or, for a lasagne, replace a layer of cheese with a layer of tasty placenta. The upside? You probably won’t have to battle for the leftovers.