The Colorful Red Flag You Should Look For When Buying Chicken Livers

Chicken livers are one of many parts of the chicken that people throw away when they buy a whole bird from the supermarket. And if you've only ever encountered them in those small bags full of giblets, chances are you don't know the telltale signs of quality since they tend to end up in the garbage anyway. If you are curious about these misunderstood morsels, there is one major red flag to look for, whether you're buying them in batches or taking them from whole chickens.

Ironically, that red flag has to do with the color green. Normal chicken livers have a natural color ranging from tan-red to mahogany, so spotting patches of green on them is a clear indication that something isn't right. The main culprit for green chicken livers is a neighboring organ — the gallbladder. According to the USDA, the gallbladder sometimes leaks bile onto the liver, which is an important component of digestion but not very pleasant to eat due to its extreme bitterness. The most common cause of this is mishandling of the giblets during processing, but luckily, this doesn't mean you have to discard the whole chicken, or even the whole batch of livers. Simply remove the green bits that you find, and cook the livers as normal.

The best ways to eat chicken livers

If you're not into eating chicken livers, you either have gout, don't eat meat, or you've never eaten them in a properly delicious dish. One of the best ways to eat chicken liver is via the Japanese style of skewered chicken known as yakitori. Yakitori chefs are known for using every edible bit a chicken has to offer, and liver is one of the most popular skewers you'll find. Grilled over charcoal and seasoned liberally with salt, yakitori liver lets diners appreciate the meat's unique taste and texture in perfectly cooked bites. They're great when paired with an ice-cold beer, which could be a helpful sell for those reluctant to eat them on their own.

Another great way to eat chicken livers for those more used to American flavors is to give them the classic deep-fried treatment. Everyone loves chicken tenders and chicken nuggets, so deep frying chicken livers in the same style is a great way to ease yourself (and others) into enjoying them. The natural flavor of the livers may get lost a bit, especially if dipping sauces get involved, but their uniquely firm texture will be front and center. Forget liver and onions — these dishes will make a convert out of even the most judgmental eaters. It's time to bring livers out of the shadows of infamy and into the light of deliciousness. Eat your giblets, people!