You may have heard the term “grass-fed beef” and wondered what it means. In a nutshell, “grass-fed” refers to cows, goats, bison, lambs and other animals who spend most of their lives foraging on pasture, eating high-quality grasses and legumes, instead of grains, soy, and other supplements provided through feed. Meat that comes from animals that have been grass-fed tends to be healthier and more flavorful, as a growing body of research is starting to show.
For instance, one serving of grass-fed beef offers 15 milligrams more of the healthy Omega-3 fatty acids than other kinds of beef. Levels of another health-promoting fat known as conjugated linoleic acid (of CLA) also are higher in grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef also provides 4 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin E compared with just 1.5 percent for grain-finished beef.
Such meat often is more expensive than grain-finished beef, because the cost of producing it is considerably higher. The animals grow at a slower, more natural pace when eating the grasses and legumes native to them, which makes raising them more challenging in colder parts of the country such as New York. Still, the animals lead less stressful lives and the benefits of the long, slow growth are reaped in the flavor of the meat produced. Many farmers encourage customers who want to reap the health benefits of beef to experiment with cooking different cuts of beef. This week’s recipe offers a way of cooking a Fresh Ham with Shallot Maple Dijon Reduction.