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The Low - Down on Offal

21st May 2019
The Low - Down on Offal
Tags: LIFESTYLE

The low - down on offal

 

Offal (a slightly unfortunate word, we can probably all agree) is an umbrella term for the meats than come from the internal organs of animals after they’re butchered. There’s no single set collection of meats that fall into the bracket of offal – it’s a list that varies between different food cultures. Here in the UK, offal was once hugely appreciated but these days it’s seen a considerable decline in popularity. Which is a real shame, as organ meats are both delicious and a fantastic source of essential nutrients when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. 
 
What Counts as Offal?
Whether it comes from cattle, sheep, pigs, game or poultry, offal includes:
liver
tongue
heart
tripe
kidneys
brain
sweetbreads
 
Most offal meats just take the name of the organ they come from, with the exception of sweetbreads and tripe. Sweetbreads come from the pancreas and thymus glands and tripe is the lining the stomach. Of all the organ meats, tripe is the one most likely to make people squeamish. But there’s nothing to worry about – your butcher will make sure it’s properly cleaned. Brain is rarely eaten in Britain and there are tight regulations surrounding it, but many European, Latin American and African cultures value it highly.  
 
 

 

Is Offal Good for You? 
You may hear offal referred to as a ‘superfood’ owing to the density of nutrients contained within the organs. Included in these is vitamin A (also known as retinol), a powerful antioxidant that’s credited with benefitting everything from brain function and vision to the immune system and skin. Of course, like anything, you shouldn’t overdo it – balance is key.

Liver is probably the most widely eaten organ meat in Britain and that’s no bad thing. As well as being versatile to cook and delicious to eat, it’s a good way to get vitamins A and B as well as iron into your diet. It’s suggested that eating liver can support the function of your own liver. 

Offal and Protein 
Including offal in your diet provides a quick fix of lean protein and helps you take in the essential amino acids your body needs for activities like muscle building and immunity. Eating animal protein also makes you feel full for longer so can help you feel less tempted to snack – ideal if you’re keeping an eye on your waistline.  

Championing Offal
As organ meats aren’t the most popular pick from the carcass, they don’t carry the premium price you’ll see attached to more prized cuts like steak. So your wallet, as well as your tummy, will thank you for including them in your diet.

And importantly, eating offal helps cut down food waste. Here at Coombe Farm Organic we have a ‘whole carcass’ philosophy that means we aim to make use of as much as possible of every animal we slaughter – organs and bones included. It’s unrealistic and shamefully wasteful to think that eating just the ‘prime’ bits of the animal is OK. When we use our imaginations and get a bit creative, there’s deliciousness to be found from head to hoof. 

If you’re worried about the safety of eating offal, it’s best to source it from grass-fed, organic animals that come from a reputable and fully traceable source. That way you know exactly that the liver, kidney or heart that you’re eating is clean, untainted and naturally good. 

how to make pâté

Versatile and delicious, pâté is a deserving favourite for snacks, starters, lunches and buffets. The word pâté is French for ‘paste’, which gives a pretty good (if not enormously appetising) description of what it is. You can make yours super-smooth and refined or coarse and rustic in texture. Whichever you choose, this is a surprisingly quick and easy way to make the most of top-quality ingredients.  

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