vegan superfood butter
Winter throws some of my favourite things together on the hill. Really little things that may or may not even register if you took a wander around our pad for the first time. There’s the jonquils flowering under the leaf-bare apricot tree, violets beaming intense velveteen colour against everything green, fuzzy buds on the pear tree bunkering down until some warmth comes their way, and early, early in the foggy mornings spider webs glistening with enough dew to guard them against a line of runner ducks hurrying to their next appointment.
Then there’s the furry new life that turns up at the coldest part of the year. Little lambs that pogo-stick around the paddocks as though the near zero temperatures are just fine by them. And the calves. I can’t help but have favourites. It’d be a hard heart not to be stopped in its tracks by seeing a cow give birth. Tiny hooves leading the way, superhero style out into the freezing cold. Determined mooing from the Mumma cow as she connects into that realm where Nature seems to guide everything. Then in a warm, slippery crash, a calf is on the ground and life cycles again. Amazing. Even more amazing is how the older cows ‘midwife’ the younger ones who are giving birth for the first time, gathering in a circle around the birthing cow to offer support. I couldn’t believe this the first time I saw it. The wisdom of the elder cows is such a beautiful thing as they help the newborn calf to stand up and find its mother’s udders, gently nudging the mother into the right position.
I’ve watched this happen with the herd of dairy cows over the fence from us so many times. I guess it’s that direct experience of such a shiny moment that makes the facts of what happens next so hard to watch, let alone take any part in. I know you know all the arguments. I do too. That’s why we have our 2 lovely steers Wilhelm and Helmut, because male calves don’t fare well on dairies, no matter how kind the farmers are, and believe me the farmer that owns the cows next door to us is a really good guy. Sure, he thinks it’s a little ‘zany’ that we rescue calves for nothing more than the love of them. He jokes, ‘you can’t save them all’. That never makes me smile.
Beyond the fact that calves are taken from their mothers almost immediately after they are born so that their milk can be put into bottles for humans, the little boys have no future use in a dairy, so they’re killed, usually 2-3 days after being born. There’s so, so much information online that I could quote here, but I really just wanted to share the experience of bearing witness to this first hand. That’s when things seem to stick for our human brains right? How are we expected to join the dots otherwise? And I cannot for the life of me imagine anyone hearing a cow cry for her new born calf all through the night and make the decision that, yes, this is what we should be striving to achieve in our time on the planet.
But how many of us get that experience first hand? To arrive at the point where we base decisions on a genuine kinship with another animal rather than simply being told ‘you shouldn’t’, is a seriously powerful thing. There’s no punishment or judgement, on our behalf’s or the other animal’s. It’s just kindly recognising the desire in each other to lead a good life. Reconnection with nature, in the way that us moving to this hill has given, has taught us so so much. And while I respect everyone’s choice to care about this or not, and I really do, that’s not just some throw away line, I thought it might be cool to offer an alternative rather than just deliver the sad facts. That’s when I came across this brilliant vegan butter recipe from this gutsy blogmeister.
I’ve been using coconut butter and olive oils in my baking for a while now and although you’ll still find some of my earlier recipes use dairy, we just never have it in our fridge anymore so I don’t think to use it. That was a gradual thing. More information and knowledge lead to different thoughts and actions. What accounts for right and wrong only gets figured out with education and experience, huh? So, would it be great if calves were allowed to be nurtured by their mothers in the same way we nurture and love our babies? Absolutely. Would that mean the dairy industry would cease to exist. Most likely. Would that mean no butter. No way. Read on… and thanks again to Vegangster for this recipe and the information that has made my heart bust out of my chest all over again this week. There’s always more to learn. And more to care about.
PS. You can eat this just because it tastes good and is so good for you too. That’s a very cool reason. And equally good news for cows.
directly from Vegangster with thanks
1 cup organic raw coconut oil
2 tablespoons organic, extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
Pinch of nutritional yeast flakes
Very small pinch of organic turmeric powder
This is super simple but there’s a few things you need to have in place ready for actions stations. Have a stainless steel or heat proof crockery bowl chilled in the freezer and an ice bath ready to put it into.
With your mixing bowl situation covered, put the coconut oil into a saucepan over heat until about half of the coconut oil melts. Immediately remove from the heat and add the olive oil, turmeric, salt and yeast flakes. Stir to combine and then pour into the bowl you have pre chilled in the freezer.
Keep stirring and place over the ice bath, being careful not to get any water into the butter as you mix it.
It should start to change colour and begin to solidify after a couple of minutes. Keep stirring until you have a softened butter consistency.
I put mine into grease proof paper at this stage and then into the fridge to really harden.
All that’s left to do is pop that sourdough in the toaster and brew a pot of tea.