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Health, Home, and Happiness: Liver and Onions- Why We're Eating Liver

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Liver and Onions- Why We're Eating Liver

I've had liver in the back of my mind as a food that we should be including in our diet. Kat, who has a SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) blog, talked about how much better she felt when she ate liver, that pushed me to figure out how to cook this mystery meat.

The health benefits of liver include:

  • It's an easy to utilize source of vitamins A, all the Bs, folic acid.  
  • The best source of trace mineral copper. Also includes zinc and chromium.
  • Contains CoQ-10 

Is liver going to be full of toxins? From the Weston Price Website:
One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.

Interesting stuff, isn't it?  

"I don't know where to find it," was the convenient excuse that I have been using for the last 6 months or so.  A quick call to our friendly health food store yielded not only organic grass fed liver, but liver that is local as well and a mere $4/pound.  The head of the meat department said that an older gentleman named Leonard had reserved that week's, but I was welcome to reserve the next.  A little over a week later there was a call- my liver had arrived and I should ask for it up front, it was in the freezer.  We headed down the next day, and here it is.

I had read that soaking in lemon or lime juice would make the taste less strong.  This also rinses the blood out.  I didn't have lemons or limes, but did have oranges. Kat assured me that orange juice would work as well.

Soaking in the juice, I covered and put in the fridge overnight.

The next morning I chopped two large onions, put a little coconut oil in the bottom of a pan, and let them caramelize on med-low heat for an hour or so.  Removed the onions to a plate, added more coconut oil, and cooked the strips of liver over medium heat until browned on the outside.

The verdict: Kids and I both liked it.  I'm not going to say loved it, but the taste and texture were just fine. The smell was a little strong for me, it smelled like... really strong beef... Next time I think if I add some salt and pepper and lots of garlic it'll cover up the smell a little bit.  The kids both asked for more, and liked the pieces that were cut into small bites, rather than biting off from the strip.  Using Cheeseslave's technique to get children to like nutritious foods, I did my best to not let them know I was a little nervous!

Have you had liver before? 

Part of Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday

What do you use coconut oil for? (Have you been procrastinating getting and using coconut oil?)
Fermented Cod Liver Oil- why we take it
Almond Berry Cobbler (something sweeter...)
Why use raw honey? (And giveaway! Closes Saturday)

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Blogger Debbie said...

I'm willing to give it a go, but not my dh... yet! Did you like the orange or do you think lemon would have been better?

March 24, 2010 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Cara @ Health Home and Happiness said...

I know! Darin even said that he doesn't want it now, but within a year he'd most likely be eating it. For the meantime, I'll crumble some into ground beef and no one will be the wiser ;)

I think orange was fine- I think it just needs the acidity to get the blood out, but I might be mistaken. It doesn't taste like orange, it tastes like beef :o)

March 24, 2010 at 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Jenn G said...

Hmm, interesting. I am pretty sure I can get liver at my co-op. I have made a pledge to try one new food a week, so this might be a good one. Can you just bake the whole liver, in a roasting pan? Or would it be better to fry in strips as you did?

March 24, 2010 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Cara @ Health Home and Happiness said...

Jenn, that's similar to what we're doing- trying one new food a week or so. I think if you baked the liver it might dry out too much. It seems like most of the recipes I saw were pate (boiled, mashed) or fried in strips. I didn't look around very much though.

March 24, 2010 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger stacey said...

OK, my original comment was going to be, "I love ya, but!". :) Went and read Kat's story and decided to at least put it on my to-do list...maybe a lot further down the list though! LOL! Although the suggestion of grinding it and adding it to other meat is a great one...might try liver sooner than planned!

You are so dang conviencing! :)

March 24, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

We ate liver occasionally when I was a kid. I've never made it for my family, but I have given it to my dogs both raw and as cooked treats. It always smells up the house when I cook it. The idea of soaking it in juice is interesting. I might give it a try. Maybe. :)

March 24, 2010 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Susanna said...

You've inspired me! I pulled the liver out of the freezer and it's on the lunch menu tomorrow. I already know I *really* don't like liver, but I should be able to gag down a couple bites (sour kraut will help!) and the kids will eat it in medium-sized quantities. Any leftovers i can grind up and add to chili. So thanks for the motivation. :)

March 24, 2010 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Great post! I'm glad you took such good pictures of the process. Liver always seemed so intimidating to me, it seems easier if you see how to make it.

I agree it just needs something acidic to remove the blood, lemon, lime, orange juice, I have even heard of people using kombucha as a marinade. It certainly changes the color of the liver and removes some of the harsh taste. Glad you liked it!

March 24, 2010 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Michelle G. said...

You are a braver woman than I! But a good example, for sure. When I grow up I want to be like you haha!

March 24, 2010 at 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Kara said...

I gave my husband a meat grinder for his birthday and he made liverwurst from pasture raised pig liver. It was good (though I did add a lot of mustard and onion to it). I'll be posting the recipe on with his next batch.

March 24, 2010 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The liver is the body's filter and whatever you can't digest or eliminate is processed by the liver, it cleans your blood... think about it?

March 24, 2010 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger nat said...

I LOVE liver!! and I feel like I have so much more energy after eating it!

March 24, 2010 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

you cannot pay me any amount of money to eat liver...I ate it as a child and would always throw it as an adults the smell alone turns my stomach...hubby loves it but I need to stay in the basement while he cook and then cleans the kitchen with the window open to air it out....

March 24, 2010 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

I meant to write throw it UP...:((

March 24, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Rana said...

My mom used to make liver and onions for us when we were kids. I liked it. My sister and father not so much. I have not made it myself, I don't know maybe my kids would like it.

March 25, 2010 at 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We eat liver all of the time. Pork, lamb, beef and chicken. My family doesn't always know it though. I even had my farmer who I buy my whole beef from grind the liver into the ground beef and mix it thoroughly before packaging. For liver that is not pre-mixed into ground meat I simply cook it and then grind it to add to other cooked ground meets. If I keep the ratio low enough, no one can taste the difference (even those who know it is there).

Laura (Maine)

March 25, 2010 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Susanna said...

Just following up after our liver luncheon today... this method was fantastic! My kids all really enjoyed it, and I was actually able to tolerate it - which is amazing. You should spread this method far and wide, Cara. :) Thanks for sharing! We can actually incorporate liver into the menu now!

March 25, 2010 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Cara @ Health Home and Happiness said...

I love it that people are being inspired! Traditional food is super cool once you look into it!

March 25, 2010 at 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Justine said...

I love Chicken Livers! - (Good strong baby makin food too ;)) I Particularly love Chicken Liver Pate (with lots of butter, garlic and a little Paprika). My recent accidental recipe is leftover Pate mashed with more butter and Pumpkin. I've only just started making it regularly again, as my store stopped selling it. I got super excited when I found out they had it, and the lady was laughing at me like I was crazy! I've heard its great grated into smoothies too :D I'll be trying that next!

March 27, 2010 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Folky Dots....Treasures for the Sweetest People said...

We love liver (well most of us) I'm blessed to be able to get it from the beef we butcher every year and I have a friend who butchers 2 beefs a year and gives me all the liver from her beefs. It might sound like a funny thing but I like to serve liver during *that* time of the month. It seems like a healthy thing to do.

March 28, 2010 at 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Avivah @ Oceans of Joy said...

Thank you for the link to the article about liver, Cara. I recently started feeding our family liver and was pondering the question about toxins in liver since we don't have access to organic liver(I actually wrote a post about it just a day before you wrote this!), and this was very helpful information.

March 29, 2010 at 5:45 AM  

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