Nutritional and Health Benefits of Eating Beef Liver

Looking for a low-cost, highly nutritious centerpiece for your next meal? Then you need to try beef liver.  This often-overlooked organ meat is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s lean yet rich in protein, with high levels of vitamin A, B12, and iron. Plus, with its tender texture and creamy flavor, it’s as delicious as it is nutritious. Not only is beef liver super tasty and easy to cook, but it’s also a sustainable choice. When you buy beef liver and other ethically sourced organ meats, you help to ensure no part of the animal goes to waste.  Still a little uncertain? Let’s look at all the benefits of beef liver in more detail!  Nutritional Values of Beef Liver Did you know beef liver is the most nutrient-dense meat you can eat?  US Department of Agriculture data shows that a serving (113g) contains just 150 calories. Each bite is packed with vitamin A, zinc, iron, and more. But to get the full health benefits of beef liver, you’ll need to opt for grass-fed and grass-finished. GMO grains, antibiotics, and steroids compromise the cow’s liver quality and nutritional value. Studies show that grass-fed liver contains up to four times more nutrients than grain-fed. So, here’s the nutritional profile you can expect from grass-fed beef liver: High in Protein A serving of beef liver provides an impressive 23 grams of protein, making it an excellent source of essential amino acids.  Your body needs amino acids to build and repair muscle, maintain brain function, and balance blood sugar levels.  Plus, from a weight management perspective, beef liver helps keep you fuller for longer. So, you’re less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack after your meal. Rich in Vitamins Beef liver is abundant in plenty of essential vitamins your body needs to function optimally:  Vitamin A: One serving of beef liver has 380% of your body’s daily vitamin A needs. This vitamin is essential for healthy vision, glowing skin, and fighting free radicals.  B-complex vitamins: Beef liver contains almost half your RDA of several B vitamins. These are essential for nervous system health, mood regulation, and metabolic function. Packed with Minerals Beef liver is an excellent source of fatigue-fighting iron. A serving contains 30% of your daily intake.  But that’s not all. This tasty, tender meat also provides 50% of your daily selenium, 40% of your zinc, and 31% of your phosphorus requirements.  These vital minerals have powerful antioxidant properties. They play crucial roles in thyroid gland function, sleep regulation, and DNA production. Contains Coenzyme Q10 Beef liver is an excellent source of the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), offering 3 mg per 100g. CoQ10 protects cells from damage and maintains a healthy metabolism. Health Benefits of Eating Beef Liver Now that we’ve explored beef liver’s impressive nutritional profile, let’s delve into the benefits of incorporating it into your diet. Supports Immune Function Your ‘immunity’ is your body’s ability to fight off infections and prevent harmful cell changes. Beef liver contains plenty of vitamins and minerals to boost immune function.  Firstly, its A and B vitamins help your body maintain healthy, normal immune cells.  Plus, the iron and copper in beef liver encourage antibody production. This helps your body fight off toxic antigens that could make you sick.  Boosts Energy Levels A common cause of persistent fatigue is iron deficiency anemia. People get this when they don't have enough iron in their diet. Iron is vital for transporting oxygen to the muscles and brain. It plays a crucial role in both mental agility and physical performance. Low iron levels can even manifest as a lack of focus and increased irritability. Luckily, beef liver offers a delicious solution to this problem. It provides a healthy dose of iron to boost your energy levels. Plus, thanks to its vitamin and mineral content, beef liver also helps stabilize energy levels and promote restful sleep. Promotes Healthy Vision You’ve likely heard that munching on carrots can do wonders for your eyesight. That's because this vegetable contains plenty of vitamin A and retinol.  Vitamin A maintains optimal eye health in several ways. It fends off macular degeneration, tackles dry eyes, and bolsters sight in dimly lit environments. But you don't need to eat lots of carrots to get a healthy dose of vitamin A. Beef liver has three times the amount per 100 grams. Enhances Brain Health Beef liver is what's known as "brain food." This is because it supports healthy brain functioning.  In fact, Chicago Medical School found that people who regularly eat beef liver have better memory and a lower risk of Alzheimer's than others.  The omega-3 fatty acids in beef liver can also protect your brain as you age. Qingdao University found these nutrients directly protect against cognitive decline.  Improves Muscle Mass and Repair Adequate protein intake is crucial for sustaining and developing muscle mass. When you consume protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids. These amino acids are then used for tissue repair, hormone regulation, and energy synthesis. However, not all foods are complete proteins. This means they lack some of the nine essential amino acids your body needs.  Enter beef liver—a delicious, complete protein source. With over 20g of protein per serving, it’s a great choice for post-workout recovery or boosting daily protein intake. Supports Skin Health Another benefit of beef liver is that it can make you glow from the inside out. Firstly, it's rich in retinol. This vitamin promotes healthy cell turnover, giving you a fresh and clear complexion. Beef liver also contains youth-boosting peptides like glutathione and collagen. These help to maintain skin elasticity and firmness. The B vitamins in beef liver also support skin health. Vitamin B2, for example, repairs damaged skin cells and stimulates new growth. Vitamin B3, or niacin, keeps skin hydrated and inflammation at bay. Aids in Detoxification Besides being incredibly tasty, eating beef liver is also good for your liver. This is because it contains two important compounds:  Glutathione helps with detoxification, neutralizing harmful toxins that can damage the liver.  Choline prevents fat buildup in the liver, reducing the risk of fatty liver disease and promoting overall liver health. Precautions  While beef liver is healthy to eat, it’s essential to enjoy it as part of a balanced and diverse diet. That's because of its high vitamin A content.  Vitamin A is fat-soluble, meaning it's stored in the body. Consuming too much of it can be harmful. So, it's best to eat beef liver once a week for most people.  Certain demographics will need to be more cautious:  Pregnant women: Too much vitamin A has been linked to birth defects. It’s best that pregnant women avoid beef liver during pregnancy.  Gout sufferers: All organ meats are naturally high in purines. While eating purines is fine for most, people with gout should avoid high-purine foods. Try Our Delicious Grass-Fed Beef Liver Today! Now that you're familiar with beef liver's nutritious benefits, it's time to try it for yourself! Order Seven Sons’ grass-fed beef liver today and unlock the health benefits of this meat. 

Spring Pasture Update with Pictures

Spring is undoubtedly one of the busier seasons on the farm. Not only is there so much new life on the farm (as I'll detail below), but we are also cleaning up from winter and embarking on a number of new projects for the 2024 grass-growing season. Again, while we're known for producing and selling clean, delicious and nutrient-dense meats for home delivery, when you're regenerative-focused farmers like my brothers and I, you first identify as a grass farmer. We are not only responsible for raising your animals with the utmost care and respect, but also building integrity and life into the soil and environment where they live and prosper.

Best Breed of Chicken for Ethical Pastured Meat

When it comes to cooking, few things rival the satisfaction of a perfectly cooked, flavorful chicken dish. However, the secret to culinary success isn’t just in the recipe. It’s in the quality of the chicken itself.  Meat quality and affordability have a lot to do with the chicken breed – and, more crucially – how it was raised.  In this article, I will unpack some of the unknowns about chicken breeds, and how consumer expectations continue to shape the future of poultry.  Our ethical pastured chicken is different than what you’ll find at most supermarkets.  Here’s our approach, starting with selecting the most effective chicken breed for meat. Why Breed Matters for Quality, Flavor & Affordability You’ve probably never thought of chicken breeds in the way you would cattle breeds. While you may have heard of breeds like Wagyu and Angus when it comes to steak, people typically purchase chicken based on whether it’s free-range or pasture-raised.  But that’s not the only thing that matters. The breed of chicken plays a significant role in meat quality and taste.  While you might think ‘heritage’ chicken is the way to go, unfortunately, that’s far from the case due to several factors outside of our farm’s control. Historically chicken breeds were always used for the dual purpose of producing both eggs and meat. However, within the past 100 years, chickens have been bred for the specific purposes of either meat or eggs, not both. This has led to hyper-efficient breeds that have set high standards for the texture, tenderness, and affordability of chicken protein. Heritage birds like the Ancona and Sussex are small, and their flavor profile is unusual. Because of this, heritage breeds can end up with a gamey, woody taste and tough texture–nothing like the chicken you’re used to. Also, because heritage breeds are small and grow slowly, you don’t get a lot of meat for your money - making these breeds out of reach for the budgets of 99% of consumers. The optimum chicken breed–and the one we exclusively raise at Seven Sons and in our farm partner network–is the Cornish Cross Broiler. Originating in England in the 1820s, these hybrid birds meet consumers’ quality and affordability expectations while still allowing us to invest extra care in raising the birds ethically on pasture as the seasons allow. From their impressive double breasts to their ideal muscle-to-fat ratio, Cornish Cross chickens consistently deliver on taste and tenderness. This makes them the gold standard for those seeking delicious, protein-rich meat that's both hearty and flavorful.  Sustainable Practices and Their Impact on Meat Quality However, it’s not just the breed of chicken that matters. How they’re raised plays a crucial role in the quality of the meat as well.  Ethically raised chickens with access to pastures can have better nutritional value and offer a more diverse taste and texture profile.  The reasons for this are three-fold:  Space to roam: Chickens raised in a way that allows them to roam free and express their natural behaviors develop better muscle than poultry raised in tight confinement. Better nutrition: Pasture-raised chickens are more nutritious because they eat a diverse, nutrient-dense diet through foraging on healthy farmland and non-GMO grain. Happy lives: Stress impacts the quality and taste of the meat. That’s why buying ethically sourced meat is so important – not just for the welfare of the animal, but the nutritional value, too.  Meet our Chicken Breeds: The Stars at Seven Sons As we’ve mentioned, the Cornish Cross Broiler is our choice of breed. With its history and lineage, this chicken breed combines the qualities of Cornish Chickens with the larger sizes seen in breeds like the White Rock. The result is a large, lean bird that produces succulent, tender meat. Here’s an overview of the Key characteristics of the Cornish Cross: Appearance: These majestic birds have broad chests and short legs. They also have a muscular build with a large breast area. Males typically weigh between 6-8 pounds, while females weigh between 4-6 pounds. Weather Tolerance: Our Cornish Cross chickens require attentive care as seasons change. During winter, providing ample shelter ensures their warmth and protection. In the heat of summer, they seek shade, ventilation, and cool water to beat the heat. Temperament: These docile, friendly animals rely on breeders for protection against predators like raccoons, foxes, and birds of prey. With secure mobile coops during summer production and access to lush pastures year around (including as weather permits in winter), we prioritize their safety while nurturing their natural behaviors. Raising Practices: From Hatchling to Harvest At Seven Sons, every decision we make, from the poultry breeds we raise to our farming practices, is rooted in our dedication to quality, sustainability, and animal welfare. Choosing Cornish Cross hens from Seven Sons, raised with a focus on regenerative farming practices, means you’re aligning with a farm deeply committed to the nutrients of our food and the ethical treatment of animals. Caring for Our Animals We don’t just raise our chickens for their meat. We do all we can to take the best care of them.  During the balmy summer months, they enjoy the freedom to roam in spacious mobile coops, where they can peck and scratch in fresh, sun-kissed pastures. Each day brings a new rotation to ensure they have access to the best forage and plenty of space to thrive, while protecting the natural ecosystem. When the winter chill descends, we provide our chickens with plenty of warmth and shelter in cozy barns with pasture access as weather permits, ensuring their well-being when the temperature drops. The indoor space is kept warm, and the birds are given 10-20% more space beyond what organic standards require. The winter barns also have windows that let in plenty of natural light, allowing our birds to wake up with the natural sunrise. Caring for Our Land Our commitment to ethical farming doesn't end there. We also embrace regenerative grazing practices that nurture our chickens and the land they roam on. One of the overlooked elements of CAFOs is their impact on the environment. Not only are factory-farmed chickens' lives incredibly stressful, but they don’t get to play their natural role in boosting environmental biodiversity.  Our chickens, on the other hand, play a crucial part in the ecosystem of our sustainable farm, helping to:  Enhance Soil Health: Through natural foraging and scratching, our chickens contribute to soil health, enriching it with organic matter and fostering vital microbial activity. Provide Natural Fertilizer: The nutrient-rich manure produced by our chickens serves as a natural fertilizer, promoting robust plant growth and reducing reliance on synthetic alternatives. Pest Control: Harnessing our chickens' instincts, we utilize them as a pest control mechanism, feasting on insects, larvae, and weed seeds, eliminating the need for chemical pesticides. Caring for Our Customers  At Seven Sons and our partner farms, you're not just making a transaction when you choose to buy from us. You're entering into a relationship built on trust and mutual respect for your well-being. For us, this means holding ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to the meat we produce. We firmly believe that food should never pose a risk to your health. It should be a source of nourishment and vitality. That's why we’re deeply committed to providing quality, natural nutrition to our animals: our chickens are raised on a diet free from GMOs, antibiotics, drugs, and hormones. We believe in the power of natural, wholesome nutrition to support a healthy lifestyle. By choosing our products, you can rest assured that you're making a choice that prioritizes your health and the health of your loved ones. Preparing Chicken: Tips and Tricks Sure, you may have cooked with chicken breasts or thighs–maybe even a whole chicken–but we sell plenty of other incredibly tasty and nutritious cuts of chicken. From drumsticks to wings, backs to giblets, each cut offers its own unique flavor profile and cooking experience. Our ethically raised Cornish Cross Broilers are nutritious and easy to cook. This generously sized bird is protein-packed and nutrient-dense, making for a delicious meal whether grilled, baked, barbecued, or slow-cooked.  How you prepare your chicken will depend on the cooking method and cut you’ve chosen–and there are plenty to choose from! Order Your Ethical Pasture-Raised Chicken Today!  Ready to taste the difference? Order your ethically pasture-raised chicken now and taste the quality and flavor that comes from ethical breeding and sustainable practices.

A Complete Guide to Cuts of Chicken

From aromatic, creamy curries to light summer salads, chicken is a versatile, nutritious meat that works wonderfully as the centerpiece for thousands of dishes across cuisines.  But you’re missing out if you’ve only cooked with chicken breasts or thighs. Plenty of other chicken cuts are packed with flavor–not to mention essential nutrients.  We provide ethically raised pastured chicken cuts of all types because we believe nothing should go to waste. That’s why we’ve curated this list to help you enjoy parts of the chicken you might have overlooked! We’ll discuss these cuts in more detail, explaining the unique flavor profile of each one. For inspiration, we'll also include some of our favorite mouth-watering recipes.  The Importance of Ethical, Pasture-Raised Chicken  Factory-farmed chickens are often raised in crowded conditions that may increase the risk of disease and stress. This non-natural environment also reduces the meat's nutritional benefits and gives it an inferior taste compared to ethically raised chickens.  That’s why we’re committed to delivering healthy, delicious, ethically-raised breeds of chicken to our customers. Pasture-raised chickens are more nutritious because of the diverse, nutrient-dense diet they get through foraging on healthy farmland. In the warm seasons, our chickens roam in mobile coops that rotate daily to fresh, lush pastures. Their interaction with the land naturally fertilizes and helps regenerate the soil. When winter sets in, we transition our chickens to warm barns, protecting them from the harsh elements while maintaining access to pasture as weather permits. In addition, our chicken is free of GMOs, antibiotics, and hormones. Dark vs. White Meat As we explain the different cuts of chicken, you’ll notice that some–like thighs, legs, and drumsticks—are dark meat, while cuts like breast, wings, and back are white meat.  This is due to the difference in color from a protein called myoglobin, which stores oxygen in the chicken’s muscles. Certain muscles–like the legs–need more oxygen and blood flow than other parts, like the breast, leading to the difference in meat color.  While you may have heard that white meat is better for you, this isn’t the case. Although there are differences between the two, these generally come down to taste preference and the recipe you’re making: Protein content: White and dark meat have relatively similar calorie counts, although white meat is slightly lower and has more protein. Nutritional profile: White meat is rich in vitamins B12, B3, and B6, while dark meat has more iron, zinc, and B2.  Taste: The differences in fat between white and brown meat give these cuts different flavors. White meat is more delicate and mild, while brown meat is richer and more succulent. Types of Chicken Cuts Here, we’ll look at 11 of the most popular chicken cuts. Some may surprise you, but we encourage you to be adventurous and try new recipes.  1. Boneless Chicken Breast Boneless chicken breasts are a versatile, household staple across countries. This lean cut of white meat comes from the bird's chest and is packed with essential proteins. With its mild, succulent taste and quick cooking time, chicken breast works in a variety of recipes. One of our favorites is bacon-wrapped honey chicken breast.  Meat type: White Common uses: Salads, curries, sandwiches, stir-fries  How to cook: Oven bake, grill, poach, sauté 2. Chicken Thigh Try cooking with chicken thighs for a meaty, tender lunch or dinner. This succulent, juicy meat comes from the upper part of the chicken’s leg. Depending on your preference, you can buy this dark meat bone-in or boneless and skinless. With their rich, intense flavor, chicken thighs work wonderfully in slow cooker recipes, but you can also marinate them overnight then grill, saute with veggies, or bake them in the oven.  Meat type: Brown  Common uses: Casseroles, sheet pan dinners, barbecues, paellas How to cook: Oven bake, grill, sauté, slow cook 3. Whole Chicken Cooking a whole chicken can provide for several meals throughout the week, making it both practical and economical. With this delicious cut, you get both white and dark meat. You get breasts, thighs, drumsticks, back, and wings–perfect for a variety of taste preferences.  The best way to cook a whole chicken is to roast it. Try our whole roasted garlic chicken recipe.  Meat type: Both  Common uses: Roasts, plus leftovers used for sandwiches, salads, and stir-fries  How to cook: Roast 4. Chicken Drumsticks Another summer barbecue classic is the chicken drumstick. This succulent, dark cut of meat comes on the bone and is from the chicken’s shins. In addition to their savory, juicy flavor, chicken drumsticks are cost-effective and easy to cook.  Whether you grill drumsticks on the barbecue or roast them in the oven, you can get creative with herbs, spices, and marinades, from spicy cajun to sweet honey garlic.  Meat type: Brown  Common uses: Barbecues, sheet pan dinners How to cook: Grill, oven bake 5. Chicken Wings Like drumsticks, chicken wings are also incredibly cheap and versatile. This white cut of meat comes on the bone and is best cooked in the oven or on the grill, doused in your favorite marinade. While chicken wings can be a little messy to eat, they’re delicious: crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. For best results, brine and/or marinate your chicken wings overnight to infuse them with flavor.  Meat type: White  Common uses: Barbecues, sharing platters,  How to cook: Grill, oven bake, deep fry, air fry 6. Chicken Tenderloin Chicken tenderloin often gets confused with chicken breast, but the two differ slightly. While both are cuts of white meat, chicken tenderloin comes from a different part of the bird–a long, thin muscle on the underside of the breastbone.  This moist, tender cut of meat can be used interchangeably with breast in most recipes. As a side note, chicken tenderloins are a great option if you own an air fryer because they’re small and quick to cook.  Meat type: White Common uses: Salads, curries, sandwiches, stir-fries  How to cook: Oven bake, grill, poach, sauté, air fry  7. Chicken Liver A less common cut of chicken is the liver, an organ meat. This cost-effective part of the chicken has a tender, smooth texture and a rich, meaty taste. It’s low in calories and nutrient-dense, with high levels of iron, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Because of its rich flavor, chicken liver is a wonderful centerpiece in warming stews and casseroles. Saute it with caramelized onions, bacon, and tender mushrooms, served alongside creamy mashed potatoes.  Meat type: Brown  Common uses: Casseroles, pate, stews  How to cook: Fried, oven bake, saute 8. Chicken Heart The heart is another part of the chicken that’s often overlooked, rich in iron and zinc. Chicken hearts are dark in color, with a rich flavor similar to chicken thighs.  Like chicken liver, juicy and tender chicken hearts work wonderfully in stews and casseroles or simply stir-fried with your favorite vegetables. Because this cut is so delicate, it’s quick to cook. You can have dinner on the table in just 15 minutes from start to finish! Meat type: Brown  Common uses: Casseroles, stews, stir-fries How to cook: Grill, oven bake, saute  9. Chicken Neck For a healthy, nutritious lunch or dinner rich in collagen, glucosamine, and calcium, try chicken necks. This dark cut of meat comes on the bone and has a rich, gamey flavor. Like chicken thighs, chicken necks are wonderfully versatile. You can slow-cook them to perfection, saute them with your favorite veggies, or marinate them and grill. Just be careful about overcooking! Since they’re small, chicken necks need much less cooking time than drumsticks and breasts.  Meat type: Brown  Common uses: Casseroles, stews, soups, stir-fries How to cook: Slow cook, oven bake, saute, grill  10. Chicken Back The chicken's back is the spine of the chicken. While you can’t eat chicken backs by themselves, these bones are the perfect base for flavorful, healthy chicken broths and soups due to their high collagen, protein, vitamin, and mineral content.  Try cooking them in a large pot with your favorite vegetables and spices, then slow cooking for a day to infuse your liquid with all the taste and nutrients. Meat type: N/A  Common uses: Casseroles, soups, broth How to cook: Simmer in water  11. Chicken Feet A popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, chicken feet have a delicate, mild taste, making them the perfect base ingredient for a variety of flavorful recipes. A great recipe to try is Dim Sum, which involves deep-frying the chicken feet before coating them in a glossy, decadent garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. What I find as the best use for chicken feet in our house is to add more richness and consistency to our homemade chicken broth. Chicken feet are high in gelatin, which helps add thickness to your broths. Meat type: Dark Common uses: Casseroles, stir-fries, appetizers, broth How to cook: Saute, boil, braise, deep fry, simmer  Order Your Ethical Pasture-Raised Chicken Today!  Now that you know about these 11 cuts of chicken, you can elevate your meals! We hope this guide has inspired you to experiment with different parts of chicken. Ready to cook? Order your ethical pasture-raised chicken now.

3 Easy Recipes to Make with Chicken Broth

From nourishing, hearty soups to show-stopping main dishes, chicken broth is an integral ingredient that deserves a place among your kitchen cupboard essentials. It certainly is for this farmer’s wife. Chicken broth is a nutrient-rich liquid made by simmering chicken bones, connective tissue, vegetables, and herbs in water for around 24 hours. This creates a rich, flavourful mixture packed with collagen, vitamins, and antioxidants.  Chicken broth is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and a great way to minimize waste and be more environmentally conscious in the kitchen.  From our regenerative grazing practices to offering a variety of cuts from our ethical pasture-raised chicken to our customers, we believe in sustainable farming that supports animals, the environment, and your well-being. So, whether you make your own chicken broth using leftover chicken frames or buy Seven Son’s chicken broth, here’s a look at how to use this flavorful, nutritious ingredient in your own cooking. Chicken Broth vs. Chicken Stock: What's the Difference? Before we discuss the recipes, let’s clarify a common source of confusion: the difference between chicken broth and chicken stock.  While you can make both liquids by simmering chicken bones, leftovers, vegetables, and herbs, bone broth is superior in nutritional value and flavor.  That’s because chicken bone broth cooks for around 24 hours, while chicken stock cooks for only one or two. The longer simmering time deeply infuses the broth with the chicken bones’ exceptional nutritional properties. Collagen, electrolytes, minerals, and vitamins–give it a rich, savory flavor.  In addition, the quality and quantity of the ingredients that go into making bone broth are unmatched. To make it, you need to use specific parts of the chicken carcass that contain connective tissue, allowing them to slowly cook to release their nutritional value.  With chicken broth, on the other hand, you’ll use any leftover chicken parts and bones, letting them simmer for a couple of hours to make a tasty liquid–but with a lower amount of protein and nutrients. While both ingredients can add a meaty flavor to your cooking, chicken bone broth undoubtedly has a richer taste and more health benefits.  The Shelf Life of Chicken Broth: Maximizing Freshness If you’re ready to use chicken broth in your recipes, you’ll be pleased to know that once opened, this ingredient has a shelf life of three to four days. This means you can use it in countless recipes over the week.  Plus, if you have leftover broth, you can always freeze it in batches in Ziploc bags or ice cube trays. Once frozen, we recommend using the broth within three to four months.  Why Choose Broth Over Water in Cooking? The beauty of bone broth is its versatility. If a savory recipe requires water, swap the same amount of bone broth for a richer, umami-laced flavor that will elevate your dishes.  The fact that bone broth is highly nourishing helps. It’s packed with healthy nutrients like proline, glycine, collagen, calcium, and more. Bone broth has a range of health benefits, including:  Immune system boost: Research shows that the amino acids in chicken broth reduce inflammation and boost immune system function, helping to combat common ailments like asthma, heart disease, and arthritis. Heals the gut: Bone broth is easy for our bodies to digest and soothe the gut. It can even positively change the gut microbiome and ease the symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Mood-busting: Bone broth is rich in calcium and glycine, both of which are crucial to healthy brain function, mood regulation, and high-quality sleep. Not to mention the aroma and soothing warmth that is so comforting on cold winter days. Healthy weight support: Packed full of protein and low in calories, bone broth helps to regulate the appetite by reducing hunger hormones like ghrelin and increasing satiety hormones.  Recipe Inspirations: Making the Most of Chicken Broth By now, you’re probably ready to put the wonders of bone broth to good use in your kitchen.  Here are some of our go-to recipes for what you can make with chicken broth. Soups and Stews: Heartwarming Classics A sure-to-please dish is chicken and vegetable stew. It’s rich in nutrients, great for a cozy night in, and simple to make! All you need to do is gather the ingredients: 1.5 Pounds chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 Large onion, diced 2 Cloves garlic, minced 2 Large carrots, sliced 3 Celery stalks, sliced 6 Cups chicken broth 1 Bay leaf 1 tsp dried thyme Salt and pepper to taste Fresh parsley for garnish (optional) And how to make this recipe: Cut the chicken into one-inch cubes, dice the onion, carrots, and celery, and mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, then saute the chicken and vegetables over medium heat. Add the chicken and stir until it starts to brown (roughly 5 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Using the same pot, add in the onions and saute until softened. Add in the garlic and saute for a minute or two, then toss in your vegetables, making sure to stir so they don’t burn. Now it’s time for the chicken broth and spices! Add in the broth, the bay leaf, dried thyme (and any other favorite seasonings you have), and mix it. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat. Grab the chicken you put aside, put it back in the pot, and simmer on low for about half an hour, making sure the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, add any garnish of your choice, and serve! Rice and Grains: A Flavorful Foundation Chicken broth infuses rice and other grains with a mouth-watering, savory depth. A great dish is a Mexican chicken quinoa skillet, loaded with veggies and ready in just 25 minutes.  To make this recipe, you’ll need: 1 Pound chicken breast, cut into cubes 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 Small onion, diced 1 Bell pepper, diced 2 Cloves garlic, minced 1 Cup quinoa 2 Cups chicken broth 1 Can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 Can diced tomatoes (15 oz) 1 Cup corn, frozen or canned 1 tsp chili powder (or more if you like some kick!) ½ tsp cumin ½ tsp paprika Salt and pepper to taste Fresh cilantro And the steps to making this recipe:  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, dice the onion and bell pepper, mince the garlic, and rinse the quinoa. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Remove it from the pan and set aside. Using the same skillet, saute the onion until soft, then add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for about 3 minutes. Now, add the chicken broth, quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, corn, and spices. Mix well and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the quinoa is light and fluffy and the broth has been absorbed - about 25 minutes. Add the chicken to the skillet to warm, mixing all the ingredients. Check that the chicken is cooked through, adding salt and pepper to taste. Garnish and serve! Sauces and Gravies: Elevating Everyday Meals Chicken bone broth elevates many of the best comfort recipes. For example, try this quick and easy chicken broth gravy to turn mashed potatoes into a crowd-pleasing side or ensure there’s no biscuit left after dinner. To make this recipe, all you need is: 2 Cups chicken broth 2 TBSP butter 2 TBSP all-purpose flour ½ tsp garlic powder (optional) Salt and pepper to taste Fresh herbs for garnish For this quick and easy gravy, all you need to do is: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until it forms a roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the roux turns golden. Pour in the chicken broth slowly while whisking. Make sure there are no lumps. Continue whisking while bringing the mix to a slow boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Once it reaches your desired thickness, add the salt, pepper, or garlic powder to taste.  Serve hot on your dish of choice. Tip: If the gravy gets too thick while cooking, add more chicken broth to thin it. The Healing Elixir: Sipping on Chicken Broth While bone broth enhances the flavor and health benefits of many meals, you don’t always have to cook with it! One of our favorite ways to consume chicken broth is to warm it up on the stove and drink it–especially if we feel under the weather.  The number of powerful antioxidants in chicken broth, along with its herby, savory flavor, also makes this drink a great post-lunch pick-me-up or pre-dinner snack. However, not all chicken bone broth is created equal. If you’re going to drink it regularly, make sure you either make your own or buy from a company that doesn’t use artificial ingredients or lots of added sodium, which can undermine its health benefits. At Seven Sons, we’re proud to say that our ethical, pasture-raised chicken breeds are 100% free from growth promotants, antibiotics, and GMOs–with no artificial ingredients or MSG. Ready to taste the difference? Order Seven Sons’ chicken broth or make your own using our bone broth kit today! As always, we love to see your recipe creations–so let us know what you’ve made in the comments. 

The Deep Roots and Rich Diversity of Heritage Pig Breeds

Today, you get a little history lesson from your farmer. 🙂 While our family proudly includes Heritage in the name of our pork, it isn’t just a fancy name. It’s an indicator of the pork's quality, nutrition, and history – not to mention the farmer’s ethical breeding practices. Let’s explore the history of heritage pig breeds in more detail, so you can make an informed choice about pork when you shop. The Definition and Importance of Heritage Pigs  By definition, a heritage pig breed is one with deep historical roots. These breeds have been around for hundreds of generations. In fact, the first pigs were brought to America by Columbus in 1493.  Back then, pigs came in distinct colors, sizes, and shapes – the pink pig with a curly tail that comes to mind today didn’t exist.  Heritage pigs were allowed to roam on pastures and woodlands. Their diet didn’t include antibiotics, GMOs, or growth promotants. Farmers carefully bred the best for their hardiness, health, and ability to adapt to outdoor environments. The result was delicious, sustainable pork rich in nutrients and vitamins. Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution – pig farming changed drastically. Industrial operations were developed to house, feed, and harvest pigs more efficiently than small family farms. To maximize profits in this system, animals were bred for rapid growth and size.  Today, it’s still the same… Most grocery store pork is no longer heritage. It comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where pigs are kept in overcrowded conditions, farrowed in small crates, and crossbred with little thought to hardiness and quality.  Seven Sons and our partner farms continue to champion the ethical rearing of heritage pigs. Like our forefathers, we prioritize the health and ethical care of our animals. Our heritage pigs are free to roam, play, and thrive – and we never use antibiotics or GMOs.  Diet of a Heritage Pig: Back to the Roots Not only do heritage pigs grow in vastly different conditions than factory-farmed livestock, but their diet is also vastly different. Industrially raised pigs are often fed diets limited to corn and soybeans, which are cheap and easy to produce at scale.  On the other hand, our heritage pig breeds are fed a mix of oats, barley, and other non-GMO grains including corn and soy. But best of all, and a key difference, is that the hogs are able to regularly forage for starchy roots and grubs, and all the colorful vegetation on our open pastures. We pasture raise our hogs and let them roam freely, interacting with the land in their natural and instinctive way. Combined with stress-free rearing, this creates richly colored, juicy meat with a wonderful, buttery flavor.  Exploring the Diverse Pig Breeds Now, we’ll dive into some of the most popular heritage breeds, looking at their history, characteristics, and flavor profile. Berkshire Pigs Berkshire pigs get their name from their place of origin: Berkshire, England. They’re one of the oldest heritage pig breeds alive today, with roots dating back to the 17th century. These animals have a distinct black coat with white markings on their snout, tail, and hooves. They have short legs and large bodies and can weigh up to 500-600 lb at full size. Flavor-wise, the Berkshire pig is renowned for its rich marbling, intense savory flavor, and melt-in-the-mouth tenderness. Red Pig Breeds Next, we’ll look at three of the most well-known red pig breeds: Tamworth, Red Wattle, and Duroc. Like the Berkshire, the Tamworth originates from England, with historical references dating back to the 1800s.  The Tamworth is active, long-legged, and lean, with an auburn coat and long snout. The meat is dark in color, with a nutty, sweet, and succulent flavor. The Red Wattle, a hardy breed, was first recorded in US history books in the mid-1800s. This breed also has a dark auburn coat and distinctive wattles on both sides of its neck. The meat is pinkish-red in color, and has a succulent, earthy flavor.  Lastly, there’s the Duroc. The Duroc dates back to New England in the 1800s, and is thought to come from Africa originally. These large, compact pigs have a mahogany coat, and can weigh anywhere from 700-900 lbs. In terms of flavor, the cuts of pork from this breed are deeply marbled with a rich, bold, and juicy taste. (There’s a reason you’ll find a number of Duroc in the Seven Sons Farm ecosystem.) ;) Spotted The most well-known spotted heritage big breed is the Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, which, as the name suggests, originates from Gloucestershire, England. This breed has a white coat with black spots.  When it comes to taste, the meat from this breed has a sweet, juicy flavor profile that’s perfect for pork chops or roasting. Hampshire and Other Heritage Pigs The Hampshire hog is the oldest American breed of pig, first written about in the 1790s. This breed has a distinctive coat: primarily black with a white ring across its shoulders and front legs. The meat is known for succulence and tenderness. The Environmental Footprint of Heritage Pig Farming Switching to heritage pasture-raised pork is better for your health, the welfare of the animal, and the environment.  At Seven Sons, our heritage hogs play a vital role in nurturing our environmental ecosystem. We use regenerative grazing practices, shepherding our pigs from one section of pasture or forest to another to support soil health, carbon sequestration, and improve biodiversity. The result is tasty, nutritious pork that supports environmental sustainability and promotes animal well-being. I hope you learned something today, and enjoyed the history lesson. Ready to taste the difference? Shop our pasture-raised heritage pork today.

Sustainable Dining: Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Your Pork Chops

Tender, juicy, and flavorful pork chops are always a great idea for dinner. Better still, this nutritious, premium cut is exceptionally versatile.  Whether you’re in the mood for Mexican, Italian, or a good old-fashioned cookout, pork chops can be paired with a variety of side dishes for a satisfying, nutritious meal.  Ready for some inspiration? Here are a few of our favorite sides to accompany our pasture-raised heritage pork chops.  Classic Companions for Pork Chops Classic recipes are classics for a reason. These tried-and-tested flavor combinations make for beautifully balanced, mouth-watering dinners that you’ll want to cook again and again. They’ll taste even better when you prepare with high-quality chops from heritage pork. Thyme and Garlic Roasted Vegetables Pork chops’ delicately sweet yet savory flavor harmonizes wonderfully with roasted vegetables. Better still, you can use whatever you have in the refrigerator: peppers, onions, green beans, broccoli–any and all vegetables pair well with our pork chops. Season your vegetables and pork chops with oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme for a quick and tasty midweek meal. Spread them on a baking tray and cook in the oven for around 30 minutes at 400F. Try different flavor combinations, like honey and garlic, smoked paprika, or a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar for a bit of a twist.  Apple Sauce Pork chops and applesauce have been a winning duo for generations. The apple's acidic sweetness beautifully complements the pork's meatiness.  To serve up a tasty dinner, cook your pork chops in the skillet and serve with nutty brown rice, roasted green beans, and a generous side of sweet, tart applesauce.  Other fruit sauces, such as pear or cranberry sauce, work fantastically, too. Try our recipe for pear sauce with pork chops, and let us know what you think.  Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Another hearty, decadent dinner is oven-roasted pork chops with buttery mashed potatoes, smothered in a rich, velvety gravy. In fact, any kind of potato accompanies pork chops perfectly. Some of our favorites are hasselback potatoes, potatoes au gratin, or garlic butter-roasted potatoes.  Whatever you cook, serve your meal alongside a helping of steaming, meaty gravy to accentuate the taste of the pork and enhance the creaminess of your potatoes.  Contemporary Twist on Pork Chop Sides If you’d like to cook something a little more inventive, the following recipes will surely be a hit with friends and family.  Zesty Quinoa Salad When the weather’s warmer outside, you’ll no doubt want to grill your pork chops. Try pairing them with a light, zesty quinoa salad for a healthy, deliciously textured lunch or dinner. The great thing about quinoa salad is how easy it is to make. Simply prep your quinoa with a little onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Then, add some chopped, grilled vegetables of your choice. Serve the pork chops on top for a colorful barbecue centerpiece. Caramelized Barbecue Sweet Potato Wedges This bright, flavourful dish is bursting with a medley of flavors: the meaty melt-in-your-mouth pork, the sweetness of the potato, the saltiness of the seasoning, and the tangy barbecue sauce. It’s also effortless to make. Simply douse your pork chops with your favorite barbecue sauce and put them on a sheet pan. Then, cut your sweet potato into wedges and season with cayenne pepper, salt, and a generous coating of olive oil. Add them to your sheet pan and cook in the oven at 400F for about 30 minutes for a delicious, juicy dinner. You can serve this dish with a light green salad for extra vitamins and minerals. Butterbean Chorizo Casserole  For a Spanish-inspired dinner, try this tender pork, butterbean, and smoky chorizo casserole. This easy, slow-cooked dish promises succulent, juicy perfection with every bite. All you’ll need are canned cherry tomatoes, garlic, sage, butter beans, chopped chorizo, and pork chops. Throw all your ingredients in the slow cooker, leave to stew for 3-4 hours, and then serve. It’s really that simple! Sides That Pair Well With all Pork Cuts The fantastic thing about these side dishes is that they go well with several different cuts of pork.  For example, pork ribs are delicious when glazed in sweet, tangy apple sauce. They also pair excellently with sweet potato fries, quinoa salad, or mashed potatoes and gravy.  The same goes for pork roasts like succulent pork belly and tender pork tenderloin. You can turn these versatile cuts into the centerpiece of any dish, across almost any cuisine.  Whether you cook a British-style roast dinner with creamy mashed potatoes or a Spanish-inspired butterbean dish, these cuts can be paired with a number of side dishes for a variety of delectable flavor combinations.  Why Choose Seven Sons for Your Pork At Seven Sons, we’re committed to providing you with the highest-quality food. That means sustainably raised pork, free from antibiotics, hormones, and GMOs.  Together, with our partner farms, we provide our hogs with a stress-free environment on open fields and regenerative pastures using animal stewardship practices that promote health and hardiness. Not only is our way kinder, but the quality of the meat is better. Compared to conventional pork, Seven Sons’ pork cuts are far more nutritious, tender, richer in flavor, and higher in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Ready to taste the difference? Order your Seven Sons pork chops today.

A Complete Guide to Pork Cuts and How to Cook Them

Pork is a versatile meat rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a great addition to a healthy diet, and you can cook it in various ways. Which cut of pork you choose and how to cook it, depends on a few things.  Before deciding which cut is right for you, consider the source. Pasture-raised, heritage breeds produce more flavorful pork with better nutritional content[1] than standard grocery store products.  But can you tell the difference between pasture-raised pork and industrially produced pork? Yes! Our pork is firm and darker pink in color (indicating the animal was pasture-raised). Pork meat that is pale in color, soft, or damp was most likely factory-farmed. As a bonus, all our pork is sugar-free and free from GMOs, nitrates, and antibiotics. Now that we’ve sorted that out, let’s talk about the different pork cuts!  1. Bacon  Bacon is a breakfast staple for a reason, and it’s our #1 selling product of all! These thin slices of pork are quick to cook–making them a great, tasty breakfast, lunch, or dinner option! We recommend frying, baking, or grilling your pork bacon until it turns dark pink and the fat is crispy around the edges. Bonus: You don’t need to stop at breakfast with your bacon. Wrap a tasty filet mignon, top your favorite hamburger, or make bite-sized pieces to mix in with oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or Cobb salad. 2. Pork Sausage Another breakfast staple – pork sausage – is made of cuts from the shoulder and loin of the pig. We season our sausage with black pepper, red pepper, rosemary, and sage to give it a rich, hearty taste.  For the healthiest option, grill or oven-bake your sausages until browned and cooked through–or fry them in a skillet for 10-12 minutes. Then, serve with eggs, in a breakfast sandwich, or with a side of sweet potato hash. 3. Ham Ham comes from the hind leg of the hog. Our heritage ham roast is brined and smoked by artisan butchers for a melt-in-the-mouth texture and subtly sweet flavor. Unless they say they’re ‘fresh,’ hams usually arrive pre-cooked, but you can still work some magic through crusting, seasoning, then oven-roasting them. Our recipe for maple glazed ham is a family favorite.  4. Bone-in Pork Chops Bone-in pork chops are a premium cut sourced from the loin of the pig. They’re renowned for their marbling, tenderness, and depth of flavor, making them a tasty centerpiece for any dinner party.  Pork chops are also versatile. You can marinate them and then toss them on the grill, sautée, or oven-roast them with herbs and spices for added flavor. And they’ll be ready in under an hour from start to finish! You can keep it simple by topping with your favorite BBQ sauce or try one of these pork chop side dishes. For something that will wow your guests, try our recipe for pork chops with pear sauce. 5. Ground Pork Cut primarily from the shoulder and hind sections, ground pork is the perfect base for meals across cuisines: Italian meatballs and pasta sauces, French casseroles, soups or stews, and much more. How you cook your ground pork will depend on what you’re making.  6. Baby Back Ribs  Baby back ribs come from the back and loin of the pig. They’re smaller and meatier than their spare ribs, and quicker to cook. You can use a dry rub or glaze with your favorite seasoning, then bake or barbecue until the meat easily pulls away from the bone. 7. Pork Shoulder Pork shoulder is a hearty, flavourful cut of meat perfect for slow cooking, smoking, or roasting. We love putting it in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours, along with garlic, onion, and spices. When the pork shoulder comes out, it’s juicy and tender, falling apart with a touch of the fork. 8. Tenderloin Pork tenderloin is a long, boneless cut of meat from the loin muscle that runs along the pig's backbone. This cut is mild in flavor and tender, so you can cook it in a variety of ways.  Try pork tenderloin prepared in the slow cooker with a creamy garlic sauce for a simple mid-week dinner. Our pork Wellington recipe is sure to impress for a show-stopping dinner. 9. Pork Crown A pork crown is created by tying a whole bone-in pork loin into a circle. It’s a crowd-pleasing recipe perfect for a family gathering or dinner party. The best way to cook it is to roast it. First, rub it with garlic and herbs, then let it marinate overnight. The next day, roast it in the oven for 1.5-2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. 10. Pork Butt Despite what the name indicates, pork butt comes from high up in the shoulder of the pig. This cut is known for its marbling and depth of flavor, and it’s usually smoked or roasted to make pulled pork.  As with pork shoulder, you’ll want to rub the pork butt with your chosen seasoning before slow cooking in the oven, smoker, or slow cooker for 6-8 hours (depending on the size of your cut). Once it’s cooked, cut the skin off and shred the meat. You can serve it immediately or let the pork marinate overnight so it soaks up more flavor. 11. Pork Loin  Pork loin is a rich, flavorful cut of meat that comes from any part of the loin section. It’s larger and juicier than pork tenderloin, making it ideal for roasting, grilling, or braising.  For a quick, tasty meal, you can cut your pork loin into steaks and fry them in butter or an oil of your choice for 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can prepare pork schnitzels with just a couple of extra steps. 12. Pork Belly “Candied” Pork belly is a popular restaurant dish for a reason. When cooked to perfection, this juicy, tender cut of meat will melt in your mouth. You can see Blaine’s take on Alton Brown’s Seared Pork Belly here. What Will You Go For? If you’re wondering which of the different cuts of pork is best for your needs, the answer is all of them! It all depends on what you’re making.  Whatever you fancy, you’ll taste the superior quality of heritage pork products from our regenerative-focused family farm. Choose from a variety of sugar-free, heritage, pasture-raised pork cuts, delivered to your door. Footnotes1. https://practicalfarmers.org/research/fatty-acid-comparisons-of-grain-and-forage-fed-pork/

How to Cook Pork Sausages: Top 3 Methods

Whether served in a bun, mixed with rich tomato penne, or fried in a pan with eggs and cheese, protein-rich pork sausages are a versatile, delectable choice for a flavor-packed breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Not only are pork sausages rich, meaty, and delicious, but they can also make for a nutritious meal if you buy the right type. Some sausages include added sugar and are high in sodium and additives, which don’t bode well for a healthy diet.  However, if you choose pasture-raised, heritage pork sausages, you’ll get high-quality meat free of hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs. This makes for a healthier, ethical choice and better taste. Not to “humble brag,” but we’re kind of known for our sugar-free breakfast sausage, so we feel really good about putting together this article. 🙂 But, for those of you who prefer to make your own sausage, our ground pork is perfect! Here, we’ll discuss the top three ways to cook sugar-free, heritage pork sausages perfectly. Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Servings: 6-8 What You'll Need One of the appeals of cooking pork sausages is how quick and easy the process is. Because the meat is so naturally flavourful, all you’ll need is a tablespoon of oil, and you’re ready to go:  1 tbsp oil (Avocado or Extra Virgin Olive) 1 lb. Sugar-Free Pork Sausage All our pastured pork sausage is made from the highest-quality meat raised on our regenerative family farm or within our trusted partner farm network. With the cooking methods below, enjoy a variety of flavors, including kielbasa, Italian, bratwurst, and breakfast patties. Instructions Now, it’s time to explore our three favorite methods for cooking pork sausages: on the stove, in the oven, and on the grill. Cooking on the Stovetop This is the classic way to cook pork sausages–and it’s quick and easy.  Heat a drizzle of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place four sausages in the skillet, cooking for 5 minutes on each side or until the middle of the patties reaches 160°F.  Once cooked, remove the sausages from the skillet and let stand for five minutes.  Repeat the process until all sausages are done.  Baking in the Oven If you’re looking for an oil-free or low-effort cooking method, baking your pork sausages is the way to go.  Preheat oven to 375°F. While it warms, line a baking tray with non-stick parchment paper and place the sausages or patties on it. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until sausages or patties reach 160°F. Halfway through baking time, flip so they’re nicely browned all over.  For extra crispy results, cook sausages in a skillet on high heat for two minutes after baking.  Option: You can also use a cast iron skillet as an alternative to a baking sheet. Cooking on the Grill In the mood for a barbecue? Grilled Italian sausages are some of the tastiest pork links you can prepare. Here’s what to do:  Preheat grill to medium-high heat and gently oil grates. Place sausages on grill, cooking for roughly 5 minutes on each side or until the middle of the sausages reach 160°F.  Remove sausages from the grill and let stand for five minutes.  Why Sugar-Free Pork Sausage? If you’re watching your carb intake, sugar-free is a given. But even if you don’t mind a touch of added sugar to your diet, it's a good idea to be mindful of the sugar content in products like bacon and sausages. Added sugar in pork products indicates they’re highly processed, and highly processed foods have been linked to a variety of health problems, including increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. To ensure you choose a healthy and tasty option, look for nutrition labels that are free of sugar and contain only a handful of ingredients: pork, water, and natural herbs and spices. All our pork product labels look like this because they’re all sugar-free! Side Dishes to Pair with Pork Sausage Pork sausages make for a hearty, delicious meal any time of the day. Here are some of our favorite ways to serve them for a mouth-wateringly tasty breakfast, lunch, or dinner:  Breakfast Gooey egg, sausage, and cheese breakfast sandwich Colorful fried sausage, veggie, and potato hash  Old-fashioned sausages, biscuits and gravy  Lunch Sauteed peppers, sausage, and onions laced with red pesto  Grilled sausages with creamy coleslaw and a dressed summer salad  Spiced, baked eggplant stuffed with herbs and sauteed sausage  Dinner  Sweet, zingy tomato and sausage penne pasta  Grilled sausages served with baked sweet potato wedges and roasted vegetables  Crumbled spicy sausage and caramelized onion pizza  Expert Tips & Tricks Before we dive into the cooking instructions, here are some helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind to get the perfect sausages every time:  Before cooking your breakfast sausage patties, gently press your thumb down into the center of each one. This will help the sausage to retain its circular shape during cooking.  When it comes to sausages, slow and steady wins the race. That means cooking them on low to medium heat. Otherwise, you risk a burned outside and undercooked inside.  While cooking as many patties or links as you can in a skillet might be tempting, it’s better to cook them in manageable batches. If you don’t, you may accidentally steam the sausages instead of browning them, and lose out on the crispy exterior. Once your sausages are cooked, allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving. This will make every bite more juicy and tender.  For the perfect pork sausage, a meat thermometer is your best friend! You’ll want to ensure the sausage's innermost part reaches 160°F–that’s how you’ll know it’s ready.  Recipe FAQs Is it better to cook sausages in the oven or pan? How you cook your pork sausages depends on your preferences. The oven, skillet, and grill are all great options. The oven is the best option if you prefer a more hands-off approach to cooking, but we'd recommend the pan if you enjoy sizzling your sausages to perfection.  What’s the difference between Italian sausage and breakfast sausage?  Seven Sons’ Italian and breakfast sausages are both beautifully seasoned and sugar-free. The major difference between the two is our selection of herbs and spices in each. While the breakfast sausage is milder and lighter in flavor, with hints of sage and rosemary, the Italian sausage has a lightly spiced flavor thanks to the addition of paprika.  How should sausages be cooked? Pork sausages are versatile and delicious. For best results, you can cook them in several ways, including in the oven, on a skillet, or on a grill.  Can you pan-fry pork sausages? Absolutely! Heat a drizzle of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat to pan-fry pork sausages. Next, cook your sausage patties for five minutes on each side or until the middle of the patties has reached 160°F. Don’t forget to let them rest for a few minutes after cooking, so they’re extra juicy and tender.  Should I add any seasonings to the sausage patties? Seven Son’s breakfast and Italian pork sausages are already perfectly seasoned with a delicate blend of herbs and spices, meaning all you need to do is cook them!  Can I store leftover cooked pork sausage? Yes, it’s easy to store leftover pork sausage. First, let the meat cool completely. Then, transfer it to an airtight container. You can refrigerate it for up to 4 days.  Ready to Cook?  Try Seven Sons’ delicious, sugar-free pork sausage range today. As always, we’d love to know what you think! So, let us know if you tried our recipes and how it turned out!

What Is Heritage Pork? All About Heritage Pig Breeds

Here’s a little-known fact: the picture of pigs we’re all accustomed to today is nothing like the heritage breeds that first came to America hundreds of years ago.  Most of today’s pigs are the product of industrial farming practices. They’re bred not for their caliber, but for mass production. The origin of heritage pig breeds dates back thousands of years, and they’re renowned for their hardiness, nutritional content, environmental benefits, and sustainability.  History and Characteristics of Heritage Pigs Pigs have been part of the agricultural world since ancient times. Until the Industrial Farming Revolution, these animals lived on open fields and pastures—a far cry from the uniform ‘pink’ pig we know today.  They came in distinct breeds: the long-legged auburn Tamworth, the ebony-coloured Berkshire, and more.  Farmers carefully selected the best of these heritage pigs for breeding, with the idea of nurturing hardy, robust animals with strong immune systems and tasty, nutritious meat.  At Seven Sons, we cross-breed our Heritage pigs like the ones pictured above with modern varieties for a balanced combination of hardiness traits and a fat/flavor profile. Most pork you find in supermarkets comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).  Unlike heritage breeds, factory-farmed pigs aren’t so much bred for quality as they are for QUANTITY. The pigs are unfortunately farrowed in small crates and often given antibiotics to combat the diseases that inevitably develop in such crowded conditions.  Not only is the industrial approach unkind to the animals and the planet, but also results in loss of hardiness, natural immunity, maternal instincts, and an inability to sustain diverse weather conditions. For instance, our hogs happily and healthily thrive on pasture even during winter: Why Buy Heritage Pork? Once you try heritage pork, you’ll immediately taste the difference compared to factory-farmed meat. Heritage pork is renowned for its intensity of flavor, juiciness, marbling, and tenderness. It’s nothing like the bland, dry pork you often get at the grocery store.  Heritage pork is also nutritionally superior because heritage breeds are pasture-raised with plenty of space to roam and play. Their lives are stress-free and spent in a natural environment, making for healthier, happier animals.  In addition, we never use GMOs, antibiotics, or growth promotants – all of which reduce the nutritional profile of the meat.  Lastly, ethically sourced meat is better for the planet. Pigs play an essential role in promoting plant diversity because their rooting and foraging practices encourage soil activity. When farmers take a regenerative grazing approach to farming (rotating animals on the pasture to help with natural pest control and biodiversity), they’re working to restore soil health and build healthy ecosystems that sequester more carbon.  Ready to taste the difference? Shop our range of pasture-raised heritage pork today.

Winter 2024 Project and Pasture Update

Good morning, and Happy St. Patrick's Day! ☘️ While the official arrival of Spring is marked on the calendar later this week, we've been the benefactor of nearly a month's worth of Spring-like weather here in Northern Indiana. The farm production team isn't complaining as it's afforded them some sunny, refreshingly crisp days to complete their daily animal chores and checks, and winter and early spring projects. They've been working on shade structures for the laying hens, putting finishing touches on our new chicken brooder and overseeding the pastures, among many key projects.

Sustainable Pork: Ethical Choices for Informed Consumers

At Seven Sons, we understand that our customers want to make healthy, ethical, and sustainable food choices, and we’re here to help. Sustainable agriculture isn’t a marketing ploy. It’s a way of operating deeply embedded into everything we do. Through rigorous protocols, we stand by our commitment to heal the land, ensure the humane treatment of our animals, and provide our customers with the highest-quality meat. Many pork brands manipulate food labels for products like bacon, sausage, and pork tenderloin with terms like natural or humane. This is known as greenwashing, which is dishonest and makes these products seem more green than they really are. Regenerative-focused farms like ours make it possible for conscientious consumers to enjoy pork without compromising their values. Let’s explore how we raise sustainable pork today. Seven Sons' Commitment to Sustainable Pork Sustainable pork production, for us, means taking care of our pigs through responsible stewardship of the land, ethical treatment of the pigs throughout their lives, humane harvesting, and environmentally sound waste management. Here’s a closer look at the protocols we follow:  Sustainable Land Practices Pigs are emotionally and cognitively intelligent creatures that thrive when given lots of green space to roam, root, play, and rest. However, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) confine pigs in small gestation crates too small for them to even turn around. Our hogs are raised on open green pastures where we follow regenerative grazing practices. Here are a few pics of life for hogs on our farm, including a selfie with Blake, the 1st son. Every 30-60 days, Bruce (the 6th son) and the farm production team move our pigs from one section of pasture or forest to another, where they root and browse on nutrient-rich soil. This process helps to build the animals' health and resilience while enhancing the carbon sequestration ability of the soil, preventing manure and parasite load buildups, and tackling environmental degradation. Using regenerative agriculture techniques, we prevent the need for environmentally harmful synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides on our pastures. This alone is a reason many customers decide to start buying from our farm. But, there’s a lot more value we bring to the table to produce heritage pork and other proteins sustainably. So, let’s continue. Ethical Practices in Pork Production Sustainability and ethics go hand in hand. We care for our animals, and that means we care for the environment they live in.  Social Living Conditions From the beginning of their lives to harvesting, we put our animals’ well-being first. Our sows give birth in outdoor farrowing/birthing huts or indoor community farrowing shelters. By ensuring piglets spend more time with their mothers, litters are spread out, giving sows more time to recover. Once our piglets are weaned, they typically weigh around 45 pounds and return to roam the pastures, where they can live and root freely, with no threat of alterations, such as teeth or tail clipping, and no nose rings.  Years ago, we once operated a conventional factory hog farm. So we know from direct experience that alterations like these are standard practice to prevent injuries and to prevent animals from cannibalizing each other in crowded conditions.  Humane Harvesting When it comes to harvesting, we keep ethics front of mind. We humanely harvest our animals at small, family-owned abattoirs that we’ve established incredible working relationships with for over a decade. We ensure our animals are comfortable with provisions for water and space to rest. To avoid unnecessary stress or panic, we render our livestock immediately unconscious by stunning them.  Not only is our approach kinder, but the meat is better. Calm animals before harvesting have less lactic acid in their muscles. Higher levels of lactic acid (associated with stress) cause muscles to contract and reduce the tenderness of the meat. In addition, studies show pasture-raised animals can have much higher proportions of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals than conventionally-raised hogs.  Natural, Healthy Diet: Free of Antibiotics  To further ensure quality and hardiness, we focus on heritage pork breeds—this means we don’t need to administer antibiotics or growth promotants. Instead, we raise our animals naturally with wholesome nutrition, resulting in ethically-sourced meat that’s better for your health and the planet. Industrial farming practices often include the preventative use of antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection in animals raised in confinement. Overuse of antibiotics is a public health concern that contributes to the development of antimicrobial resistance, essentially antibiotics becoming less effective over time. Addressing Environmental Concerns Many consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the carbon footprint of the meat products they consume. Pork can be part of a sustainable diet – you just need to be intentional about where you buy it from.  The sustainability of pork depends heavily on the processes and practices farmers follow during the agricultural lifecycle.  While regenerative farming practices are proven to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, practices like over-tillage, overgrazing, and mono-cropping degrade soil health – harming the environment. Waste Management in Pig Farming Another sustainability concern consumers have regarding pork is what pig farms do with waste.  Lagoon systems to manage waste like manure and urine are common practice for CAFOs, though not all use them. These systems collect and store the waste in large, open-air pits or ponds, which release dangerous pollutants into the air and groundwater. To mitigate these risks, farms like ours use sustainable manure management practices. By rotating animals outdoors continuously and keeping them in low-density groups, we enable even manure distribution while reducing the likelihood of high concentrations of manure buildup.  Plus, when our hogs are provided shelter (like you see above) during extreme winter weather, we combine manure with sources of carbon bedding like straw or wood chips. As long as manure is combined with enough carbon, it won’t leach. In addition, we maintain ecological equilibrium by regularly seeding our pastures with specific plants that are ideal for metabolizing nitrogen. Sustainable Pork vs. Other Meats When looking to live a sustainable lifestyle, you might be wondering what meat is best. It’s less about the type of meat and more about how the farm produced it.  For example, all beef has a misunderstood and ill-informed reputation for having a negative environmental impact, the mass production of fatter cows, and overcrowded and unhealthy conditions at CAFO feedlots. If you’ve been following us for any time at all, you know that's utter nonsense and it’s possible to produce beef sustainably like we do. As our good friend says,” It’s not the cow, it’s the HOW.” That being said, most pork (and chicken, too) continues to be produced unsustainably. The challenge for pork brands moving toward sustainable pork production is that most of a hog's diet must come from grain feed rations, most commonly a mix of corn and soybeans.  For pork to be produced sustainably, for the long term, the entire pork community need to remain diligent in focusing on sourcing non-GMO grains. More specifically, we need to source non-GMO grains from crop farmers focused on regenerative soil-building practices that sequester carbon, reduce water runoff, increase water infiltration rates, encourage biodiversity, and reduce dependency on any fertilizer and chemical inputs. When you purchase pork, beef, and chicken from regenerative-focused farms like Seven Sons, you can be confident that you're making the most sustainability-minded choice.  Order our delicious, pasture-raised sustainable pork today, and play a part in shaping the sustainable farming industry of the future.