What are some of the less popular or unusual organs out there to try other than the well known brain, liver, kidneys, marrow and tongue?
I'm interested in those that we only very rarely hear about, yet would be a regular part of a traditional diet.
Also, bonus points if you can pin point some nutrients that are found in higher amounts only in specific organs and that would have helped caveman obtain his nutrition.
For example, I've read about people reporting mild vitamin C deficiencies on a long term very low carb diet, and it's true that vitamin C is scarce in animal products, but the thymus gland is actually pretty high in vitamin C.
Any others like that? Could we get our iodine by eating thyroid glands? More testosterone by eating testes?
I think offal should rhyme with a lot more than just liver and marrow, yet it seems to be getting harder and harder to get all the organs because of regulations.
Pancreas. Good source of arachidonic acid: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachidonic_acid
Anthony Bourdain likes pancreas, and I'm kinda curious about it, but I haven't been able to find it yet. I agree, it's a bit of trouble to get the "nasty bits" of animals, as AB calls them. I prowl around butcher shops regularly and as a result have tried all kinds of new goodies: blood sausage, venison sausage, beef heart, beef liver, beef tongue, lamb kidney, duck eggs, bone marrow- the list is growing. I NEVER would have eaten those things before going paleo- (I used to prowl around bakeries!) but now I'll try just about anything. Next summer I plan to cook a whole pig in my back yard. Screw baking bread!
Well, you mention them in your body text, but sweetbreads (thymus gland + pancreas) are amazingly delicious and definitely my favorite piece of offal in terms of flavor. They also happen to be a decent source of phosphorus and B12 in addition to vitamin C.
Tripe is also high in B12 and a number of minerals (selenium, calcium, zinc), but the texture takes some getting used to. Tripe has the distinguished characteristic of being the only food I straight-up dislike eating.
I like chitterlings (chitlins) and they are high in selenium, zinc, and iron as well as some other minerals. They are stinky to cook, though!
I tried ox heart the other day. HUGE organ and very tasty. The butcher suggested baked but I ran it through the food processor and used it like ground (minced) meat for patties etc. Delish and very cheap too. Also chicken livers pan fried with onions, butter, garlic etc and put through the processor make lovely pate. Also if you're adventurous you can make brawn,(jellied pigs head).