Duck fat…is it really all it’s quacked up to be? Now that we’ve gotten that pun out of the way, let’s talk about fats. It’s common knowledge now that the whole fat-free, fear the fat trend was a load of garbage. Foods with natural fatty acids like avocados, fish, nuts, and olives should be a welcome addition to any diet. Fats are actually crucial to our health: they deliver fat-soluble vitamins through the body, act as precursors for hormones, nourish the nervous system, and perform many other vital functions.
Most noteworthy is the fact that fats are one of the building blocks of our cell membranes. Without adequate, quality fats, our cell membranes would go totally out of whack and wouldn’t be able to perform their duties. (Do you want to deep dive into biochemistry right now? Me neither. In short, they hold in water, nutrients, electrolytes…they keep us alive.) The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods gets straight to the point: “According to modern pathology, or the study of disease processes, an alteration in cell membrane function is the central factor in the development of virtually every disease.” I dog-eared that page and circled this quote in neon yellow highlighter. Let’s do what we can to keep those cells happy, okay?
Consuming a variety of fat, and high-quality fat, are both extremely important. If you’re like me and tend to eat the same meals and snacks, adding animal fat is a great option. When it was recommended to me (by a licensed health practitioner, not some Joe-Schmoe) I thought the idea sounded freaky. Will it smell like duck? Will it taste like duck? (The answers are no and no. At least I don’t think so but I’ve never eaten duck meat before.) Then I remembered I’ve eaten duck fat fries before, and those were real damn good, so I gave it a try.
I ventured out of my normal routine and used duck fat to roast turnips, a vegetable I would normally overlook. Turns out all you do is wash it and chop it…not too complicated! Turnips are a totally baller root vegetable because they are a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. And while they taste similar to potatoes, they’ve only got a third the amount of calories as spuds, if you’re into that thing. I roasted two turnips at 375 degrees for about an hour, tossing every 20 minutes or so in a dutch oven. Finish with a generous amount of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper and you’re in business! A crazy easy, nutrient dense addition to any meal. Now, what to use my duck fat for next…..