Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Make Desiccated Liver Capsules


I don't like to use the word Superfood; it seems so cliche.  It's on the brink of becoming to me what "epic" has become... overused and lack-luster.  But liver (from hormone/antibiotic-free, pastured animals, of course) really is nutritionally super-duper!

It's a fantastic source of quality protein and natural vitamin A (not to be confused with the potentially toxic synthetic vitamin A); contains all of the B vitamins, including the vital B12; is an excellent source of folic acid and a highly usable form of iron; contains trace minerals such as copper, zinc and chromium; it possesses CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function; and it has this totally wonderful, yet bizarrely unidentifiable, anti-fatigue factor (read more about the study here).

Some, however, have the misconception that liver is not a healthy food-source because it's primary role is to filter toxins.  The thing is, though, the liver does not store toxins, it neutralizes them.

"Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins." ~Lynn Razaitis (WAPF, The Liver Files)
It's recommended that the average adult consume 2-5 ounces of healthy liver (obtained from a healthy, pastured animal) per week.  The problem (for me) is I find the smell, taste and texture unappealing.  I've tried to hide it in small ratios in meatballs, meatloaf and chili, but I can always tell it's there and it's off-putting, to the point that it makes me question whether my meat has spoiled.

So, my favorite way to get my recommended dose of liver is to dehydrate, powder, and encapsulate it.  There's absolutely no smell, taste or texture to contend with.  And it's simple to do.

I obtain grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free beef liver from the farm where I purchase all of my beef (at about $1.60 pound - awesome).

I freeze it for 2 weeks or more to eliminate any potential pathogens and parasites, then defrost it mostly, but not fully.  Leaving it a bit frozen (firm and not squishy) makes it easier to cut it up into manageable pieces for dehydrating.

Mmmm, Zeila wants to know what smells so good up there... at least it smells good to someone!

This is about 4 pounds of liver; I like to do a lot at once because, while it's simple, it is a process that takes time.  I let it dehydrate for a a few days (3 or 4) at a low temp, about 105 degrees.  The lower the temperature, the better retention of the vital nutrients.  Heat can reduce it's goodness.

When the liver is completely dry, place it in manageable portions into a blender (or food processor) and grind them up till they're powder.  You can see I have a simple blender and it handles the job just fine - no fancy or expensive equipment required.

My 4 pounds of powdered liver filled a quart jar to the brim.

Separate the capsules and insert them in each side of the encapsulator.  In the side with the ridge, spoon in the powdered liver.

Compact it with the tamper and add a little more till they're full.

Scrape off the excess back into your bowl...

Put the empty side onto the filled side and press firmly...

Voila... 24 pills made simultaneously in a matter of moments.  That is, in moments after the dehydrating and powdering process!  The capsule process goes really quickly.  I kept making these until I filled a quart jar.

So, you're probably wondering how many capsules you should take a day.  We take between 4 and 6.

Kate over at Modern Alternative Mama has done the math for us; check it out:

I did some math on this to figure out how much liver is really in the capsules.  So, I had about 1 1/4 lbs. liver and I got 250 capsules out of that.  It’s recommended that people get 2 – 5 oz. of fresh liver per week ( pregnant and nursing women should get 4 – 5).  1 1/4 lbs. fresh is 20 oz., which is about 600g, or 600,000mg.  Divide this by 250 pills, and it’s 2400mg per pill.  The pills hold 700 – 900mg dried, so the dried is about 3x as concentrated as the fresh.
If each pill is the equivalent of 2400mg fresh liver, then 4 pills per day is 9600mg, or about 2/3 oz.  9600 mg x 7 days a week = 67.2g, or 2.25 oz.
So, it boils down to this:

  • 2 pills/day = 1 oz./week
  • 4 pills/day = 2.25 oz./week
  • 6 pills/day = 4.5 oz/week

Store them tightly sealed in a dark location and they'll last a good, long time!

This is the dehydrator I have:

This is the capsule machine I have:

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Sharing on The Sunday Social, Homeacre Hop


Kristiina said...

Fantastic! I've been taking my liver caps again too! I'm glad that my math worked out very similar to the linked blog. :-D So much easier to eat liver like this!!!

Anonymous said...

Or you could just cook your liver with cinnamon and sea salt - tastes fantastic, not bitter at all. You need to figure out your ratios of how much cinnamon to add (I add quite a bit on both sides) and cook on a very low temperature. Add some lemon as well if you like.

Liver has too much copper, so it is normally not recommended every day.

Emily said...

How thick do you cut the liver? Also, do you keep the caps in the fridge or not? How long do they keep? I've been looking for things to do with my new Excalibur dehydrator. Thanks!

Pam O'Brien said...

I cut the liver about a quarter inch thick. Since it is dehydrated, it will last a very long time in a cool, dark location. We consume ours before 6 months passes, but they keep in the cupboard in a capped mason jar for that time. Go for it - put that Excalibur to work! ;-)

Lou said...

Thanks for such a great blog! Is the 105 degrees in fahrenheit? thanks

Lou said...

I would like to warn others about the type of food processor you intend to use for this job. As I had a very industrious super duper (plastic) food processor I thought I'd give it a try. The dried liver pieces were so sharp that it cut into my plastic food processor. It now has a 1 cm banded groove in my container!~ I am now wondering if I should through out my 2 pounds of dried liver and start over as I presume there is now plastic all mixed in with my dried liver! If I ingest it I could be poisoning myself with plastic!
Next time I intend to use my glass blender!

Pam O'Brien said...

Hi Lou,
To answer your first question, yes, that is Fahrenheit. As for the problem with plastic, I'm so sorry that happened to you! If you truly suspect that plastic particles are in your liver, then I agree, you may want to toss it and start again. Thankfully, while my blender is not an expensive one, the container is glass and not plastic, so I won't run the same risk. Thanks for the alert, though, to those who may have plastic equipment.

Schadenfreude Strasse said...

I put the raw liver into a blender to turn into a purée then dry on parchment like fruit leather. This thin sheet breaks up easily and blends easier for me than the dry hard cubes. Just in case anyone else has a hard time getting a fine powder.

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