Can You Freeze Liver?

Liver is often sold in supermarkets for quite cheap, but it’s actually a great source of nutrients. Not only a (often) cheap source of protein, liver is also used to make some real delicacies. To answer the question fries, liver can definitely be frozen. 

You’ve probably even seen packages of frozen liver sold, so that must mean it’s possible to freeze liver at home too. And that’s true. 

One thing that makes liver specific and different from meat is its delicate texture. Liver is quite sensitive to thermal processing, so there are some precautions you should definitely take if you want to freeze some livers (we’ll go into that below). 

But for now, let’s just note that when it comes to livers, freezing is certainly the best method of preservation. Just like most animal products, liver should always be kept in the fridge and even then it will not last more than a week. So, if your plans have gone awry or you can’t use up the liver you have, go ahead and freeze it! 

Things to Know Before Freezing Livers 

Yes, liver can be frozen, no question about that, but enjoying delicious livers from the frizer does require some forethought. The first question to address is freezing fresh liver vs already cooked liver. Which is better? Well, it really depends on individual circumstances. 

One thing we can say is that freezing liver raw is definitely a safe option. When you are ready, thaw it and prepare any way you like – you’ll hardly notice the difference. 

However, you will need to wait for the livers to defrost, and then cook them. This does not work for everyone, especially those who want to freeze ready-made meals.  

Well, when it comes to livers, we really don’t recommend cooking or roasting them and then freezing them. If you saute your livers, for example, then freeze them, and thaw them, you’ll need to saute them again to warm them up. However, this will ruin the texture and the flavour of the livers. They will still be safe to eat, but not probably not particularly tasty. 

On the other hand, livers are often used to make pate. Chicken liver pate (see also Freezing Pâté), for example, will freeze amazingly well. You can simply let it thaw in the fridge overnight and enjoy it the next day. So, in that case, we think preparing the pate and then freezing it is a good option. 

In short, both are possible. When in doubt, freeze liver raw. When you have some reason to freeze cooked liver, you can do that too. 

Freezing Livers Step By Step 

Getting livers ready for the freezer is not terribly difficult. From ‘extra’ equipment you’ll need just some paper towels. Otherwise, you’ll need just some freezer-safe (airtight) containers. Here is how to do it: 

1. Preparation 

Before you start, make sure you have a clean working space. You’ll also want to try to work quickly, as keeping livers too long at room temperature could foster bacterial growth. 

Now, you’ll want to try to get any excess moisture out of the livers. Chicken livers, for example, are usually fairly moist when fresh. If there is a lot of liquid, you can try squeezing the livers gently and pouring out any liquid that comes out of them. Then, spread out the livers on paper towels. The paper towels will help absorb the remaining moisture. Leave the livers drying for a couple of minutes and you are ready to freeze. 

2. Portioning and Packing Livers for the Freezer 

You can portion the livers any way you like. The containers you store them in can be small or large. However, keep in mind that all the liver pieces you put into one container will most likely merge into one solid block when frozen. That means you’ll need to thaw everything even if what you need is just half of the pack.

The safest method is always to freeze your livers in single portion sizes separately. Unless, of course, you know you are always cooking for 4 people, for example. In that case, freeze portions as large as you usually use. 

Once you’ve determined the portion sizes, choose an appropriate freezer-safe container. When it comes to rigid containers, you’ll want to leave a bit of airspace, but not too much so choose an appropriate size. You can also use freezer bags of any size. Simply transfer the livers into the bag, close the bag almost to the end, squeeze out the extra air and close the freezer bag completely. 

3. Label and Freeze 

Once you have packaged your livers you are practically ready to freeze them. Still, don’t forget to label the containers. When it comes to any kind of animal product, labelling is especially important. Livers will stay good in the freezer for about 6 months. After that, they will start to degrade in quality so it’s always good to know the date when the livers were put into the freezer. 

Defrosting Liver

The best way to defrost liver (as well as any kind of meat and animal products) is by letting it thaw in the fridge. This will take 8 – 12 hours or even longer, though. The exact timing will depend on the size of the portions you’ve frozen. If you are in a hurry, you could try submerging the whole container containing livers in a large bowl with warm (not hot) water inside. 

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