Determine from mama exactly what she wants done with her placenta. Does she want a piece to eat fresh? Does she want to bury the fetal side and membranes? Does she want a piece of the maternal side (fresh) to make a tincture with? Would she like the cord dried into a spiral or heart shape for an artwork piece? does she want the membranes buried or saved for an artwork piece?
After the birth and examination of the placenta rinse it well. If it is late and you are tired you can put the whole placenta in a ziplock and freeze it with out any preparation. I like to arrange it in the bag so that the cord and fetal side are easily identified and on one side of the bag and lay the placenta flat in the freezer, if possible. If mama wants the membranes dried for an art work piece I remove those by cutting them around the edge before freezing and pin or tape them flat on a large sheet of watercolor or sketch pad paper. Before you freeze the placenta is the time to make a placenta print on the same kind of art paper as well.
Wait a good day or 2 for the placenta to be well frozen before the next step.
You'll need; gloves, a nice work area and some toweling or paper towels or newspaper to catch the splatters and clean up with, a good sharp knife, a dehydrator,and if you have, parchment paper or the sheets for the dehydrator that you make fruit leathers on. Or you can do it without either of those things and just put the placenta pieces straight onto the dehydrator trays. Something to clean up with too, I like to have some h202, 3%, in a spray bottle to clean with.
Take the frozen placenta out and give it a few minutes to soften before you start cutting. Use gloves. I like to hold on to the cord with my non dominate hand. Start slicing off very thin pieces of the maternal side of the placenta and laying those pieces on the dehydrator trays that are covered with the parchment or silicone sheets, or just straight onto the trays. I usually end up with at least 2 full trays of thin slices. Lay them out so they are not overlapping one another. Just keep slicing until you are at the fetal side where the tree of life forms. That side has no nutritional value, so that, I usually have papa bury. If the membranes are still attached you can try to dry those on a sheet or bury. I haven't had much luck with the membranes behaving well after they are frozen. Wrap it up in a banana or ti leaf or any appropriate material for burial. Before you do that however cut off the cord as close to the fetal side as possible. Arrange the cord on one of the dehydrator trays in a spiral or heart shape. Mama can take the dried cord and make a framed art work from it or place it in baby's book or what ever she chooses to do with it. Set the dehydrator to a jerky setting and check it after a few hours. Time to dry depends on the thickness of the slices, the machine itself and the humidity. For me here in HI it usually takes about 5 or 6 hours. When done, the meat strips are brittle and break easily when you bend them. No moisture is left inside.
Cool down and remove all the pieces.
You can store them in an airtight jar or bag as they are or you can grind them into a powder straight away. Use a coffee grinder, a cuisinart, a spice grinder, a blender or mortar and pestle (that takes a while). Fill empty gelatin caps (you can get these at a health food store) with the powder and store in capsule form. Or store the powder and fill caps later. Keep the placenta in a cool dry place.
It's really not hard.
Remember as you are working to hold gratitude for the gift of life that grandmother placenta has given. This will imbue the placenta medicine with wonderful energy.