Lungs are a vital organ for breathing and are an essential part of the respiratory system in humans and animals.
But did you know that ash-colored, spongy lungs are also eaten worldwide?
Despite being edible, consuming lungs may not sit well with everyone.
In this article, we explore the taste of lung and if lung is a palatable food.
What is Lung?
Lung is an organ found in most vertebrates. It is the primary organ used for respiration in animals, including humans.
It is a soft, spongy tissue that helps in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide during breathing. Lungs are fragile and are susceptible to various diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema due to long-term exposure to harmful substances like tobacco smoke and air pollution.
However, in many cultures worldwide, lungs are also considered a delicacy and are used in various dishes.
For instance, in Germany, lung is a popular component in their traditional hearty soup known as Leberknödel suppe. In Italy, they are a part of the dish called Fior di Nonno, consisting of lamb lungs seasoned with spices, parsley, and lemon.
In the United States, it might come as a surprise, but lamb lungs are used in some cuisines.
What Does Lung Taste Like?
Lungs have a unique taste and texture that is different from other organs. To describe the taste of lung, you would use words such as irony, metallic, and gamey. The metallic flavor of lung can be attributed to the presence of blood in the tissue.
When cooked, the hemoglobin in the blood gives lungs a slightly metallic aftertaste. Some people say that raw lung has a strong, unpleasant odor, but once cooked, the smell disappears. Others describe the flavor as meaty and earthy.
If using lungs in dishes, it is best to combine them with strongly flavored herbs and spices to balance the taste. The texture of lung is soft and spongy, and one can feel the alveoli when biting into it. It is for this reason that most dishes containing lung require it to be sliced thinly or minced.
Is Lung a Palatable Food?
Lung is edible, but it is not a food that is to everyone’s taste. Some people may find it repulsive because of its unique taste and the fact that it is an organ. However, to those who enjoy it, it has several benefits.
In many cultures worldwide, consuming lung is considered good for health. Interestingly, there are several health benefits that lungs can provide. Lungs are rich in nutrients like iron, protein, zinc, and vitamin B12. They are low in fat, making them an ideal food for those looking to lose weight. Lungs can also aid in reducing blood clotting and lower cholesterol levels, thus improving heart health.
While there are many advantages to consuming lung, there are also risks that come along with it. Lungs are organs that absorb oxygen, but they can also absorb harmful substances such as germs, bacteria, and toxins. It is for this reason that consuming undercooked, raw, or contaminated lung dishes can lead to respiratory diseases, food poisoning, and even death.
How to Cook and Prepare Lungs?
Most people shy away from cooking lung because they are not sure how to cook it correctly. But cooking lungs is not that difficult, and with the right recipes and techniques, you can create delicious dishes. Here are some tips to make your lung dish even more palatable.
Cleaning and Preparing Lung
Before cooking, lungs must be thoroughly cleaned and prepared. Lungs are delicate, and excess tissue needs to be removed before cooking. Here is how to do it:
- Rinse the lungs several times under cold water.
- Remove any excess fat, blood vessels, and connective tissue.
- Cut the lungs into large pieces or thin slices.
Boiling is the most common method used to cook lungs, and it is the healthiest way to consume them. Here is how to do it:
- Place the lungs in boiling water and add herbs and spices like garlic, parsley, and onion.
- Reduce the heat and let the lungs simmer for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes or until they are tender.
- Remove them from heat, let them cool, and then slice the lungs into thin pieces.
Pan-Frying or Grilling
Pan-frying or grilling lung is another popular method. Cutting thin slices of lung and grilling them is an excellent way to retain its flavor and texture.
- Marinate the sliced lung in a spice rub or marinade of your choice.
- Heat a non-stick pan and add cooking oil of your choice.
- Fry the slices until they are golden brown on each side.
Combining with Other Ingredients
Lungs are best used with strongly flavored ingredients like herbs and spices to balance their taste. Common herbs and spices used with lungs include rosemary, thyme, parsley, ginger, and garlic. Additionally, lungs are best used in dishes that require a long cooking time or with strong flavors that can mask their taste.
Lung is an edible organ that is found to be a delicacy in many cultures worldwide. They have a unique taste and texture, and while not to everyone’s taste, they do have many health benefits. Cooked lung is a better option compared to raw lung, not only in flavor but also in reducing the possibility of food-borne illnesses. With the right recipe and cooking techniques, lung dishes can turn into a palatable experience.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.