I’ve been making my own beef liver capsules for six years after teaching myself how to do it (because I am a weirdo like that!), and I wanted to share how I make them with you.
Organ meat (called offal) is an essential staple of a nose-to-tail carnivore diet, especially liver and kidney, which are the most nutrient-dense of the organ meats. Gram for gram, liver is the most nutrient dense food on the planet.
Eating liver gives your body a burst of nutrients it needs to do many of the jobs it needs to do:
- Vitamin A: Important for eye and skin health
- Iron: Important for muscle, brain, and blood health
- B Vitamins: Gives you energy. The B Vitamin folate is especially important for women of childbearing age, and liver is the most dense source.
- Choline: Important for brain health
- Copper: Important for nerve health and immunity
But, many people can’t or won’t eat offal as part of their daily diet, primarily because the taste and texture can be unappealing. In that case, supplementing organ meats in capsule form is an ideal alternative.
Wherever you’re sourcing organ meats, quality and sourcing is of utmost importance.
You have two options: ① buy high quality and properly sourced organ meat capsules, or ② make them yourself.
Buying capsules is of course more convenient, but 6-8 capsules per day can add up quickly in terms of cost.
If you take a lot of organ meat capsules like I do, it might actually be worth it to invest in the equipment to make your own.
Using whole beef liver from the farmer, the process is messy, stinky, and has to be done over a couple days. But if you have the determination, you can make 800-1000 capsules for just the cost of the capsules (around $15) and the liver ($5-10), making a cost per capsule of 2.5 cents―about a tenth of the cost if you buy pre-made capsules, which are more like $0.25 per capsule.
But there’s also a happy medium. If you want to bring the cost down but don’t want to go through the stinky, messy process of dehydrating the liver, you can actually buy grass-fed beef liver powder to make into capsules.
I was really excited when Grassland Nutrition reached out and asked if I would be interested in them sending me some products for me to try, including their freeze dried liver powder to make my own capsules. The benefit of freeze drying is that it retains its nutrients (as opposed to my method of dehydrating, where some of the nutrients are lost due to the heat).
I’ve been making my own organ meat capsules for about six years now, and let me tell you making them from the freeze-dried powder is so. much. easier. I will possibly never go back.
Grassland Nutrition is based out of Australia, and their beef organ products are all top-notch quality, grass-fed and finished. They have a video about the sources of their product on YouTube.
They also sent me these beef liver capsules, one with plain liver and one with added kelp for extra nutrients (seaweed is rich in minerals, especially iodine, which helps support your thyroid). Lastly, they sent these freeze-dried beef kidney snacks, which can be eaten straight, sprinkled over food, or also encapsulated.
They were kind enough to create a discount code for my readers: use the code realfoodcarnivore to get 10% off your order from Grassland Nutrition.
I got to work turning the beef liver powder into capsules, and was able to make about 400 of them, enough to last me two months!
The beef liver powder is $27, so I calculate that the cost is about $0.08 per capsule (including the cost of the empty gelatin capsules).
Given how much work this saves by not having to puree, dehydrate, and pulverize the liver, I think making the capsules from the powder is the best option in terms of balancing cost and effort.
Whether you’re starting with a whole grass-fed beef liver or beef liver powder, here’s how you can make your own beef organ capsules.
If you’re starting with the Grassland Nutrition beef liver powder, you can skip right ahead to Step 3.
Ingredients & Equipment
- Grass-fed beef liver OR grass-fed beef liver powder
- Food processor
- Food dehydrator
- Parchment paper
- Capsule filling machine
- Empty gelatin capsules (same size as the capsule machine; I use size 00)
- High-powered blender (like Vitamix)
Step 1: Dehydrate the Beef Liver
Set up your dehydrator on a table outside somewhere where you can plug it into an outlet. Trust me, you’re not gonna want to do this inside. Use an extension cord if you need to.
Turn the dehydrator on so that it can be preheating while you’re processing the liver. Each dehydrator is going to be a little different, but try setting it around 115 F and working up from there. The lower the temperature, the more nutrients it will retain.
Cut parchment paper to fit the trays of your dehydrator.
In the food processor, puree the liver, working in batches. If you’re working with a single liver, cut it up into 2-3 inch (or so) sized cubes before putting it into the food processor. You don’t want to overfill it or it won’t smoothly pureé, so you may have to do 3-5 batches.
Pour the liver onto the parchment paper- covered trays, about a quarter inch thick. Use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
Slide the trays into the dehydrator. You’ll want to let the dehydrator run for anywhere from 24-48 hours until the liver is completely dry and cracks apart with your hands. If some parts are still bendy, it’s not done yet. You want all the moisture out.
Even if your dehydrator has a timer, set timers for yourself so you don’t forget about it! My dehydrator lets me preset it for up to 10 hours, so before bed I would set it at the maximum of 10 hours and then do the same thing again the next morning, and just keep it going that way.
If it’s been a long time and you’ve still got bendy bits, you can raise the temperature to dry it out the rest of the way.
Step 2: Blend the Dried Liver into a Powder
Once the liver is completely dry, lift it off the parchment paper and over a large bowl, break it into chunks small enough to fit in your blender.
Working in batches, blend the liver until it becomes a powder, and dump it out into a smaller bowl. This is where you really need a high-powered blender, because a blender without enough power or with a dull blade won’t thoroughly blend it into powder consistency. I love my Vitamix for this!
Step 3: Encapsulate the Beef Liver Powder
Almost there! Now that you’ve got your grass-fed beef liver powder, whether you made it yourself or bought it, it’s time to make the actual capsules. It can take a little while, but it’s SO satisfying.
Grab your bag of empty gelatin capsules and your capsule making machine.
There are a lot of parts to it and it can get confusing, so watch this video for how to use the capsule maker to make 100 capsules at a time.
Note: the video shows how to pour the separated capsules into the machine and shake it and so they mostly all fall right side up, but I just separate the capsules by hand and put the bottom and top parts into their respective trays.
Once you’ve made the capsules, you can pour them into a large mason jar and store them!
Can I do this with other kinds of liver?
Yes, you can use any kind of liver! I like grass-fed beef liver because it’s the most nutrient-dense and I can get it directly from my local farmer, but you could also use pastured chicken liver or whatever you can get. Just make sure it’s from a healthy animal.
Since this is raw, do I have to worry about germs or parasites?
Your number one defense against this is getting the liver from a healthy animal from a trusted source, but also, freezing the liver for at least 14 days ahead of time should kill off pathogens. If you want to be extra careful, dehydrate at at least 150 degrees. You’ll have some breakdown of nutrients/enzymes with heat, but you may decide it’s worth it for peace of mind. That’s another reason I like the freeze-dried powder from Grassland Nutrition―I never have to worry about pathogens.
Do I need to refrigerate these?
As long as the liver is thoroughly dehydrated, you shouldn’t; still, I keep my homemade ones in the freezer just to be extra safe. If you’re making them from a freeze-dried powder like the ones from Grassland Nutrition, storing them at room temperature in a dry, dark location is fine.
How many pills should I take each day?
Between 6 and 8. It seems like a lot, but if you think about it, it’s a couple forkfuls of a whole food each day.
Curious about starting the carnivore diet? Check out my Quick Start Guide to Carnivore.