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Everything You Need to Know about Giblets
What the heck are giblets?! When you first step into the Paleo world, you may suddenly start reading or hearing words that you have never heard before. Don’t worry – you’re not alone in this! In fact, we get asked about certain words and terms so often that we’ve started a whole series.
This week we’re focusing on giblets. What are they, where do they come from, and should you eat them? Don’t worry – we’re going to cover it all.
What The Heck Are Giblets?
Giblets are what you most commonly find inside your Thanksgiving turkey before you cook it. You can also find the giblets in a whole chicken.
The giblets are not any specific organ of the bird. Instead, the term refers to the whole collection of organs/non-organs (like the neck) found in that little packet within the cavity. If you open that package, you could find any combination of the following: the neck, the gizzard, the liver, the heart, and/or the kidneys from the bird.
Alternatively, the giblets might just be sitting inside the bird. They don’t always come in a neat, little package. Don’t worry – that’s normal. Sometimes, depending on where you get your bird, it may not even come with the giblets.
Most often, whole turkeys or chickens that are bought from small stores or local farmers will include the giblets, while factory-farmed birds or ones bought from large brands will not.
Can I Eat Giblets?
Yes, you can! But, unfortunately, most people throw these nutrient-dense packages in the trash. Organ meat isn’t commonly consumed in the American diet, so it’s understandable why the giblets get tossed. But as more and more people realize the nutritional punch that’s contained within these meats, the livers, kidneys, and hearts are making a comeback.
Just take a look at the micronutrient information for 1-ounce of cooked chicken liver (sourced from nutritiondata.self.com):
- Vitamin A: 75% DV
- Vitamin C: 13% DV
- Vitamin B2: 33% DV
- Vitamin B12: 79% DV
- Vitamin B5: 19% DV
- Iron: 18% DV
- Selenium: 33% DV
Including organ meats in your diet occasionally is such a powerful way to increase your nutrient intake.
How Do I Eat Giblets?
So, sure, in theory, it sounds great to include these meats every now and then. But how exactly do you do that? To most people, eating a liver or heart straight up just doesn’t seem appetizing.
Thankfully, there are some delicious ways to hide it in your food. The most basic way is to make a stock. Throw in the giblets in a thick-bottomed pot with other bones from the chicken, your favorite herbs and spices, vegetables, and water. Not only will you get the nutrition benefits from the organ meat, but bone broth in general is incredibly nourishing. (You may want to leave the liver out of your stock, though, because it can lend to a bitter flavor.)
You can also make giblet gravy.
You can chop up the giblets and simmer them with carrots, onions, or other of your favorites veggies.
Some people even puree them up and add them to other dishes like meatloaf, burgers, or soups.
There are a variety of ways to incorporate this food, so, next time you buy a bird, give the giblets a try! There’s no denying that they pack a powerful nutritional punch.
Do you eat giblets? What’s your favorite way? Let us know below.
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