Since eating clean, I haven’t thought much about the idea of “superfood” because I eat nutrient-dense foods on a daily basis. (Blessing.) So, there’s no pressing need to somehow off-set the processed junk food damage. Besides, most “superfood” choices are totally delicious. Salmon? A resounding yes. Blueberries? No problem. Almonds? Three times a day. Leafy greens? Well—-sautéed in bacon oil, then certainly.
One item shows up on these lists repeatedly…and I’ve always glossed over it. It’s gelatinous, odd-smelling, notoriously icky, and synonymous with rejection: Liver.
Let’s not focus on the negative.
This inexpensive organ meat carries a maximal nutrient load:
Extremely high in Vitamin A and B12
High in arachidonic acid (related to DHA, the healthy brain fat)
A unique source of copper, phosphorus and zinc
Almost 20% daily value of iron in just 4 ounces, plus the B Vitamins to help our bodies increase our own iron production
Great source of selenium, a nutrient that can be hard to come by
The nutrients found in liver
Provide many cardiovascular benefits and protection
Protect from cancer
Boost immune system function
Provide bone and colon support
Enhance joint mobility
(these lists courtesy of Kitchen Stewardship)
Back to B12. It is interesting to note that vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient in the human diet. It is important for metabolic function, it helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system. A vitamin B12 deficiency can result in anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression. Longer-term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. It is only manufactured naturally in animal products–there is not a known reliable plant source of vitamin B12. Synthetic varieties are on the market, some are used as additives to many processed foods like cereals. (This is why vegetarians, particularly vegans, may have to take B12 supplements to achieve adequate nutrition.)
With all this said, it’s been wearing on me to somehow get liver into my diet!! Heather also bought 1/2-a-cow this year…and currently owns 16lbs of beef liver burning a hole in her freezer!! But, it isn’t necessary to become a liver purist just yet. With some trial and error, and some research, I finally found a recipe at the adorable Katie Did blog that I can post with confidence!! I tweaked it ever so slightly.
1 sweet potato
1/2 lb calves liver (or chicken liver)
1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 tsp each: salt, garlic powder, dried basil, and dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
Peel and grate the sweet potato. Rise and pat the liver dry. Put the sweet potato into a food processor, and add the remaining ingredients. Blend in the processor, scraping down the sides periodically, until the mixture is completely combined.
To a skillet on medium-heat, add butter, olive oil or coconut oil. Scoop a heaping tablespoonful of the meat mixture into the skillet and cook approximately three minutes per side until done, but not overdone and chalky. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
The meatballs may not hold a perfect round meatball shape, mine were oblong. Makes approximately 15-18 meatballs. Serve with sautéed greens, and our all-time favorite homemade ginger mayo! We use it on everything! :)
Embrace the opportunity to broaden your palate and culinary know-how with these simple multivitamin meatballs!
For more reading on the benefits of eating organ meat: