Making turkey gravy - the recipe says to not use the liver. How can I identify the liver from the magical bag of turkey bits?

I ended up with 4 things. The first looked like 2 organs connected by some sort of tendon. The 2nd was more firm and sort of bean shaped - a little bigger than the first digit of my thumb. The last 2 looked like they might be the same thing - dark red (I would say "liver colored" but they are all this sort of darkish red color), kind of flat, with tear drop shapes on one end.

Still need to find the neck - I know what that looks like - hopefully it's in this bird somewhere.

2 Answers 2


Here is a great place to go to compare identified inards with what you have.


Personally, when making gravy, I just use the drippings from the turkey, sometimes I throw the neck in for a little extra, if I need to make some more. Call me squimish, but I usually toss the rest, but that's just me.

  • 1
    As that photograph indicates, the liver is (almost always) very dark and smooth.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 1:09
  • Thanks - looks like I have a heart, a gizzard, and 2 livers. I will accept this answer when I am permitted (have to wait a few more minutes). Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 1:09
  • @Ryan Elkins: I always use the heart and neck, but never anything else. Doesn't taste like much. Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 1:39
  • +1 for the website find, but please don't be squeamish about using the giblets! While the turkey is roasting, you can make a quick turkey stock using the neck, heart, and gizzard. The liver can also go into the stock, or -even better- you can chop it fine (soak in milk beforehand if desired) and add it to your dressing/stuffing as a "mystery ingredient*. Given the ratios involved, the stuffing won't taste like liver, but it will taste richer and meatier.
    – Marti
    Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 9:10
  • For me, the liver is the "Cook's Portion". At some time during the day, I'll fry it up with some onions and eat it. Even better when I'm doing duck. Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 17:28

Use them all. I make one gravy (often a jar-name brand is usually best) without the good stuff, and one, again using a jar, with the neck boiled for hours and the rest fried and simmered for the last hour of turkey cooking, minus what I eat. To answer the question, the two soft dark red parts are most likely the liver or if they feel muscularly or hard, it is the heart or kidney.

I love just frying the liver up and eating it, in small portions. Gizzards are good that way as well. At times when I make one batch of gravy I have to separate the lumps and not tell one sibling that those parts were in the gravy. My dad, my boyfriend and I eat the good stuff as a bonus. She never knows.

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