When I decided to purchase a quarter of a cow to feed my family earlier this year, I had the option of having the farm include organ meats as well. I decided to go for it! In my share I received the heart, liver and tongue. I knew i wanted to make an ancestral ground beef blend. This is simply adding heart and liver to my ground beef.
I had the privilege of being raised in a home by two parents who made good food a priority. My mother cooked dinner every night and rarely ordered pizza or took us to a drive through. I learned from a very early age that I did not like eating dinner at friends houses. Having a home cooked meal at my own home made me feel nourished and loved. My father is Italian and my mother is Puerto Rican. I knew early on in life about my ancestral roots and I understood it was a big part of who I am.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I began to educate myself on what foods I would eventually feed him. Sure I would include lots of the foods I was raised on but something deep within me was calling me to expand on the beautiful foundation that had been laid for me as a child.
Why Organ Meats?
In the summer of 2019, a few months before becoming pregnant with my first, I was reading a book by herbalist Dawn Combs called Conceiving Healthy Babies, a book I highly recommend! It was through this book that I was first introduced into the the work of Weston A. Price. For those not familiar with his work, Dr. Price was a dentist who studied the primitive diets of aboriginal people from around the world. He discovered that they were still eating an ancestral diet and that they experienced little to no tooth decay. Today, the Weston A. Price Foundation recommends a diet that includes things like raw milk, real butter, fermented foods and organ meats.
The Benefits of Eating Organ Meats
Liver is natures most powerful superfood! Ounce for ounce it is more nutritious than any other food. Liver contains:
All the B Vitamins
High Quality Protein …and much more!
In fact all organ meats are a great source of high quality protein and contain many bio-available vitamins. Heart has a more mild flavor than liver which makes it a great first option for those new to organ meats. Beef heart also has a similar texture to more familiar cuts like steak. Both liver and heart are great additions for an ancestral ground beef.
How To Add Organ Meats Into Your Diet
Organ meats are not something most people in this country have had in their diets. Although they come with incredible nutritional benefits. When I learned about the great value of organ meats I knew how important it was to include it in my family’s diet. This is why I started to grind and chop them up and add them into things like ground beef. Making an ancestral ground beef was a no brainer! We do consume organ meats whole as in pan fried liver and onions or seared heart but adding them to ground beef can be a great for first timers to try. It’s also an easy way to take meals to a higher nutritional level.
Two recipes I make often with my ancestral ground beef blend are an Italian meatball recipe from my grandmother and Picadillo which is a Puerto Rican style taco meat from my abuela. I love keeping tradition alive by serving my children the food I was served as a child.
Ancestral Ground Beef Recipe
Per 1 pound of ground beef I add 4 ounces of ground heart and 2-3 ounces of liver
To grind the heart you will need a meat grinder.
The liver can also be put through the grinder but you can also use a food processor. At times I’ve solely added liver and for that I just use the food processor.
Meat grinder we use: https://www.amazon.com/LHS-Meat-Grinder-190706-2LHS/dp/B088FBJ55P/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1U6VXOSJPKW4A&keywords=hand+meat+grinder&qid=1674264569&sprefix=hand+meat+grinde%2Caps%2C86&sr=8-5
Eating Nose to tail can be intimidating at first, but remember this is how our ancestors ate long before us. Not only does this help honor the entire animal for its sacrifice, but its good for us too. We are able to get more complete nutrition then eating muscle meats alone. For more on this topic check out my shin beef stew recipe which includes bone marrow: https://jaynesfarmstead.com/1590/family-beef-share-recipes-shin-beef-stew/