Last Updated on January 12, 2023 by The Rabbit Smarties Team
It surprises me –and also hurts a little bit — how many people that raise rabbits for meat say they have never tried the liver. Liver is the superhero of meat. It has far more vitamins and minerals — as well as healthy fats and proteins — packed into each bite than any other portion of a rabbit.
I know that many, especially those who grew up on farms, have childhood nightmares of having to choke down cold crumbly chunks of metallic-tasting beef liver — so I won’t awaken them.
If that’s you, pretend you’ve never had liver before. Call it something else — call it a body-building vitamin bomb. Call it coney. Call it whatever you need to to give it a totally fresh chance. Mild, firm, savory and delicate: you’ve never tasted anything like rabbit liver before.
What does rabbit liver taste like?
If properly prepared, rabbit liver has a flavor so delicate you’d never believe it came from your own kitchen. Its flavor pairs well with savory ingredients like onions, garlic, white wine, and cream. Its texture is also delicate: soft but not squishy, mushy, or crumbly.
What are the nutritional benefits of eating rabbit liver?
All organ meat is super high in nutrients, which is why it’s making a comeback in the American diet. Rabbit liver is an excellent source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
All of these nutrients are important for maintaining good health, but some stand out as being particularly important for certain groups of people. For example, pregnant women need to make sure they get enough folate to prevent birth defects, and people with anemia (including pregnancy anemia) need to make sure they get enough iron. Rabbit liver is a great way to get these nutrients into your diet.
In addition to being a good source of vitamins and minerals, rabbit liver is also a good source of protein. One ounce of rabbit liver contains 7 grams of protein, making it a great option for people who are trying to add more protein to their diets.
Where do you buy rabbit liver?
You can order frozen rabbit liver online – often in 1 or 5 pound packages. You’ll find rabbit organs sold for animal consumption and for human consumption — so make sure the product is inspected and safe for people to eat. If you order online, it costs about $9 per pound for dogs and $15 per pound for humans.
It may not cost much less if you find it locally, but there’s nothing like that fresh, never-been-frozen flavor and texture. Ask on local farm groups and make friends with a farmer who raises rabbits. Ask them to share liver with you from their next harvest. Then take a minute to chat with them about how to raise rabbits for meat. As food prices rise and people seek ways to eat locally, you may want to try breeding meat rabbits yourself!
You can also find rabbit liver at some specialty butcher shops. It’s best to call ahead and ask.
Which rabbit organs are edible?
Breeders that raise rabbits for meat typically consume the liver, heart, and kidneys. Those who feed rabbits to their dogs or cats as part of a raw diet will feed additional organs such as lungs or brain, or sometimes give the dog the carcass whole, simulating a natural predatory environment.
How do you tell if a rabbit liver is healthy?
The liver is the large, deep reddish purple organ located just below the lungs and ribcage. There are two lobes to a rabbit liver.
If you are raising your own meat rabbits, only eat liver if it is clean and looks healthy.
Rabbit livers should be dark in color, but not black. They should not have any yellow spots or marbled color. If you see signs of disease, don’t eat it. A healthy liver is a good sign that the rabbit was in general good health at time of processing.
Remove the gall bladder and clean the liver
If you are processing your own meat rabbits, make sure to find and remove the dark green gall bladder from the liver before cleaning, storing, or cooking it. Remove this small organ very carefully by the duct that connects it to the liver. Don’t puncture it with your knife! A gall bladder tastes terrible — as I’m sure you can imagine– and will ruin the flavor of the rest of the meat if punctured.
Even if you purchased livers from a store, you might want to inspect them for a gall bladder that was missed by the butcher. It’s not something you’ll want to taste even once.
How do you cook rabbit liver?
Gourmet chefs prize rabbit liver for pate, but I prefer to slice it thin and sauté it. It has a very palatable texture on its own.
Recipe for sauteed fresh rabbit liver and kidneys
- 6 oz fresh rabbit liver, sliced
- heart and kidneys, halved (optional)
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small thin-sliced white or Spanish onions
- 6 to 8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Season the liver slices with salt and white pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion slices and sauté for 2 minutes until slightly softened. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes until tender. Add the rabbit liver and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned. Don’t overcook it! Liver will dry out quickly if overcooked. Serve immediately.
Rabbit Liver Nutrition Facts
Rabbit liver is an excellent source of nutrition. It is high in protein and low in fat, making it a good choice for those who are looking to improve their health. Rabbit liver is also a good source of iron, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood cells.
Is rabbit liver good for dogs?
Yes, rabbit liver is good for dogs. Organ meats are packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that are essential to a dog’s diet. Raw food experts believe that feeding your dog a variety of organs is critical to achieving their full health and performance.
You can feed your dogs and cats the offal such as rabbit lung, kidney, heart, and liver. Just remember that these organs (especially the kidneys) are relatively high in fat content.
Rabbit fat (suet) is beneficial for dogs in small amounts, especially if the rabbits were raised on alfalfa or grass. The higher ratio of omega-3s in grass-fed rabbit organs will help lower inflammation in your dog’s body and may give his coat an extra gloss. Don’t overdo it, though. Experts recommend that a dog’s diet be only about 10-15% fat.
How much rabbit liver should you feed your dog?
It’s generally wise to include organ meats in your diet in a similar ratio to which they are found in a whole animal. This rule applies to your dog, also. For example, if a dressed rabbit carcass contains 5% organ meat, the dog’s diet should not contain more than 5% organ meat.
Offal is super high in iron and fat-soluble vitamins (especially vitamin A) that will be stored in the body and can reach toxic levels if consumed in excess.
Some people mix tiny amounts of liver into their dog’s everyday diet, and some save it for treats.
Try it yourself, first!
But please, I beg you, don’t feed it to your dogs just on the assumption that you won’t want to eat it yourself. Give it a try at least once. If you’re like me, you’ll be amazed at how delicious it is and won’t want to save any for the dog.