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Q & A About Beef Heart and Organ Meat

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Question from a Blog Reader:

I am a newbie to the world of WAPF and traditional nutrition. After reading Nourishing Traditions, I was recently able to get a beef heart from a grass fed cow and now I need some advice! The heart is whole and I mistakenly thought that it would be ground, and it’s already frozen… solid.  Also, it is huge. I have a friend who has a meat grinder, which is great… however, once it thaws to have it ground I assume I cannot re-freeze it. So, if I thaw it, grind it, mix it with ground beef (1/4 lb to every 1 lb) and make hamburgers… can I then safey freeze the cooked burgers? Once it is thawed, how long is it good in the refrigerator? Can the whole entire thing be ground?  Sorry for bombarding you with all these questions but I thought I’d just be getting some ‘ground heart’ and this would be simple!  I could not find anywhere on the WAPF website to submit this question.

Thanks,
Stephanie Vandervoort

Three Answers

Answer from Nicole Anderson, Director of Customer Service at La Cense Beef, a Realfoodmedia.com sponsor:

It is safe to refreeze the beef after it thaws as long as it stays cold, so I would recommend you thaw the heart, grind it and mix with whatever beef blend you’d like, and then refreeze.

Answer from Sally Fallon Morell, Author of Nourishing Traditions cookbook and her husband, Geoffrey:

I think she can refreeze it as ground heart plus ground beef. . . plus lots of fat.

Sally’s husband Geoffrey Morell, who farmed in New Zealand for many years says that the beef heart will last about 10 days (advised putting it in the bottom drawer or shelf where it is coldest. He says a traditional dish is stuffed beef heart (just like a turkey, with a similar bread or rice stuffing). He says you cook it low and slow about 300 degrees until done, about 1 hour or more.

Answer from Kimberly Hartke:

You might try grating the frozen heart for your recipe. Then you won’t have to thaw and re-freeze the heart. I have not done this personally, but have heard others talk about this technique. By the way, the best beef heart is from cattle raised on raw milk. Unprocessed mother’s milk grows strong organs.

Here is a blog that mentions grating organ meats into a recipe: http://thenourishedsprout.blogspot.com/2011/04/jurassic-easter-eggs-hearty-paleo.html

Kimberly Hartke’s blog covers traditional nutrition, food politics, and wellness. Feel free to send in questions about any of these topics.

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival. Get your Real Food on at Kelly the Kitchen Kop!

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Comments

  1. Never ground any from the calves I’ve raised. Have one right now, jersey steer was butchered yesterday, for supper tonight. I will either bake it stuffed or cut into strips, bread it with a flour/cornmeal (seasonings) mix and deep fat fry it. It’s a cold, rainy, nasty day here in south-central ID, so will probably bake it (I do 325 for an hour in a pan…with 1cup beer or water…that is covered with foil.

    Never saved “sweet breads” before, but husband says they’re good and so I need a recipe(s) for those. They look like smallish blobs/hunks of white-ish fat bundled together.

  2. Since it is a whole heart, I would recommend removing the valves, thick veins, and other non meat parts before you grind it.

    As for the rest, I agree with Sally.

  3. A heart is a muscle, and when cut up, it looks and tastes like any muscle meat. Since my kids didn’t like to have to look at a stuffed heart, I chopped it and curried it or made it into stew.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is good to know. Now I am not ‘afraid’ to try a heart. I think I
      will stuff mine, for grins!

      My heart is full of love for good nutrition, so might as well serve a
      stuffed heart!

  4. I thaw the hearts (beef & lamb) I get from my favorite rancher just enough to cut it into chunks.  I refreeze the chunks in half-pound portions.  This way I can grind the chunks up in my food processor, which is what I usually do, or use them for stews, kebabs, whatever.

    • Anonymous says:

      I love all the great suggestions you and the others are putting on this
      blog post! It makes it a really valuable resource for folks new to organ
      meats, especially the heart.:-)

  5. Philip Ridley says:

    We recently bought a huge Ox heart for just £5. We sliced it into steak sized portions and froze them to be used later.

  6. Ronna Strilaeff says:

    I keep both beef heart and liver frozen in my freezer and grate them while still frozen into everything from egg dishes, to tomato sauce, soups, stews, meatloaf, anything I think I can hide it in, really. The taste of heart is not strange or strong like liver. In fact I have sauteed up chicken hearts for the kids and they LOVE those just whole! Heart is also good sliced and cooked medium rare with with a lemon-dill sauce. Seriously, it is one of the best things I’ve had!  

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