To cook, wash excess blood from the placenta. Place it in a steamer over water. Place with it fresh ginger slices, half a lemon and a hot pepper. Steam for 15 minutes, turn, and steam 15 more minutes until no juice comes out when pricked with a fork. (Steam over low heat, it has a tendency to boil over and that's a mess.) The membranes and cord may be cooked with the placenta. It is helpful to turn the placenta to "Schultz," i.e., wrapped inside the membrane when you cook it. It will shrink tremendously, and wrapped in the membranes makes it easy to deal with for the next step. After steaming, slice the placenta in 1/8" strips, similar to making jerky. Sliceas thin as possible. Place the strips on a cookie sheet (over aluminum foil if you're squeamish) and place it in an oven on the lowest possible setting for several hours until completely brittle-dry. (Again like jerky) Using a fooddehydrator is even better, but will take longer. Powder the strips in a coffee grinder, and encapsulate.
There are also many other recipes for the placenta here as well, like placenta cocktail, spaghetti and stew! Mmmm! (I think I'll stick with trying to find someone who'd like to plant a tree with it!)
Interested in the history of placenta use? Here are a couple sites:
History of a ceremony
Gifts of the third stage
Passage: Rituals for Birthing
I found the following part of this story to be interesting:
After the ceremony proper, we had a friend say the blessing over the wine and bread. The candles were put out, and we moved outside where, in a fine mist, we planted a fruit tree over Gabriel's placenta. With great joy we all returned indoors to a wonderful buffet. We shared the story of Gabriel's birth, and many people held him for the first time. Everyone felt warmed and blessed.
It is a tradition that the wood from Gabe's tree should be used to build his marriage canopy. This idea gives me a wonderful sense of completion, a sense that the day of his "bris," the home of his childhood, the many plums that will have filled his little belly through the summers of many years will be with him the day that he steps into another chapter of his life.
I also found a video of people planting one!
If anyone knows of a site that has more information on things done with placentas, like how far planting dates back, etc., please let me know!