2

votes

Abnormal-looking chicken livers; should I be eating them?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 17, 2011 at 6:29 PM

I've started buying chicken livers (organic, from chickens free to roam in pasture but still fed a cereal diet), and I have noticed that the odd liver looks diseased (to my completely amateur eye). The majority of livers are completely smooth and firm, a dark reddy-brown in colour, and slice easily into compact strips. However in every pack I'll find a couple which are very rough/pitted, pale pinkish-brown, and so flabbily textured that they practically disintegrate when sliced. When cooked up there is no visible difference between the livers, but sometimes a mouthful will have a weird taste to it.

My questions are:

Has anyone else noticed anything similar?

Should I be eating them?

EDIT: My gut instinct is "ick" (but then it is to most raw liver), however I just don't know if this is a completely normal natural variation. I figure that if there are any experts on the natural range of healthy variation within chicken livers, I'll find them on Paleo Hacks. ;)

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 18, 2011
at 10:59 AM

Picture is worth 100 words.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 01:12 AM

Oops, stupid phone...

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 01:10 AM

This is a great idea; really simple. It's going to be tough to psych myself up to eat a plateful of Abby Normals (as they shall henceforth forever be mentally known :D ). Maybe if I can't bring myself to do it, I'll take it as I sign that I shouldn't have been mixing them in with the good ones in the first place. Oh well, I nothing comes of it, at least I'll have a new nickname for my sister Abi. *evil grin*

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 01:01 AM

Well I LOLed (for real). Gonna have to watch the entire actual movie now. :)

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 18, 2011
at 12:53 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQ_pKqiB5Rg

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 18, 2011
at 12:50 AM

Don't worry; I knew that you were talking about a few select livers out of a whole bunch of otherwise OK-looking ones. I just meant, your instinct about the weirdo pieces of liver that don't fit it is a GOOD and logical instinct that should be followed. :-D Besides, you could sort the strange ones out of one batch and see if the cooked batch has any suddenly bad bites; if not, you've probably definitively solved your mystery - the weirdo livers ARE the nasty tasting /"off"/"bad" ones and you are right to sort'em out the second you spot them amongst all of your raw livers.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 12:45 AM

Ha ha - I like that! Abby Normal and her sister lab jar Ida Voidit.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Nope definitely all livers: sold as such and the off ones don't look like anything other than liver (just odd-looking liver).

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 12:41 AM

Perhaps I should clarify; I find preparing raw liver e.g picking out miscellaneous tubes/veins mildly icky, but actually quite enjoy chicken liver when gently sauteed with onions and cognac. Anyway, your attitude is a real breath of fresh air here - I wish I could promote it more than once. :)

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 18, 2011
at 12:03 AM

This whole comment thread had me imagining a funky lil' liver in a little lab jar - and Igor returns with it to the castle. When prodded by Dr. Frankenstein he concedes that the liver may have had a name labeled on the jar, something like, "Abby Normal...?"

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 17, 2011
at 08:00 PM

It's true that I did forget to ask whether the chickens were sponsored by Pepsi... As to your suggestion, I simply despise ruminant liver; even the smell of cooking calf's liver (supposedly the mildest flavoured of the ruminant livers) makes me gag uncontrollably. I'm just trying to fit liver into my diet in a form that I can tolerate, and hope that regular chicken liver consumption will raise my tolerance of all the strong-flavoured, quivering and gloopy things found inside animals.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 17, 2011
at 07:16 PM

Okay, as someone who also laughed at "New to Paleo - is throwing up normal" in circumspect I concede that I may have been a little, uh over-literal with my title. Glad to raise a smile though!

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 17, 2011
at 07:03 PM

Hi, I think this is a great question, but I do think the title is funny (in a good way!), because when you just glance at it on the PH front page you think "wait, how could the answer be yes?" I felt the same way about "New to Paleo— is throwing up normal?" ... Thanks for the smile!

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 17, 2011
at 06:55 PM

The chickens spend their days roaming in open pasture; the cereal is a largely supplemental part of their diet. OTOH maybe with some fava beans and a nice chianti, I might reconsider... ;)

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on March 17, 2011
at 06:50 PM

Ewww! Would you eat the liver of a human who eats grains? Of course you wouldn't!

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 17, 2011
at 06:49 PM

These livers are substantially pricier than conventional ones, hence my higher "ick" threshold. Also, for all I know of chicken biology this could simply be perfectly healthy natural variation.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 17, 2011
at 06:44 PM

Yuck, gross, I wouldn't eat it personally.

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9 Answers

2
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 18, 2011
at 12:05 AM

I guess...think of it this way: is there anything that makes humans gag yet is absolutely required for their diet? No; so when something DOES rather inexplicably make you wretch then you are probably best served to heed your instincts.

To me a spontaneous gag reflex upon seeing or smelling a food that seems off is my body's way of telling me, "Not worth it, Bucko!"

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 18, 2011
at 12:50 AM

Don't worry; I knew that you were talking about a few select livers out of a whole bunch of otherwise OK-looking ones. I just meant, your instinct about the weirdo pieces of liver that don't fit it is a GOOD and logical instinct that should be followed. :-D Besides, you could sort the strange ones out of one batch and see if the cooked batch has any suddenly bad bites; if not, you've probably definitively solved your mystery - the weirdo livers ARE the nasty tasting /"off"/"bad" ones and you are right to sort'em out the second you spot them amongst all of your raw livers.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 12:41 AM

Perhaps I should clarify; I find preparing raw liver e.g picking out miscellaneous tubes/veins mildly icky, but actually quite enjoy chicken liver when gently sauteed with onions and cognac. Anyway, your attitude is a real breath of fresh air here - I wish I could promote it more than once. :)

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 01:10 AM

This is a great idea; really simple. It's going to be tough to psych myself up to eat a plateful of Abby Normals (as they shall henceforth forever be mentally known :D ). Maybe if I can't bring myself to do it, I'll take it as I sign that I shouldn't have been mixing them in with the good ones in the first place. Oh well, I nothing comes of it, at least I'll have a new nickname for my sister Abi. *evil grin*

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 01:12 AM

Oops, stupid phone...

2
Medium avatar

on March 17, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Of all the animals we eat, chickens have the highest grain tolerance, so I doubt it's just the result of eating cereals. Couldn't tell you what causes it, but I sure wouldn't eat them (though I doubt very much that it could taste much worse than standard liver). My butcher has piles of chicken livers laid out and I've never seen one like you describe. It could be that some percentage of the chickens drink soda and have NAFLD as a result.

That all being said, you ought to switch to ruminant liver; it's far more nutrient-dense.

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 17, 2011
at 08:00 PM

It's true that I did forget to ask whether the chickens were sponsored by Pepsi... As to your suggestion, I simply despise ruminant liver; even the smell of cooking calf's liver (supposedly the mildest flavoured of the ruminant livers) makes me gag uncontrollably. I'm just trying to fit liver into my diet in a form that I can tolerate, and hope that regular chicken liver consumption will raise my tolerance of all the strong-flavoured, quivering and gloopy things found inside animals.

1
65754ad81a07ed733f0363a9ecd1556c

(70)

on March 17, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Yeah, if they feel suspect to you, I would toss them. Blech!

0
A5bd29dfe013c22ebc10d7568cfae53a

on August 05, 2013
at 08:01 AM

It could just be that the outer membrane of the liver has been damaged/removed and so the soft inner part has been exposed, and has thus possible been damaged or began to degrade.

0
0e2bd01a4b24c10af91033fe5dcf3b07

(324)

on September 14, 2012
at 02:32 AM

I say eat them until you get sick. If you don't get sick, WOOT! Yummy livers. If you do get sick then just give them to your dog instead.

0
021eb2e87e9a1fc5e2929055248fce2c

on September 14, 2012
at 02:15 AM

I have the same problem, some are like pink and that might be because they were refrigerated or frozen awhile. My last carton of chicken livers had green spots and one had what I guess was the gall bladder, all dark green on this organ. I just threw it away and decided not to try that brand any more. I am also concerned now that the grains they feed them are Genetically Modfied and possibly toxic. The problem here is large corporations like Monsanto have forced GMO's, or transgenics on the population without testing for safety or labeling so we know what we are eating.

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 29, 2011
at 01:03 AM

I've noticed the same thing, and I usually toss the weird ones to the cat hoping he's got a stronger digestive tract than me for weird meat. I joke that they are the livers from alcoholic chickens.

0
531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

on March 17, 2011
at 11:49 PM

I, too, buy chicken organ meats with regularity. Same deal, pastured animals that get fed some grains. The giblets they sell me sometimes include livers, in addition to hearts and gizzards. I separate 'em out before cooking. I cook liver very differently than giblets. Anyway, is it possible that the livers they're selling include other organs (thymus?)?

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on March 18, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Nope definitely all livers: sold as such and the off ones don't look like anything other than liver (just odd-looking liver).

-1
Af36f76f12e3f6e7719d2c928886d859

on July 28, 2011
at 11:10 PM

lol this is shit house

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