What Are Sweetbreads?

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What Are Sweetbreads? Learn what sweetbreads are, which might surprise you, where they come from, and more!

Perhaps the first time you heard of sweetbreads, you may have confused them with the term sweet breads. Sweetbreads, all one word, refers to something that is neither bread, nor sweet. Sweet breads, two words refers to exactly what the name describes. A type of bread that is sweet.

What Are Sweetbreads?

If sweetbreads are not actual bread, what are they? The term refers to a type of meat that often comes from thymus gland and pancreas of calves. You can also find sweetbreads from lambs and pigs as well.

To find sweetbreads that taste the best, you will want to look for one that is lighter in color. This means that the animal was younger and that the meat should taste more tender. It is also beneficial if the calve was milk fed, this will help to improve the taste. If you are trying to decide between the pancreas gland, located near the heart, or the thymus throat gland, go for the pancreas gland. This portion is known to have a more delicate flavor and smoother texture than the thymus gland.

What To Look For While Shopping

A few of the things you will want to pay attention to when picking out your sweetbread are:

  1. Be sure that its color is still white as snow
  2. When you touch it, the meat should feel firm and fleshy

When you get home from the store and start to prepare it, you will want to rinse it off several times in acidulated water before using. Do not store for more than 24 hours in your refrigerator. To prepare it, blanch it, then refresh in cold water and allow to cool before cooking. To cook you can braise, sauté, fry, poach, broil or even add into a soufflé’s. However you desire to cook it.

What Are Sweetbreads? There are many misconceptions about what sweetbreads are, from actual bread, to calves brains to its testicles, none of these are accurate. This meat can be from calves, lambs and pigs, and are actually the animals thymus gland or pancreas. Keep in mind, the younger the animal, the better it will taste.

Have you ever tried sweetbreads? What is your favorite way to prepare them?

Try this delicious recipe for Carrot Mint Salad. Also learn how to How To Seed A Chile Pepper.

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