Monday, July 9, 2012

Tips for Making Liver Eatable

[Update: Sept. 19. 2013-- Another way to get some liver in you is to eat liverwurst or liver pate. I made some pate a few days ago. It was great and I hate the taste of liver. Experiment I used sausage, garlic, onion and cumin. Experiment]

[Update July 10, 2012: There has been some concern if liver is dangerous

Despite the fact that traditional practices and scientific evidence support the many health benefits accrued by eating liver, many modern people express ambivalence about eating liver or express an outright refuse to eat it because they’ve been told that the liver stores toxins. This view has become popular among many conventional nutritionists and natural foods advocates.

The “liver is toxic” belief stems from a misunderstanding of what the liver actually does. The liver does not store toxins, rather it neutralizes toxins (e.g., drugs, chemical agents, and poisons). Toxic compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are more likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system, not the liver.
What about the risk of vitamin A toxicity?
Studies linking vitamin A consumption to toxicity relied on doses of synthetic vitamin A, which was found to cause problems and even contribute to birth defects. But natural vitamin A found in liver is an extremely important nutrient for human health and does not cause problems except in extremely large amounts,

Other than unusual cases, such as Arctic explorers eating polar bear or seal liver and taking several million units of vitamin A at one time, the risk of vitamin A toxicity in people eating one or two reasonable servings of liver per week are highly unlikely.

Taking megavitamin supplements containing vitamin A over a long period of time has been known to induced acute toxicity (e.g., 100,000 IU synthetic vitamin A per day taken for many months); however these go away upon cessation of taking such unusually high does of A in supplemental form.

How much liver is safe to eat?
A good recommendation for liver is one 100-gram serving of beef, lamb, bison or duck liver (about 4 ounces) once or twice a week, providing about 50,000 IU vitamin A per serving. Chicken liver, which is lower in vitamin A, may be consumed more frequently. If you experience headaches or joint pains at this level, cut back until the symptoms go away,]

A previous post on Catholic Data said what a superfood liver is but most people don't like the taste, nor do they know how to cook it. I don't like Liver so I felt bad telling people how healthy it is and didn't follow up with some tips to get it down.. Liver once a week or every couple of weeks should be enough for health.. Here are some suggestions that may help with a suggested recipe at the end. A simple; recipe that your family actually might liked.

1.Soak It In Acidic Water

I read this in several places, one of the toughest (pun intended) things to get past about liver is the texture, which is more dense than other meat. The acidity seems to break down the liver and make it more palatable. (Another suggestion I read was to soak it in milk for a several hours in the fridge. I am not sure how this helps.. One idea I had, although I haven't tried it yet, was to soak it in Blue Cheese salad dressing with a little milk. This could be the best of all worlds, acid, milk, and a strong 'masking flavor".)

To Do: Simply place your cut up liver in a bowl, barely cover with water and add the juice of a lemon or a tablespoon or two of vinegar. Soak for a few hours before cooking, drain and pat dry.

2. Do Not Overcook It.

In fact err on the side of just undercooked. Even though the lemon juice makes the liver a bit more tender, overcooking can really ruin it. I cooked mine until it just had a hint of pinkness left, and then removed it from the heat.
To Do: Cut the liver in thin strips and fry only a few minutes on each side. It should be a touch pink inside when you remove it from the heat. The residual heat  will finish the job for you.

3. Use A Lot of Cooking Fat.

Fat carries flavors, which is why it makes things taste so good. It is also good for you, in case you’re worried about that. I recommend an animal fat like bacon drippings, lard, tallow, an unflavored coconut oil. ( don't worry about cholesterol, it's a myth)
To Do: Use somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 cup of fat per pound of liver + flavorings.

4. Cook It With Lots of Flavorful Ingredients.

Liver has a distinct and strong flavor that is tough for some to get over. Cooking it with pungent foods really tones down the "liverness" of the dish.
To Do: I believe onions and garlic are almost a necessity when cooking liver. Also try bacon, chilies, and aromatic herbs like thyme or sage.

5. When All Else Fails, Pass the Ketchup.

I grew up eating liver with ketchup, so I had some at the ready. The strong sweet-sour flavor really tames the liver flavor.
To Do: Try to avoid high fructose corn syrup by buying organic. Or make your own. Add enzymes with a lacto-fermented ketchup. Sugar-free barbecue sauce is another great option.

Recipe: Beef Liver with Bacon, Onions, and Garlic

 This dish comes together in less than 20 minutes, despite the seemingly long list of steps. One pan, a few ingredients, and little cooking time equal a fast, nutrient dense meal. Feel free to add more bacon, I keep it on the lower side due to cost.


1 pound pastured beef liver, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips (calf's liver is better)
1 lemon, juiced or 1-2 tablespoons vinegar
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly
4-6 oz pastured bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup lard, tallow, or coconut oil


Place the liver strips into a bowl and barely cover with water. Add the lemon juice or vinegar and stir. Soak in the refrigerator for several hours. Just before cooking drain, pat dry and set aside.

Fry bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat until fat is rendered and it begins to crisp up. Remove bacon from pan, leaving drippings, and set aside.

Saute sliced onions in bacon grease until softened. Remove and set aside.

At this point add enough fat to the pan to create about 1/3 cup total (including bacon grease).
Add liver strips to the pan and allow to cook, undisturbed, over medium heat for about two minutes. Stir in minced garlic and pre-cooked onions and bacon.

Cook for an additional two minutes or until nearly done. Be very careful not to overcook.
Serve alongside a green salad and a vegetable and potatoes.