Winner Winner Chicken Liver
Just like cereal boxes sometimes have prizes inside, the whole chicken in your refrigerator may also have prizes inside. The prizes inside whole poultry are the giblets, which do not look similar to wings or other raw poultry items, but they still require the same safe food handling practices to prevent foodborne illness.
What are Giblets
Giblets are the heart, liver, and gizzard of poultry carcasses and they can be packaged in a bag placed in the abdominal cavity of whole poultry. However, giblets may be purchased separately as livers, hearts, gizzards, or a combination thereof. For any poultry product, check for the “Inspected for Wholesomeness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture” seal to ensure the bird and giblets are free from visible signs of disease. Raw giblets should be cooked within one to two days when stored in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below, or within three to four months when frozen at 0 °F or below.
Giblets in Foods
Giblets are a great way to add extra flavor to your family’s meals but they can also cause foodborne illness if not properly handled. Some of the food items that giblets can be used for include gravy, stock, pâté, or fried livers. Regardless of how you prepare giblets, make sure to keep these raw items separate from cooked meat and poultry as well as fruits and vegetables.
Chicken Liver Pâté
Pâté is a spreadable meat paste made from cooked meats mixed with various seasonings. Chicken liver pâté can be made at home or purchased from retailers. When preparing liver pâté at home DO NOT use the color of the meat as a measure of doneness. To ensure harmful bacteria are destroyed when preparing pate, the livers should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 °F as measured by a food thermometer. After cooking the livers and blending, the pate should be refrigerated promptly to a temperature of 40 °F or below.
When ordering liver pâté from restaurants, or purchasing at retailers, ask how the product was prepared, specifically if a food thermometer was used to ensure the poultry livers were cooked to 165 °F. Asking a chef about how they prepare a food item is also a great way to learn interesting information about the foods you eat.
Fried giblets are a comfort food for many individuals. If you use a skillet to fry giblets, do not fill oil more than 2 inches from the top of the skillet; this will allow space for the oil to rise. Use a deep frying thermometer to verify the oil remains at 350 °F during cooking. During frying, ensure the giblets are not overcrowded to ensure proper cooking. To check the internal temperature of the giblets, remove giblets from oil and place on a clean plate covered with paper towels. Next use a food thermometer to take the temperature of multiple giblets to verify they are cooked to at least 165 °F.
All cooked giblets, including pâté, should be refrigerated promptly and never left above 40 °F for more than two hours, or one hour if the temperature is more than 90 °F. Leftover giblets that have been refrigerated should be eaten within three to four days.