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Old 01-04-2012, 09:45 AM   #1
mrspaha
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Beef liver, calves liver, veal liver

Does anyone know the difference? I've always heard that liver is very healthy, not sure why. And I've always heard that calves liver is better than beef liver, but I'm not sure why. And now today, I'm looking at a grocery ad, and I see veal liver going to be on sale next week.

I have bought calves liver and beef liver in the past, though not often, and I can't tell the difference. But, they are relatively cheap.

So my questions are: is one type of liver "better" than another? And also, for those of you who buy it, how do you prepare it? (Besides the usual dredging in flour and frying up with onions)?
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #2
AlwaysMoving
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I personally don't eat liver, but I thought veal was the meat from a calf.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:57 AM   #3
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I personally don't eat liver, but I thought veal was the meat from a calf.

It is, maybe they thought it would sound better if they called it veal liver...
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:04 AM   #4
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Liver is very healthy, its high in iron and vitamin b12. My mom used to make it all the time; she loved good old-fashioned liver-n-onions, and she always maintained that calves liver was much more tender than grown-up cow liver.

Here's a definition of calf vs veal vs cow:

There are three types of veal:

"bob" veal, from calves that are slaughtered when only a few days old [1]
formula-fed (or "milk-fed") veal, from calves that are raised in confinement on a solely liquid diet
non-formula-fed (or "red") veal, from calves that are raised on grain, hay or other solid food in addition to milk.
Veal production is an emotive and contentious matter (Julia Child remarked in her The Way to Cook that non-formula-fed veal ought to be called calf) but the meat has been an important ingredient in Italian and French cuisine since ancient times. The veal is often in the form of cutlets, such as the Italian cotoletta or the famous Austrian dish wiener schnitzel. As veal is lower in fat than many meats, care must be taken in preparation to ensure that it does not become tough.

In addition to providing meat, the bones of calves are used to make a stock that forms the base for sauces and soups such as demi-glace. The stomachs are also used to produce rennet, used in the production of cheese.
Veal is essentially a by-product of dairy farming. Dairy cows must regularly produce calves in order to continue to produce milk. The result is that more female calves are born than can be raised into dairy cows; bull calves have no commercial use except as veal.


Perhaps the veal liver that is on sale is just plain old calves liver, labeled so as to make it more appealing; or perhaps it has to do with the formula-fed vs grain-fed thing??
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:19 AM   #5
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Not sure if there's much difference between veal vs. calf liver? The PP above probably has the best explanation of where they're would be a difference. If you're buying at a regular grocery store I'd venture to guess calf or veal liver would be the same and just a matter of how they labeled it.

As far as veal/calf vs. cow I would imagine the younger the liver the higher in nutrients and the more tender it is would be the biggest differences.

It is supposed to be a very healthy meal, but personally I could find a million other ways I'd rather consume iron and Vit. b. I gag at just the smell. My grandmother used to cook liver and onions all of the time and I'd have to leave the house for the day. I've heard of many different ways people fix it and would imagine a google search could turn up several recipes if you want to give it a go. Just not on my stove.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:38 AM   #6
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They are all beef liver. The difference is that the younger the animal, the more tender the meat, though there are ways of cooking beef liver that all but eliminate any difference in that respect. The biggest real difference is in price and appearance; veal liver is the most expensive, and is also usually paler in color. Calve's liver is the middle-priced option, while liver from mature animals is the cheapest.

I happen to love beef liver. I braise it in beef broth wth carmelized onions and garlic; it takes a while, but the meat is very tender and it tastes delicious.
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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It is supposed to be a very healthy meal, but personally I could find a million other ways I'd rather consume iron and Vit. b.
Liver can be healthy, but it can be bad for you too. The liver is an organ that can become very fatty. Most overweight humans have some degree of fatty liver disease. This is the same for cows. I would assume the younger the cow, the less fat in the liver, so calves liver would be better for you overall.
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:49 PM   #8
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I could find a million other ways I'd rather consume iron and Vit. b.
Me too! Liver is high in cholestrol and trans fat. I cooked it ONCE for an ex-boyfriend and that was enough, I got it fresh from a butcher shop and it wasn't cleaned yet (veins all over it ewwwww!) smelled horrible plus I was in college at the time and in Anatomy we had just learned what the liver does! I'll pass! Many other good ways to get those nutrients!
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Old 01-04-2012, 03:07 PM   #9
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Liver one or twice a week is very good for you. Grass fed liver is the highest quality.
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Old 01-04-2012, 03:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotUrsula View Post
They are all beef liver. The difference is that the younger the animal, the more tender the meat, though there are ways of cooking beef liver that all but eliminate any difference in that respect. The biggest real difference is in price and appearance; veal liver is the most expensive, and is also usually paler in color. Calve's liver is the middle-priced option, while liver from mature animals is the cheapest.

I happen to love beef liver. I braise it in beef broth wth carmelized onions and garlic; it takes a while, but the meat is very tender and it tastes delicious.
About how long do you braise it and about how much broth do you use? Do you coat it and brown it first?

Thanks everyone for your replies and explanation, especially Sorsha. That reminded me that my mother used to make breaded veal cutlets when I was little, that I just loved. It tasted quite different than the plain liver and onions that she sometimes did too. I hated the liver and onions as a child, but started eating them again when I was pregnant. My OB suggested I have it at least once a week.
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Old 01-04-2012, 03:40 PM   #11
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Me too! Liver is high in cholestrol and trans fat. I cooked it ONCE for an ex-boyfriend and that was enough, I got it fresh from a butcher shop and it wasn't cleaned yet (veins all over it ewwwww!) smelled horrible plus I was in college at the time and in Anatomy we had just learned what the liver does! I'll pass! Many other good ways to get those nutrients!
I agree with this! Nasty, nasty, nasty.
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Old 01-04-2012, 03:53 PM   #12
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I do it for about an hour, no real recipe, I'm afraid. My mother wasn't a really good cook, but she had this one nailed, and I do it the way that she did.

I soak the liver in milk while I prep other things, 20 minutes or so, then dredge it very lightly in seasoned flour with a fair amount of garlic powder added. I brown it in a deep skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, then take the liver out and add the sliced onions and a sprinkle of brown sugar, cook it until the onions soften up, then I pull them aside, put the liver back in the pan and pile the onions on top. At this point I pour in about a cup of beef broth to cover, then simmer it uncovered to reduce the broth until it is just a puddle around the liver, then I add another cup of broth and do it again. It is important to use very low-salt broth for this, because salted broth will end up way too salty by the time you reduce it twice.

I usually serve it with roasted potatoes and a green veg.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:11 PM   #13
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This brings back memories of childhood. My mom made liver and onions and oh my goodness it was the best smell ever. But eww the taste so smushy, yuck, I hate the smushy taste. Every few years I'd have to taste it again cause it smelled so good while she was cooking it, but nope still gross tasting. But I loved the smell of her cooking it in those onions I don't know how something can smell so good but taste so gross. I wonder if I'd like it now as an adult? Sadly she's not with us anymore to make it
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:48 PM   #14
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I am working my way up to trying liver as the health benefits are huge! It provides vitamins A and D, copper, zinc and iron and cholesterol isn't a bad thing, our bodies need it. Although I think it should only come from grass fed animals, organic if possible. I know there is no way my family would even try it so I think I'm going to hide a couple spoonfuls of grated liver in a rice casserole. Also ground beef heart (which is rich in CoQ10) mixed with ground beef and made into burgers is supposed to be very good for you, again I haven't gotten that far yet! I have Nourishing Traditions and love this book/cookbook. In it it states under preparation of liver; buy liver that is organic and very fresh, the butcher should remove the surrounding filament otherwise the edges will curl when cooked, it should be sliced about 1/4" to 3/8" thick and all liver recipes will be greatly improved if the liver slices are first soaked in lemon juice for several hours as this draws out impurities and gives a nicer texture.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:07 PM   #15
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Liver is my favorite food. i still thinks its funny when some one asks what is your favorite food and I say "liver. really.".
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