In the spirit of “new year, new you health resolutions”, I figured I’d talk about one of the healthiest products we have at our farm. Beef liver.
Now hold on, don’t go… I know many of us didn’t grow up eating liver, and maybe you are disgusted by it (I was!), but I beg you to please stay with me and at least read the rest of this post.
While studying nutrition, I heard so much about the health benefits of beef liver- it was even sometimes called a “super food”! Interestingly, it was once a popular and treasured food source, but liver has fallen out of favor. This is unfortunate because liver is possibly one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and inexpensive too!
It is rich in protein, low in calories, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. People often look to fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals, but liver far surpasses them all in terms of nutrient content. A small amount of liver provides well over 100% of the RDI for many essential nutrients.
Here are some nutrients found in a 3.5-ounce serving of beef liver:
How to Include Liver in Your Diet:
I admit it, liver has a unique taste, which some people love, and others hate. I know it was tough for us to stomach it the first time we tried it, so I’ll give you that, BUT… here are some suggestions on how to include it in your diet and get these great nutrients:
Recipes to Try:
While our recommended way to start eating liver is the "mince, freeze, and add to ground beef" method, here are a couple of good recipes if you want to try.
This might be the best Liver and Onions Recipe we've found:
Beef Liver Pate:
P.S. Beef Heart has a much, much milder flavor than liver and has some of the same nutrients. It’s a lot like ground beef, but I would classify it as “sweeter.” Whereas you’d only add 1-2 cubes of liver to any dish, it’s pretty easy to add up to a quarter pound of heart to a pound of ground beef, even in grilled hamburgers!
***Both Beef Liver and Beef heart are FOR SALE on our web store- so give it a try and REALLY get healthy this new year!***
One of the best things about being a farmer has been having our very own stash of quality, organic, grass fed beef available at all times, but I must say, the easiest and most versatile to use is our ground beef.
But, what's special about our ground beef?
It is Premium
You might think all grass-fed ground beef is equal, but in addition to being certified organic, ours is dry aged for at least a week and it comes from the whole cow. So all those delicious cuts of the rib and sirloin are ground up with the rest, giving our ground beef exceptional taste and even more health benefits including vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in the WHOLE animal, and not just the scraps in typical ground beef.
It is Local
Yes, you might find grass fed ground beef these days in your nearest big box store, but keep in mind that while it might say it comes from the US, it probably doesn't. How? Read more on this blog post we wrote about the reversal of the "Country of Origin Labeling Law". Most likely your beef comes from far away places like Australia, New Zealand or South America, traveling halfway around the world to get to you. Ours will only travel from our Wisconsin family farm to your table.
In addition to being one of the most affordable beef products, the best part of ground beef is its versatility. I admit, before becoming a farmer, we rarely bought ground beef. For burgers occasionally or a specific recipe, but I just didn't think of it in my family meal rotations. However, having them handy in the freezer has been salvation for a quick family meal! Easy to defrost and with endless possibilities to use, it makes dinner planning and prepping super easy!
Here are 30 ways to USE GROUND BEEF (some with links to recipes!) to give you many ideas on how to use your Starry Nights Farm grass fed, ground beef:
and saving the best for last...
30. Wisconsin Butter Burger : )
Shop for your GROUND BEEF here and enjoy!
The secret to chili is how you select and use your chili peppers. If dried ancho and chipotle peppers are not available in your local market, just substitute, bearing these points in mind: dried chiles have a richer, fruitier flavor than fresh; smaller chiles are hotter than larger ones; the seeds and white veins generally contain all the heat but no chili flavor; and finally, if you like great chili flavor but are less enamored with the spice, add one whole chili pepper to the pot, but remove it before serving. The recipe below is for a medium-hot chili.
On a budget. Minimum Preparation. Serves 6.
For the chili:
For the topping:
Cover beans with warm water, stir in lemon juice, cover, and soak in a warm place for 18 to 24 hours. Drain, rinse, and place in a slow cooker.
In a skillet over medium-low heat, brown the ground beef in olive oil. Combine the meat and remaining chili ingredients in the slow cooker, and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours, until the beans are tender. Depending on how your cooker works, you may need to add an extra ½ cup of water during the cooking time to prevent the chili from drying out. Remove the whole chipotle pepper.
Serve the chili topped with shredded cheese and a generous dollop of sour cream.
Appetizer, easy, fast, kid friendly- serves 10.
Mix together the brown sugar and cornstarch and add to the skillet used for meatballs. Pour in the pineapple and juice; add vinegar, soy sauce and chopped pepper. Over a medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, immediately add the meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes.
Recipe from "The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook" by Shannon Hayes.
Extremely nutritious liver was a weekly fare in many households until concerns about cholesterol and toxins threw it off the American menu. However, the availability of liver from grass fed animals answers this issue and permits liver to return to our tables!
On a budget, minimum preparation, serves 2 to 4.
Slice the beef liver into strips, about ½ in wide. Place strips in a small bowl, soak in lemon juice, adding more if necessary. Cover the bowl, and marinate the meat several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350F
Mix the apples, onion, salt, pepper. Heat the butter in a frying pan and sauté the mixture until the onion is translucent and the apples are crisp-tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
Remove the liver from the lemon juice, pat dry, and place in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Pour the apple/onion mixture over the liver. Arrange the bacon slices on top and pour in hot water. Sprinkle with the paprika. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the liquid is bubbling and the apples are soft. Serve immediately.
Recipe from "The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook" by Shannon Hayes.
Marisa usually writes about nutrition, grass fed beef, organic agriculture, as well as sharing delicious recipes; Paul writes about farm work- sharing his stories and experiences, and sometimes... we both collaborate on a story!