DIY Food

Liver, love it or loathe it

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents - Words Kristina Jensen

Yel­low can be too bold for some gar­den­ers in the height of sum­mer, but in au­tumn it is de­light­ful.

Gold­en­rod ( Sol­idago sp) is named for its slen­der, up­right rods adorned with feath­ery, golden-yel­low flow­ers. The tall, weedy, orig­i­nal species ( Sol­idago canaden­sis) can be in­va­sive and should be avoided.

But the many at­trac­tive, com­pact hy­brids are gor­geous when teamed with blue-pur­ple flow­ers and grasses. I love Golden Baby (60cm) and Lit­tle Le­mon (30-45cm). For a taller op­tion, try Fire­works (80-100cm). H. au­tum­nale Mo­er­heim Beauty is a beau­ti­ful bronze-red, to 1m.

He­le­nium sp are Amer­i­can wild­flow­ers that grow to 1m and flower dur­ing late sum­mer and early au­tumn. The daisy-like flow­ers have dis­tinc­tive spher­i­cal cen­tres sur­rounded by grace­fully droop­ing petals in brown­ish-yel­low to ma­hogany shades, some­times frilled. They are great for ar­rang­ments.

Flow­er­ing will con­tinue into late sum­mer, even au­tumn if spent flow­ers are clipped. He­le­ni­ums pre­fer rich, fer­tile soils, don’t like to be too dry, and will grow in light shade.

The daisy-like flow­ers have grace­fully-droop­ing petals.

Ilove eat­ing liver. I'm mar­ried to a man who loves it too.

None of our chil­dren will touch it. Danes love eat­ing lev­er­postej, or liver paste, giv­ing me a con­nec­tion through my Dan­ish her­itage,

But I have con­cluded that the love of eat­ing liver is not ge­netic.

It's wrapped up in emo­tion for me. When I was young, I stayed with my ma­ter­nal grand­mother a lot. Her name was Alice, but I called her Gar.

Our favourite break­fast was sheep brain frit­ters and liver, fried up by Gar in an an­cient cast iron pan, on the wood stove in her pokey lit­tle kitchen in Nga­hape, in the mid­dle of the Waikato.

I read some­where that a child should have at least one adult in their life who adores them. Gar was the one for me. She died when I was seven years old and I've never eaten sheep brain frit­ters again.

But when I eat liver, mem­o­ries of my pre­cious days with her come flood­ing back.

Maybe a love of liver also comes down to ex­po­sure? Liver was a fre­quent in­gre­di­ent in a break­fast fry-up in my fam­ily when I was grow­ing up. We of­ten had shop-bought paté in the fridge and I ate it by the spoon­ful when Mum wasn't look­ing.

Veni­son liv­ers are not hard to get in Marl­bor­ough Sounds. When we hunt and bag a deer, I am very quick to re­trieve its liver. I am a firm believer in us­ing all of an an­i­mal. I carve off all the tasty cuts, strip the car­cass for sausage and salami, boil up the bones for broth, and bury the hide in the veg­etable gar­den where it feeds the soil. The liver gets made into paté.

The liver is an im­por­tant or­gan for ev­ery ver­te­brate in the world. The Greeks and Ro­mans con­sid­ered it to be the seat of life and our pas­sions, and the clos­est or­gan to di­vine pres­ence.

To­day, we know the liver is re­spon­si­ble for per­form­ing over 500 dif­fer­ent vi­tal func­tions: it helps blood to clot, fights in­fec­tions, and man­u­fac­tures hor­mones and pro­teins. At any time, your liver con­tains 10 per cent of the blood in your body. It's busy too, fil­ter­ing around 1.5 litres of blood ev­ery minute.

Liver as a food is one of the most abun­dant sources of vi­ta­mins A, B12, and iron. If you are butcher­ing an an­i­mal, it's im­por­tant to know that any drench or med­i­ca­tions have cleared its sys­tem be­fore you kill and process it. Instructions for both will make a note of any with­hold­ing pe­ri­ods, typ­i­cally 30 days.

Al­ter­na­tively, you may choose what I do and use only the liv­ers of wild or or­ganic an­i­mals.

Gold­en­rod.

He­le­nium.

He­le­nium. He­le­nium.

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