Liver is one of those meats that you have to really enjoy to be able to eat it.
To some, the thought of eating liver can be sickening, which is why you might find yourself with a lot of leftover liver after you cook your meal.
Whether you’re the only person in your house who likes liver, or you’ve bought a larger packet because it was better value for money, you will likely want to preserve the leftovers so you can use them in the future.
Meat will only last a couple of days in the refrigerator, so if you want to extend its shelf life, there is only one answer: freeze it. Meat freezes incredibly well, and you can freeze your liver if you want to.
The freezing process does not differ depending on what animal you get the liver from. So if you are looking to freeze liver of any kind, follow this guide and the process will be easy.
How to freeze liver
Like all meats, liver freezes incredibly well. However, the way that you are going to cook the liver will affect the appropriateness of cooking it before freezing or freezing raw.
For some recipes, you can cook the liver before freezing, for example, Pate, as the texture will not be altered too greatly by the freezing. However, as liver is a sensitive type of meat, it may be better to freeze it raw. It all comes down to personal preference, but unless you know that you like twice-cooked liver, we would recommend freezing it uncooked.
The process of freezing uncooked liver is really simple and doesn’t take long to complete. It involves a few easy steps, but you must follow these perfectly to ensure your meat comes out edible on the other side of freezing.
The first step is to drain any liquid out of the meat. In general, livers are quite a moist cut of meat, and moisture isn’t great for freezing. Water will expand when it freezes so any moisture within the liver will freeze and expand, likely damaging the consistency and structure of the liver.
The easiest way to drain liquid from the liver is to transfer it from its packet onto some paper towels. Within a few minutes, most of the liquid will have drained, and you can move onto the next step.
Once you are confident the liver is as dry as possible you can start the packaging process. To do this, you will need either an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag.
Both receptacles are good options so it comes down to personal preference and which will store better in your freezer. All you need to do is place the liver into the bag or container and seal it.
If you choose to use a bag you should squeeze all excess air out before sealing. You can then label it with the date of storage and place it in the freezer for future use.
How to defrost liver
It only takes a couple of hours for the liver to freeze thoroughly. But once frozen the shelf life of the liver will be extended by up to 6 months. Like with everything you can freeze, you should try and consume it as soon as possible for the best quality.
It is really easy to defrost the liver, and you have a couple of options to choose between. You should pick the one that works best for you, but be aware that certain methods will give better results than others.
The main way that people defrost liver is common with a variety of foods you can freeze. All you have to do is take the container or bag holding the liver out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. This method gives the best results as the liver is allowed to thaw slowly, and can gradually get used to warmer temperatures than the freezer.
You should leave the liver to defrost overnight, then by morning, the food will be ready to cook in your desired method and enjoy.
If you don’t want to wait overnight, there is another method you can use which will speed up the defrost time. To do this, you should fill a bowl with tepid tap water, ensuring the water is not too hot but not too cold either.
You should then submerge the bag/container of liver in the water and leave it for up to 6 hours. This method still takes a while to defrost the liver but it is considerably quicker than the fridge method.
Things to consider
Similarly to everything that you can freeze there are some things you should consider before you decide to freeze liver.
The main one being whether you freeze the liver whole or in portions. This will matter more depending on the animal the liver comes from. If you are freezing chicken liver you may choose to freeze it whole as it is not that large, but beef liver is considerably bigger so it might be more appropriate to portion it.
It is simple to portion liver, all you need to do is cut it up as you would if you were going to cook the liver, then divide it between separate containers or freezer bags. That way you can simply take one container out of the freezer when you want a portion and reduce waste significantly.
You should also consider the fact that freezing does not prolong the life of meat which is already on the turn. It is important that the meat you freeze is still healthy and good to eat, as freezing will not make gone off meat fresh. It will prevent bacteria growth during the time it is in the freezer, but it will not kill any bacteria that were already on the meat.
Freezing should only be used as a way to prolong the shelf life of meat if the meat is safe to eat.
So the answer is yes, you can freeze liver. In fact, freezing liver is a very easy and simple way to prolong the shelf life of meat which may not be enjoyed by everyone in your household.
By freezing your leftovers you can make one packet of liver last a lot longer, especially if you are the only person in your house eating it.