Did your mom ever put a plate of liver in front of you as a kid and make you eat it? A lot of people share this experience with me, and then go on to say that they were traumatized by the experience. Then there is a small handful of people, like myself, who love liver. It is a treat for me to be able to prepare it for myself, because the rest of my family doesn't like it.
As usual, mom knows best. Your mom had good intentions in making you eat your liver. Liver is the most nutrient-dense food that exists. It is loaded with iron, phosphorous and potassium, and is full of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. In fact it is one of the few food sources of vitamins D and K. Additionally it is also high in folic acid and B12. In traditional hunter-gatherer cultures the liver was often cut out and given to the person who had made the kill. It was highly valued and recognized for it's nutritional value.
Pasture-raised and free-range animals will have a much higher nutrient level that conventionally raised animals, so if you can afford to, then check out your local farmer's market or health food store for these options.
Sometimes people express concern about eating liver, because it is our detoxification organ, and people are worried they will be getting a lot of toxins if they eat it. Here's what you need to know about the liver: yes, it is our organ of detoxification, but it metabolizes the toxins, it doesn't store them. The liver's job is to make toxins safe for our body to be able to excrete them. Toxins get stored in fat, where they can do the least harm.
So, if you are one of those people who was traumatized by eating liver, what should you do? How about liver pate? Usually when I mention pate to people, their eyes light up. Mmm! Or you can do what I do with my kids, and put liver into your food processor or blender and then add it to meatloaf or other ground meat dishes. I do this regularly with meat loaf at a ratio of 1 part liver to 3 parts ground meat. My meat loaf then gets topped with bacon before going into the oven, because who can resist bacon?
Happy, Healthy Eating!