Bison are majestic creatures that have roamed the grasslands of North America for centuries. They are known for their massive size and impressive strength, but have you ever wondered about the size of their heart?
Bison hearts are not only impressive in size, but also in their nutritional value. In this article, we will explore the size and benefits of bison hearts, as well as some interesting facts about these amazing animals.
So, let’s dive in and discover just how big a bison heart really is!
How Big Is A Bison Heart?
Bison hearts are quite large, weighing in at approximately 1 pound per package. This is a significant size when compared to other animal hearts, such as those of cows or pigs.
The bison heart is also visually impressive, with a muscular structure that is similar to the muscle meat most people are used to eating. It is currently pre-sliced for convenience, but can also be cut up into chunks for use in pasta or stew.
The Anatomy Of A Bison Heart
In order to understand the anatomy of a bison heart, examination was conducted on 117 hearts of European bison of both sexes and different ages. The hearts were weighed and then fixed in a 5% formalin water solution, after which linear measurements were carried out on them.
Despite evidence of interpleural communications in other mammal species, there was no literature found on the anatomy of the mediastinum of the bison. This prompted further research to fact-check the anecdote and search for evidence of the existence of “buffalo chest”. Autopsies were performed on eight bison, and four were found to have had interpleural communications.
The bison heart has a similar muscular structure to muscle meat, with a significant size compared to other animal hearts. The size and weight of the heart is necessary for the bison to pump blood efficiently throughout its large body. The heart also contains four chambers – two atria and two ventricles – which work together to pump blood through the circulatory system. The right side of the heart pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs for oxygenation, while the left side pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
Size Matters: How Big Is A Bison Heart?
When it comes to the size of a bison heart, it is important to note that the American bison is the largest mammal in North America. From head to rump, it can grow up to 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) long, with a tail adding an extra 20 to 23.5 inches. The bison can weigh anywhere from 930 to 2,200 lbs. (422 to 998 kilograms), making it a massive animal.
In comparison, the European bison is the largest herbivore in Europe and is typically heavier than the American bison. It can grow up to 9.5 feet (3 meters) long and weigh a whopping 1,762 to 2,203 lbs. (800 to 1,000 kg).
Despite their large size, bison hearts are relatively small compared to the rest of their body. However, they are still quite substantial when compared to other animal hearts. Bison hearts weigh approximately 1 pound per package, making them a hearty meal for those who enjoy organ meat.
In addition to their size, bison hearts are bursting with nutrients that are beneficial to human health. They are a rich source of folate, iron, selenium and zinc and contain twice the amount of collagen as regular meat. Bison hearts also provide an abundance of B-complex vitamins including B2, B6 and B12, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, anxiety and depression.
Furthermore, bison hearts contain the highest known amounts of an antioxidant known as CoQ10 which is great for heart health, slows down aging and improves energy levels.
Nutritional Value Of Bison Hearts
Bison hearts are not only visually impressive, but are also bursting with nutrients that are essential for maintaining good health. In fact, bison hearts are considered one of the most nutritious parts of the bison.
Bison hearts are an excellent source of folate, iron, selenium, and zinc. They also contain twice the amount of collagen as regular meat, making them beneficial for skin and joint health. Additionally, bison hearts are the number one food source of copper and provide an abundance of B-complex vitamins including B2, B6, and B12. These vitamins have been shown to help maintain healthy blood pressure and benefit the brain. They have also been linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, anxiety, and depression.
One of the most notable nutrients found in bison hearts is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Bison hearts contain the highest known amounts of this antioxidant, which is great for heart health, slows down aging, and improves energy levels. CoQ10 has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Compared to other meats like beef or pork, bison meat is leaner and lower in cholesterol while being higher in protein content. A 100-gram portion of bison meat provides 20 grams of protein, 146 calories, and 7 grams of fats. It also provides small amounts of iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and other minerals.
Bison Heart Recipes And Preparation
Bison heart is a highly nutritious and flavorful cut of meat that is often overlooked. Here are some delicious bison heart recipes and preparation methods that will help you make the most of this unique ingredient:
1. Marinated Bison Heart: To prepare the bison heart, split it in half and remove all vents and ducts. Mix together a marinade of sliced onion, prepared mustard, pickling spice, salt, wine vinegar, and red wine in a large glass bowl. Soak the heart in the marinade overnight. Dredge the pieces in flour and fry them in butter over high heat until both sides are browned. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer.
2. Grilled Bison Heart: Cut the bison heart open (if it hasn’t already been done by your butcher) and remove any visible strings, arteries, and blood vessels that may have been left behind. Trim off excess fat and set it aside. Place the heart to marinate overnight in balsamic vinegar. When ready to grill, pat it dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Cut the heart in half if necessary so it fits in your skillet. Melt cooking fat in a large heavy skillet set over high heat. Grill the bison heart without moving it for 5-6 minutes per side or until a nice golden crust forms. Remove from heat, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.
3. Pan-Fried Bison Heart: To make pan-fried bison heart, slice the heart into triangles that are 1/4-inch thick with 2-inch long sides. Marinate the sliced heart for a minimum of two hours (overnight is best) in minced cilantro, red onion, peanut oil, garlic, and ground pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until screaming hot. Season the heart liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and sear the heart slices two minutes a side or until medium-rare. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve with your favorite sauce.
4. Slow-Cooked Bison Heart Stew: Another great way to prepare bison heart is to slow-cook it in a stew. Cut the heart into small chunks and brown them in a skillet with butter or oil. Transfer to a slow cooker along with your favorite vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, etc.) and enough beef broth to cover everything. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the meat is tender.
Interesting Facts About Bison And Their Hearts
Apart from their impressive size and appearance, bison hearts have some interesting facts associated with them. For instance, bison hearts are high in protein and low in fat, making them a healthy source of meat. Additionally, bison hearts are considered a delicacy in many cultures and are often used in traditional dishes.
Another fascinating fact about bison hearts is that they were once used by Native American tribes for medicinal purposes. The heart was believed to have healing properties and was used to treat various ailments, including digestive issues and respiratory problems.
Furthermore, bison hearts play an important role in the social behavior of these animals. During the mating season, male bison will engage in loud vocalizations and physical displays to attract females. These displays often involve the male bison pounding its chest with its hooves and head, emphasizing the importance of the heart in these mating rituals.