Saturday, December 11, 2010

Buying Nutrients by the Pound

There's a food group that seems to be getting some much deserved love. It's inexpensive, full of nutrients, all natural, it's been eaten for millennia, and it's easy to prepare. It's variety meat--liver, oxtail, and various organ meats. (The downside is that some of these are an acquired taste.)

Vitamin Cottage was out of beef liver today, so I went to Denver Urban Homesteaders. Bill Flentje at the Ranch Direct Foods counter said he's been selling cuts that are normally unpopular, like the oxtail and liver I bought. (Salmon was selling well, too, and someone bought five pounds of liverwurst.) But the t-bone steaks weren't moving.

Are people buying nutrients by the pound? I don't know, but check the vitamin and mineral content of beef liver here (set the serving size to 100g). (Notice you'd have to eat seven cups of spinach to get that much iron.) Now look at the nutrients in a t-bone (set the serving size to 100 grams to compare). It doesn't even come close to liver on iron and B vitamins. And for any lipophobes out there, liver has little fat, and only 1 gram of saturated fat in a 100-gram serving.

I couldn't find nutritional data on oxtail, but a large part of the portions are bone and marrow. Since calcium and magnesium are stored mostly in the bone, it seems likely that this cut would have a lot of those minerals.

The cost of the different cuts, according to my receipt and the Ranch Foods Direct web site:
Calf liver: $2.69 per pound
Oxtail: $3.99 per pound
T-bone: $15.69 per pound.

I'll let readers decide whether it's worth their while to develop a taste for liver and oxtail. (Hint: cook liver at a low temperature in butter--don't overcook it.)

UPDATE: I found information on oxtail here. It's higher in protein, calcium and iron than t-bone, lower in fat and has no saturated fat. In most other respects, its nutrition is similar to the t-bone.


Anonymous said...

Oxtail is low fat? I've eaten my share of oxtail (my husband makes delicious stock of it + vegetables) and let me tell you - it has A LOT of fat ... I find it hard to believe that it is lower in fat than t-bone. Maybe pound for pound as oxtail has a lot of bones ... but if you compare edible/soft weight the oxtail have more fat and gelatinous stuff (which is supposed to be very good for joint health).

BTW - the iron from animal meats are easier for the body to utilize compared to iron from vegetable sources.

And - if you find calf liver hard to stomach then the chicken liver is easier.

Lori Miller said...

Oxtail seems fatty to me, too. Since I haven't eaten a t-bone in decades, I'll have to take the word of others for comparison.