Liver, Kidneys, Heart, and Spleen

Organ meats get separated at the time of gutting to keep it out of contact with the intestines, bowel and bladder contents

Innards are what my daughter calls “man’s food”.  In other words, “I’m not eating that”.  But you can eat it and it’s really quite nutritious.  We save the liver, kidneys, heart and spleen.  I’ve never cooked a spleen before, but I found a recipe so we’ll see.  

The liver is the easiest to find because it’s the biggest.  When you find the liver you should immediately find the green wobbly bit.  This is the gallbladder, it’s full of gall.  Gall is really gross.  If the gallbladder is cut, everything the dark green gall gets on has to be thrown away.  It’s very bitter, very bad.  I’ve read that Native Americans used to put the gall on the liver intentionally and eat it raw, and I wonder if anyone ever checked to see if they were just playing a joke.

After you have removed the gallbladder cut the lobes of the liver apart a bit and cut out all the really big duct work as this can often be filled with small amounts of gall too.  Then cut the liver in 1/2 inch thick slices and freeze it.  Fry it with about an equal portion onions and serve to men for lunches.  

Liver, cleaned of the gallbladder and duct work.

The heart needs to be opened fairly soon after killing and all the chambers washed out as they are like to have clotted blood in them even if the animal was bled out well.  At this point I also cut off all the tubes at the top since no one wants to see that.  The heart is a very tough muscle regardless of the age of the animal.  Its fibers go all different ways so it should be cut into small pieces squares of about 1/2 inch or so and fried somewhat slower than the liver. 

The spleen and kidneys can be treated about the same as the liver, but without the gallbladder to worry about there are no special instructions.  You just fry it all with onions.

Tomorrow is the big day when we turn hog into pork.  Come see us tomorrow if you’ve ever wondered, “What is jowl bacon?”, or “What can I do with this head?”

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