Did you know that tripe is the unofficial national dish of Florence, the capital city of the Tuscany region? A lot of people know it by other names, some have tried it before but cannot describe what they just had. Tripe is meat; a popular kind of meat which is consumed in every part of the world. But due to where it comes from, some people may find it repulsive.
Tripe is the cooked stomach lining of farm animals. It is usually softer than muscles, so it is a very good choice of meat. Tripe usually comes from cows, but you can also get it from goats, lambs, pigs, and other farm animals. Tripe can be found in different cuisines around the world, but it is not very well liked in the United States.
What does tripe taste like? The taste of tripe can be likened to that of the liver. Depending on how it is cooked and who does the cooking, tripe has the potential to be very tasty. Tripe takes on the taste and flavor of the spices and sauces in which it is cooked. In terms of texture, tripe can be a bit chewy or spongy, but it is usually very tender.
Tripe doesn’t have many fans because of where it comes from. The thought of eating the food processing part of an animal just doesn’t sit well with many. But if you can find the courage to try it, the taste will have you coming back for more, and it holds some nutritional benefits too.
Nutritional Benefits of Tripe
Tripe has quite a lot of nutritional benefits, most notably, it has a low-calorie count. For every 3 ounces of tripe you eat, you only have consumed 80 calories. Tripe is also a good source of protein. Protein plays a huge role in tissue and muscle building in the body. It also helps you feel more satisfied.
Tripe is packed with vitamin B12, a bit of fat, iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The amount of fat in tripe is very low; an equal amount of steak has five times more fat. Tripe generally has more vitamins and nutrients than the fleshy part of the meat. Tripe also increases libido.
Tripe comes with a drawback, it has a relatively high amount of cholesterol. In a 5-ounce serving of tripe, you get about 220 mg of cholesterol; which is 75% of the recommended daily intake for cholesterol. If you are considered to be a cholesterol hyper-responder, which means that you are more affected by high-cholesterol foods, it would be best to refrain from having too much tripe.
Culinary Uses of Tripe
Tripe is used in the popular French Andouille, a coarsely grounded sausage that is made with a mix of pig intestine and tripe. It is usually gray. Tripe can be found in dishes other than sausages.
It can be used in soups or stews. One example is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, Pho. Sometimes the recipe includes beef tripe. There is also a Spanish tripe stew called Callos that is made with chickpeas and chorizo. Trippa alla romana is an Italian trip dish that contains grated Parmesan and tomato sauce. Tripe can also be fried to a crisp and enjoyed like snacks.
Tripe needs to be cooked for long periods before it is ready to be consumed. It needs to be cooked for about two to three hours before it is ready. Tripe is usually sold pre-cooked for many customers, so it is easily integrated into some of these traditional tripe dishes mentioned above.
Before tripe can be used in dishes, it needs to be properly cleaned, and that cleaning process is often called dressing. Tripe is usually bleached with chlorine to get it as clean as possible. Just in case you get an unbleached tripe, all you need to do is remove the unwanted fats attached to the main tripe. Then go on to scrape the body using a knife after washing it with salt.
Bleached tripe can sometimes be unpleasant to eat because the taste of the bleach might remain even after cooking the tripe. Rinsing bleached tripe continuously in water, soaking it overnight, and parboiling it before cooking can help get rid of the bleach.
Where Does Tripe Come From?
Tripe comes from the inner stomach of farm animals. Goats, ox, pigs, and even sheep. The most desirable tripe comes from cows. Tripe from different animals goes by different names. For example, in pigs, it is called pig paunch or hog maw.
There are different kinds of beef tripe; each one comes from the four layers of the stomach of the cow. In the first stomach, you get the blanket tripe, in the second, the honeycomb tripe (it is called honeycomb tripe because its patterns resemble the honeycomb), the third is called the bible tripe, and the last one is called the abomasum tripe.
Tripe goes by different names in many regions of the world, and various people have several ways of extracting it.
Why Does Tripe Smell So Bad?
Tripe’s odor can be bad at times, but the odor is highly dependent on the cow’s diet. Many people have different opinions about how tripe smells. Some people say it smells like wet hay or dirt, while others argue that it smells like grass. The scent of tripe can also be affected by how fresh the beef is. If it has been left in the fridge or freezer for too long, it will smell bad.
Facts You Don’t Know About Tripe
- Tripe can be used in sandwiches.
- Tripe has been used as a term of abuse for people or things since the 16th century.
- October 24 has been set aside as a day to celebrate tripe.