Growing up on a farm, we butchered our own cows and ate most every part we could. Pickled cow tongue sandwiches and fried cow brains were the favorites but only provided enough for one meal from each for our family of six. A cow liver provided three or four meals so we could enjoy liver and onions more often
Why Eat Liver?
In our society where lean muscle meat is cheaply and readily available in any supermarket there is no perceived need to eat organ meats. Organ meats have somehow become “waste” and “less than meat” to us.
On the contrary, organ meats are a great source of:
- Vitamin A
- All the B vitamins (especially B12)
- Folic Acid (the highest concentrated food source)
- Iron (best assimilated food source)
- ….and many more trace elements
And not to worry, the liver is not full of toxins! Yes, it is a filter for toxins for the body but most stored toxins are found in the fat and the nervous system.
How to Feed Liver to Your Family
But let’s face it, as healthy as liver is, I just don’t get excited about eating it twice a week every week. So every few weeks, yes, I will fix it as the main course, but in the between times I have found several ways to incorporate liver into other dishes.
When I pull a package of liver from the freezer to thaw, I make liver and onions for dinner. Since one pound is way too much for the two of us, I prepare the remainder for smaller, more usable portions.
First, I snip up the rest of the thawed liver into smaller pieces with a scissors. Then I pack the pieces into ice cube trays and freeze them. Once, I tried running the thawed liver through my old fashioned meat grinder but let me tell you, liver is some sticky stuff! It mostly got through the grinder, but it slimed back up the spout a lot and was terrible to clean up. I decided it didn’t gain me any convenience in the end. Next time I want it ground into our hamburger I will have the butcher do it for me when we take a cow in.
After the liver cubes are frozen solid I pop them out onto freezer paper, parchment paper, or wax paper. This acts as a barrier to prevent freezer burn. I fold up the paper similar to an envelope and slide it into a freezer baggie. I keep these bags towards the front of the freezer so I can easily grab them without digging for three and a half minutes.
The main way I consume liver is more as a supplement that I try to take morning and evening. I pull out a liver cube and use a peeler to peel off some shavings into a small glass of milk. As I drink it down, I swirl the glass between gulps so I don’t get all the shavings at the end. Can’t even taste the liver!
You can also cut up the liver into small chunks, freeze on a pan and then bag them. Then you just swallow the chunks like a pill!
*Note: I feel safe consuming raw liver from a trusted, clean source. I also make sure it has been frozen for at least 14 days to kill any pathogens.*
Now for dinner, how do you get the hubby and kids to eat it?
1. When I make spaghetti, goulash, chili or any other dish with browned ground beef, I take my peeler or grater to the liver cube and shave into the browning burger until I have enough or my fingers are frozen. Blends right in!
2. Hamburgers I just peel or shred the liver cube into the bowl with my thawed burger and seasonings and mix. The tricky part here is that the little bits of liver stick to my hands worse than the burger when I am kneading.
3. Meatballs already have all kinds of specks and flecks, so what is one more when I add some peeled liver in during the mixing process?
4. Breakfast? No problem! We love quiche here. My quiche has bacon, browned sausage with liver peelings thrown in, cheese and milk all for a healthy start to our day.
5. Sausage gravy is another way to sneak it in. Again, while the sausage is browning, I peel or grate in some liver. Then I make the gravy with lots of seasonings and slather those biscuits!
These previous five suggestions are all cooked versions of liver, but still nutritious. It doesn’t have to be raw for you and your family to benefit!
And, hey, say you really do like liver! Here is my recipe for liver and onions.
- A 1/2 pound of thawed liver
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Coat the liver (request the butcher to package it sliced about 1/4-1/2" thick) with flour and brown it in a fry pan with lots of butter.
- Lay the browned slices of liver alternately layered with onion slices in a small baking dish.
- Over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and let it bubble a bit as you whisk. While whisking, slowly add the beef broth. Continue to whisk until gravy thickens and boils. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the gravy over the liver and onions and cover with a lid or foil.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
- Let set a few minutes before serving.
- If you are making more liver than just for two, you will have to extend the baking time.
Have you ever eaten liver? Do you have a favorite liver recipe?