I’ve been making desiccated liver capsules for almost two years now. Desiccated simply means dried as a way of preserving. Because my family (and myself!) are not fond of liver, I was searching for a way to get it into our diet. I would occasionally grind it up and cook a little with ground beef, but my husband and I could taste it (though the kids didn’t have a clue it was in there!). I tried a method I had come across of cutting it into tiny pieces and freezing it raw so that it can be swallowed like a pill. The pieces just froze together in one solid mass.
Then Modern Alternative Mama posted this tutorial and I knew this was my answer! I had already been considering doing this, so when I came across these instructions, I had to give it a try. I’ve been making liver capsules ever since.
If you recall in the post My Prenatal Vitamin Routine that I wrote for Modern Alternative Mama, liver capsules were one of my main supplements during my fourth pregnancy. I had never felt better or had more energy during a pregnancy, and I know it’s due in large part to taking the liver capsules!
Liver is a wonderful source of many vitamins and minerals, and, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, is:
- an excellent source of high-quality protein
- nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A, all the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
- one of our best sources of folic acid and a highly usable form of iron
- a good source of trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium (liver is our best source of copper); an unidentified anti-fatigue factor; and CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
- a good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.
Pay particular attention to the “unidentified anti-fatigue factor”! This is my biggest reason for taking the liver capsules. A couple of times during my pregnancy, I ran out and didn’t take them for a week or so until I made more. My energy levels tanked! As soon as I got them in my system again, though, my energy levels came back up. I mostly chalk this up to their high levels of B vitamins. I particularly remember being very, very tired through most of my third pregnancy and my bloodwork consistently showing that I was low in B vitamins, despite my taking a B vitamin supplement. The awesome thing about a food-based supplement such as this is that your body can really use the nutrients!
You can read more about the benefits of eating liver here!
To make liver capsules, you’ll need:
1 lb of organic, pastured liver (I’ve used beef only)
A capsule-making machine (update: Amazon no longer carries the capsule machine I have. Check this search here to find the one I suggest: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=00+capsule+machine)
A high-powered blender or grinder.
Rinse thawed liver in filtered water.
Cut into thin strips.
Place on dehydrator trays without allowing strips to touch or overlap.
Dehydrate for 18-24 hours (longer if you don’t cut thin enough strips). I don’t yet have a dehydrator that allows for temperature adjustment or timing (though it’s my next planned kitchen purchase!), but I think my dehydrator sits at about 100°.
(Note: if you do not have a dehydrator, you can turn your oven on the lowest setting and dehydrate the liver oil parchment-lined cookie sheets for a similar amount of time, though on the lesser side because it will be hotter.)
When the liver is completely and totally dehydrated (this is important to keep it shelf stable!), it will break without bending.
Place pieces, one tray at a time, into your blender or grinder and process until pieces become a fine powder.
Transfer powder to a bowl.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions to make capsules in capsule machine
If you are making the capsules by hand, scoop the powder with the larger end of the capsule, filling it completely, then fill the smaller end about halfway and join the ends until they snap together.
Store in an airtight container. As long as you made sure to thoroughly dehydrate the liver, there is no need to refrigerate.
When I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, I take 6 per day: 2 each in the morning, at midday, and in the evening (or sometimes, all at once in the morning). I give my husband four and my children each one or two. Y’all. My three-year-old eats the capsules whole and my toddler lets me just give him a spoonful of the dehydrated liver. Yuck! Every once in a while, I have a liver burp, and it’s not pleasant. I can’t imagine eating it like my little guys do, but I’m thrilled they’re getting it in!