What are chicken gizzards? This question has plagued several individuals throughout the years as most people usually just eat the white and dark meat portions of a chicken. Learning more about chicken gizzards may provide you with a couple of new recipes and an appreciation for this organ’s high nutritional value.
What Are Chicken Gizzards?
If you’ve ever watched chickens roam around the ground, you’ll notice that they bob their heads down periodically. This pecking action makes it seem like they are searching for something to eat. However, this notion is wrong.
They are actually picking up and ingesting tiny portions of gravel and grit. These particles end up traveling through their digestive system until they reach the gizzard, which is one of their organs.
When a chicken eats food and it moves through its system, it will eventually reach its gizzard. At this point, their gizzard begins to contract like a tiny trash compactor. Combining the pulsations of the gizzard with accumulated grit and food acts as a grinding mechanism. Once an optimal consistency is reached, the food is transported to the stomach for further digestion.
How Do Chicken Gizzards Taste?
Chicken gizzards come with a taste that is similar to dark chicken meat. When they are fried, you can eat them in one or two bites as you’ll discover if you decide to try this tender fried chicken gizzard recipe. However, they usually are a little tougher and chewier in texture than chicken meat. Cooking them at a low heat slowly in a crockpot is another excellent method.
Cooking chicken gizzards on low heat for an extended period will help break down the connective tissue that makes them stretchy and rubbery. You don’t want to make a mistake of throwing this edible into a hot frying pan as it will immediately turn your gizzards into hard, rocklike balls.
Giving the connective tissues time to relax is the best method to use. This can be done in a crockpot or oven. If you don’t have a crockpot, you will want to cook them slowly in the oven at around 180°F. Braising them will help make the connective tissues relax.
After letting your chicken gizzards braise this way for a couple of hours, their connective tissue should soften into a gelatin-like texture. At this point, they’re ready to serve. Crockpots really do work best for this if you have one.
Where Can You Buy Chicken Gizzards?
If you have a local butcher in your city that you frequent for your beef, pork and chicken products, they may have chicken gizzards available for you to purchase. In some cases, you’ll also find them at your local grocery store. It never hurts to ask someone in the meat department to see if it’s a regular item that they sell.
One factor you’ll need to consider when purchasing chicken gizzards is if they have been thoroughly cleaned. You already know that chickens fill this organ with tiny stones to help with digestion. It won’t taste very good if you decide to use them in a recipe when they haven’t been cleaned.
When you’re able to find fresh gizzards at the market or from your butcher, it’s essential to get them home as quickly as possible and put them in the refrigerator. This urgency to keep them cool means that they should be stored in a refrigerated compartment at the store when you initially purchase them.
Storing Your Chicken Gizzards Correctly
One of the best ways to store chicken gizzards is by placing them in a plastic bag. This type of container works great at stopping leakage, which is something you definitely don’t want. It could contaminate other foods in your fridge if it comes in contact with them. Setting the temperature on your refrigerator to 40°F or below is optimal.
You’ll want to use your gizzards within a few days, or they’ll spoil. Another option is to stick them in the freezer. This storage can be done indefinitely, but if you want the best quality and taste, you’ll probably want to use them within a period of four months. By planning accordingly, you should be able to use them right away, which is going to be your best option.
Are Chicken Gizzards Healthy?
Adding chicken meat to your diet can be a healthy way to increase your daily intake of protein. Eating the gizzards of a chicken is another way to increase the nutritional value of the food you put on your plate. It has an even higher protein value than regular white or dark meat. This extra boost in protein makes it easy to satisfy your daily recommended dose.
It only takes a little over 1 cup of gizzard to receive 100 percent of the recommended level you should get each day. Incorporating chicken gizzards into your diet after you have had surgery and need to heal muscle tissues may be highly beneficial. Protein breakdown in your body creates amino acids, which are useful for tissue and muscle development
Gizzards have a low composition of fat and are high in vitamin B12, zinc, and iron. You’ll find the following nutrients, fats and minerals in each gizzard serving you eat:
– Vitamin B12: This vitamin plays a crucial role in keeping your energy level high. It can aid in providing better cell metabolism as well as brain function. You’ll get about 20 percent of the recommended daily value of this vitamin when you consume a 3.5 ounce serving of gizzards, which is about 100 g and slightly under 95 calories. Vitamin B-12 is necessary for the proper formation of red blood cells and helps promote nerve tissue health.
– Fat Composition: You will only find 2 g of fat in a 3.5 ounce serving of chicken gizzards, with a very low amount of saturated fat at 0.5 g. This low level of saturated fat is important as it can be unhealthy to consume too much of this if you have certain types of underlying medical conditions.
– Cholesterol: Limiting the amount of cholesterol you intake is recommended as your body already has the capacity to create cholesterol. One serving of chicken gizzards contains close to 236 mg.
Are Chicken Gizzards Healthy for Your Dog to Eat?
Taking care of a dog means you want to give it the best food possible so that it can live a healthy life. When it comes to feeding a dog chicken gizzards, it’s okay to do. However, you want to limit their intake.
While the high levels of vitamin B12, protein and minerals such as zinc and iron are beneficial to your dog, they do contain a higher amount of cholesterol than is optimal for your pet.
Veterinarians recommend that your dog receives only up to a maximum of 20 percent of its daily diet in chicken gizzards. This organ does contain high amounts of glucosamine. This substance can help relieve the achiness of your pet’s joints and cartilage when consumed. Chicken gizzards. You may want to try preparing chicken gizzards this way to feed your dog.
Should Cats Eat Chicken Gizzards?
If you are a cat lover, you may want to know if it’s okay to feed your furry feline this organ. Similar to dogs, it’s good for cats to eat chicken gizzards as long as they don’t go overboard. A recommended ratio is about 5 to 10 percent of their diet, which is just a useful guideline and an approximate amount.
Realistically, it’s going to be challenging to feed them too much as raw gizzards are extremely tough and difficult for them to chew. In nature, your cat would be eating a carnivorous diet, which means they require nutrition from meat sources.
Their system is designed to digest grains or vegetables. Feeding them raw chicken gizzards is probably one of the best meals you can prepare.
What is the Different Between Gizzards and Giblets?
The term “giblets” refers to the various organs you’ll find inside of a chicken. These will usually include the neck, kidneys, heart and liver. You can also include gizzards in this category as a gizzard is an organ. This means that a gizzard will always be a giblet. However, giblets do not have to be this specific organ.
You’ll usually find giblets included with the turkey you cook for Thanksgiving. Using the giblets can provide you with tasty gravy or stuffing. These other poultry organs are also good to eat by themselves when you have a recipe to follow. You might want to try cooking chicken liver with onions if you’re looking for something different.
Answering the question “What are chicken gizzards?” may open up a new realm of possibilities for you. If you’re adventurous, you can try a new recipe. If you’ve got pets, you can boost the nutritional value of the food they eat by serving them chicken gizzards. Being armed with more knowledge can help you make the right choice easier and efficiently.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.