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Why Do You Soak Liver in Milk Before Cooking? 3 Best Reasons!

Why Do You Soak Liver in Milk Before Cooking?

Everyone knows that liver is widely touted as being ‘good for them,’ but many also know that they mostly detest the taste of liver.

Many more cannot stand liver’s texture either, a peculiar combination of ‘meaty’ and ‘grainy,’ which to a large proportion of mankind’s palates is one weirdness too many.

Yet, the solution to these problems is close at hand.

To reduce the liver’s strong and distinctive taste and soften it so that it loses its graininess, all a cook has to do is soak the liver in milk for about three hours.

If you wonder how anyone figured that out, you’re not alone.

You’ll learn many things about soaking liver in milk in this article, but as to who discovered this technique–and more importantly, why–well, I’m afraid that’s something you’ll have to read up on elsewhere. 😉

Why do you soak liver in milk before cooking?

Soaking liver in milk delivers three benefits. It tenderizes liver, lessens its distinctive smell, and weakens the intense flavor. To get these benefits, liver should be soaked in milk for three hours or so before being cooked.

Why do you soak liver in milk before cooking?
Why do you soak liver in milk before cooking?

Soaking liver in milk

It is best to invest quality time prepping liver before it is used to get the best flavor out of the food.

Some individuals simply slice up the liver and then throw it in a saucepan, which is undoubtedly the most straightforward way of going about it.

However, just because something is simple doesn’t mean that it is good, and so it is when preparing liver.

As it turns out, there are several additional steps a cook can take to improve the smell, taste, and texture of liver.

Soaking liver in milk has lots of benefits. It tenderizes the liver
Soaking liver in milk has lots of benefits. It tenderizes the liver

Cutting, slicing, and soaking the liver

For one, when cutting liver, the recommended practice is to first lay it upside-down on the cutting board, more easily exposing its veins and tubes, which you’ll have to remove (if you can; if you cannot, you’ll just have to tolerate having some of these pesky nuisances in your meal).

Once you’ve cut out the pleasure-destroying veins and tubes, remove the membrane on its outside.

Some cooks don’t bother with this step, but I strongly recommend that you take the time to do it as it will give the milk greater accessibility and more extensive passage, resulting in liver that is tenderer and fresher tasting.

And now we come to the pièce de résistance, soaking the liver milk. Exciting, no?

The wonderful thing about soaking the liver in milk is that it is one of those seemingly rare techniques that actually work.

You won’t come away after this thinking, “I’ve been had, what a waste of effort.” If this is the first time you’ve done this, prepare to be surprised by the results.

Soaked liver in milk has a less intense flavor
Soaked liver in milk has a less intense flavor

Deep dive into soaking liver in milk

It doesn’t alter its chemical composition or nutritional value in any way.

It will retain its nutritional value regardless of whether you soak the liver in milk, water, or other liquids.

What will differ is its taste. It is recommended, for instance, to opt for chicken livers that are pink and rosy inside.

This type of liver is remarkably smooth and has its own distinct but intriguing taste.

However, to make it even more appetizing, ensure it is soaked in milk to give it extra taste and quality, which will be sure to intrigue at the dinner table.

It’s interesting to note that you can use soaking liver in milk as an effective technique to defrost liver.

Let’s say that it has just come from the freezer, and you’re supposed to let your piece of liver thaw before cooking it. Instead of soaking the liver in cold water, why not use cold milk to help defrost it?

This kills two birds with one stone. First, it helps thaw the liver, and second, it enhances the flavor. What could be more pragmatic than this?

Soaked liver in milk has a less distinctive smell
Soaked liver in milk has a less distinctive smell

Cooking milk-soaked liver

For how to proceed with the cooking process, there are a few tips to ensure that your liver gets cooked properly.

The most important thing to remember is to ensure that you don’t overcook the liver.

Only a few minutes or so of cooking or searing in a hot skillet across the entire length of your liver will be all that you require.

The downside of cooking the liver for too long is that it alters the taste drastically. The taste of cooked liver grows even bitterer the longer it is cooked and the worse its chalky texture develops.

Soak liver in milk for 3 hours before cooking
Soak liver in milk for 3 hours before cooking

Health benefits of eating liver

Is liver actually beneficial for your overall health?

Because it’s a form that is an organ’s meat, the thought of eating liver is not be a lot of fun for certain people.

Its primary job is to eliminate toxic substances. Therefore, why should you eat it?

It’s not surprising that liver is a highly nutritious food item. It is rich in bioflavonoids, iron, Vitamin C proteins, and abundant A and B vitamins.

Yes, it’s cholesterol-rich.

However, so long as you consume liver in moderation (and you don’t have a pre-existing medical issue with cholesterol!), you’ll be okay. Consuming too much of it is not healthy for you (see below).

Liver contains around 370 mg of cholesterol in each serving. This is why it is important to follow a low-cholesterol diet to protect your health.

Still, overall, the benefits of eating liver outweigh the negatives.

Frequently Asked Questions About Afterword: Why do you soak liver in milk before cooking

Everyone touts liver as a great health benefit, but aren’t there side effects too?

Not exactly side effects, but there are certain ‘gotchas’ associated with eating liver. For example, those who have issues with high cholesterol will have to avoid liver, as it increases cholesterol in humans

What is the connection between liver and Hypervitaminosis A?

Turns out, to no one’s surprise, I’m sure, that too much of anything is bad, even liver.

Liver is jampacked with vitamin A according to the US National Library of Medicine, but at the same time, ironically, our livers can’t process lots of it over a prolonged duration.

Therefore, if you stuff yourself with a lot of liver (over a longish time, I don’t mean at just one sitting), you might get Hypervitaminosis A (basically, poisoning from vitamin A).

Symptoms of this Hypervitaminosis A are rather unpleasant:

  • Pain in the bones
  • Changes to skin color (and not for the better, trust me)
  • Liver damage (yes, really)
  • Pressure on the brain (!)
  • Problems with your vision

The recommended intake of liver is once a week at most.

A couple of times a month isn’t going to cause any issues at all for the average person.

Afterword: Why do you soak liver in milk before cooking?

Liver is undoubtedly an exceptionally nutritious food.

If you want to help your health or just want to try an innovative dish bursting with healthy, nutritional benefits, you’re not going to go wrong by adding liver to your diet.