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Calves Liver Vs Beef Liver What's the Difference?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've never eaten liver before, but I'm going to start.

I believe I have a vitamin B12 deficiency and my toddler definitly has low iron and won't take the nasty tasting supplements (I can't blame him, it tastes like strong metal). In doing research into anemia and B12 deficiency I've learned that the best food sources for these important vitamins is calves liver. From what I uderstand a 4oz portion gives you 600% of your RDA, so I think if I eat 2oz a day we'll have pleanty.

I buy my beef in bulk from a local farmer who has 100% grass fed animals who are raised completely naturally. I thought the reason people do not eat mature beef liver is because of the toxins in these animals. Is there a taste/tenderness difference? Do you think toxins would build up in these animals anyways, even though they are healthy animals, raised in a humane and responsible manner? Do you think the beef liver has lower vitamin content than the calves liver?

Anyone have any ideas on how I can make this liver appeal to my 3yr old? I probably need to hide it in his food.
post #2 of 8
Mature beef liver has a stronger flavor, which many people find unpleasant. In addition, the texture of older liver can be kind of "mushy" (for lack of a better description). Baby beef or calf's liver tastes "clean", since fewer toxins have been filtered through this organ in the younger animals. Many youngsters do not care for liver, not only because of the taste, but also because the texture is unfamiliar to them. However, your child may surprise you. When my son was about a year or so old, he developed a taste for liver, and continues to enjoy it today (he's 41 now). The key is in the preparation. It should be nicely browned outside, but still kind of pink in the middle. The more well done you make it, the stronger the taste becomes, and the texture changes from tender to leathery. Since you have not eaten liver yourself, I suggest your first experience should be without your son looking on, in case it does not appeal to you. Whenever I make liver, I serve it smothered with nicely caramelized onions, and nice brown gravy with mushrooms. My family enjoys mashed potatoes and green beans for the side dishes. I hope you do well with this. Properly prepared, liver is very tasty.

By the way, since you believe you have some nutritional issues, you should consult your family doctor and peditrician to be sure there is not some other condition(s) interferring with the absorption of vitamins. This is especially important with your toddler, because of the vital role that good nutrition plays in brain function in the very young.
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post #3 of 8
Liverwurst is the only way I like to eat liver.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
[quote=amazingrace;258137]Mature beef liver has a stronger flavor, which many people find unpleasant. In addition, the texture of older liver can be kind of "mushy" (for lack of a better description). Baby beef or calf's liver tastes "clean", since fewer toxins have been filtered through this organ in the younger animals. Many youngsters do not care for liver, not only because of the taste, but also because the texture is unfamiliar to them. However, your child may surprise you. When my son was about a year or so old, he developed a taste for liver, and continues to enjoy it today (he's 41 now). The key is in the preparation. It should be nicely browned outside, but still kind of pink in the middle. The more well done you make it, the stronger the taste becomes, and the texture changes from tender to leathery. Since you have not eaten liver yourself, I suggest your first experience should be without your son looking on, in case it does not appeal to you. Whenever I make liver, I serve it smothered with nicely caramelized onions, and nice brown gravy with mushrooms. My family enjoys mashed potatoes and green beans for the side dishes. I hope you do well with this. Properly prepared, liver is very tasty.

By the way, since you believe you have some nutritional issues, you should consult your family doctor and peditrician to be sure there is not some other condition(s) interferring with the absorption of vitamins. This is especially important with your toddler, because of the vital role that good nutrition plays in brain function in the very young.[/quote]

I TOTALLY agree with you. However, I'm having a hard time finding a doctor that will talk nutrition. They test the iron and say take a supplement, they never want to talk about food. Even the testing for B12 defiency is not always done correctly, and a doctor might not identify me as deficient, but as borderline (which can still cause problems that I am experiencing like fatigue, chronic head ache, and spots at times in my vision). I'm always dismissed as being slightly anemic and this has been going on since I was a teen. I'm going to make an appointment with an internist (who does not take insurance at all, due to her popularity) who does LOTS of bloodwork and focuses on diet and nutrients. She is an MD, but believes strongly in the mind/body/diet connection.

I'm trying to provide the "optimal" brain development diet for my toddler. We are eating a diet rich in Omega 3s fats and keeping the Omega 6 fats in check. This means lots of fish, avocado, and grass fed beef. I think I can get him to eat the liver, as I got him to eat sardines just last week.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I LOVE liverwurst, I ate it like PB&J as a kid, I totally forgot about that.

Only problem is the sodium, I wonder if I can find some w/ a lower salt content.
post #6 of 8
I raise my own beef and sell 3 or 4 steers a year to neighbors. Grocery store beef liver is often stronger in flavor but not always. It's also often mushier in texture. There is rarely any real calf liver in grocery stores. Calves aren't commercially slaughtered until they've reached an age where they're physically not calves any more. My beef liver is light in color and firm due to the fact that my cattle are raised on grass and NEVER given corn or grain. Chances are, if you are buying real grass fed beef that hasn't been finished on corn or other garbage that cattle were never designed to eat, you'll get liver that is much milder than any calf's liver you could buy in the store. Does the farmer offer both? I can't imagine he does. I would never butcher one of my calves in order to get better liver while sacrificing all those pounds of beef I'd lose out on.
The liver is a filter organ. All living things produce toxins in their bodies. The liver removes those in mammals. Naturally raised beef liver will not contain chemicals that are routinely given to commercial beef, but it will still be high in the naturally produced things the organ is designed to remove from the animal's blood stream. Your own liver will take care of that stuff, it's the pesticides, de-wormers,antibiotics, and growth hormones you won't have to worry about.
As far as flavor, I'd agree with the above post. DON'T cook liver till it's grey. It should be pink inside. Bacon is a great enhancement, especially for kids. We like it with sauteed onions and bell peppers.
It's also possible to buy dessicated liver capsules in health food stores, I don't know how they compare to the other supplements, but they wouldn't have that nasty iron taste.
I still remember my first experience with liver. I knew very well what raw liver looked like when it came out of a steer and I wanted NOTHING to do with it. I think I was about three also. I was simply told "It's meat, you like meat. It's good for you. Don't be wasteful. Eat it." It was pink and the bacon was crispy and I ate it and asked for more.
post #7 of 8
BTW, if bacon's an issue for you, ask your beef farmer for a lead on some grass fed pork or a local smokehouse that's producing nitrate free bacon. Bacon, as everyone knows, is part of that class of things that are proof of the existence of god. Bacon should be free and available to everyone, all the time. Like beer.
post #8 of 8
I used to think i hated liver till i tasted calves liver.
My favorite way is very unusual - i put a film of olive oil in the pan, and heat it with plenty of black pepper - when hot, add crushed garlic, and then crumbled dry sage and the liver on top. Cook quickly on high heat, then turn. cook the other side and take it out.
It's got a wonderful taste - sometimes, because liver is so expensive, i do beef this way, just to get that flavor.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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