Fresh cream. Fresh raw cream. I love it in all its thick, silky glory. I love the taste, and the texture it lends to dishes – both savory and sweet. There’s nothing quite like it, and when cream’s truly fresh – it borders on the divine.
We’re fortunate, after a year or two of developing our local foodshed, to have access to fresh cream from guernsey cows at an expansive Colorado ranch just a short drive away. The cream is delivered in charming little pint-sized jam jars every Tuesday for $5. What a delicious way to spend $5.
Many folks don’t consider fresh cream a seasonal food, but it is. Spring is calving season. Grass is vibrantly green and rapidly growing. And cream, real cream is flowing. At this time, cream is plentiful and deeply nourishing. Cows allowed to graze on fresh pasture – and rapidly growing green grass in particular – produce a cream that is as rich in flavor as it is in nutrients. Indeed, fresh cream is one of springtime’s best foods. Historically, spring’s fresh cream was prized for its unique properties and it was reserved for butter making and stored – often in peat – for use throughout the year. Indeed, we’re still stumbling across forgotten parcels of bog butter including some that are 2,000 years old.
This cream is particularly dense in fat soluble vitamins as well as conjugated linoleic acid and even coenzyme Q10. Fat soluble vitamins, like all vitamins, are fragile and delicate nutrients. Heat, like that required for pasteurization, destroys these delicate, natural and valuable nutrients. Indeed, after pasteurization cream is no longer whole – it’s missing these natural vitamins. Even worse, cream is often pasteurized at ultra-high temperatures which denatures the fats even further; the end result is a food that is differs dramatically from the nourishing food that nature intended.
Fresh, raw cream is a living food. It contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes which are otherwise destroyed during pasteurization and it is precisely these components of living foods that make them so valuable to our overall health. These enzymes enable better digestion of macronutrients and better absorption of micronutrients while the beneficial bacteria promotes intestinal health and a well-functioning immune system.
To keep the beneficial bacteria, enzymes and delicate vitamins intact, keep the cream raw or just barely warm it. In traditional societies studied by Weston A. Price and discussed in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, if dairy products like fresh cream and butter were consumed they were invariably consumed raw. In essence, by consuming fresh cream in its freshest form you’re adhering to the same dietary principles that nourished your forebears. Besides, it just tastes better.