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All about “Goose”

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Health profile

Goose brings diversity to the menu, although it is still considered a delicacy due to its high price. The goose flesh is delicate and juicy. Wild goose meat is harder than farmed goose because it exercises more than the latter. In Quebec, although the production of farmed goose is still limited, it is possible to obtain by-products such as thighs, sausages, duck breast, smoked duck breast and goose fat to make the confit.

Active ingredients and properties

Goose is fatty meat , but goose fat is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which adds an interesting nutritional feature to goose products. The monounsaturated fatty acids contained in goose could contribute to an improvement in cardiovascular health , in addition to favorably influencing the secretion of insulin . The consumption of goose also provides many other nutrients essential for the maintenance of health.

It is important to emphasize that the studies that have demonstrated the benefits associated with the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids have been carried out with plant-based foods such as olive oil or peanut butter. Although the beneficial effects of monounsaturated fatty acids from animal sources are not clearly established, the consumption of goose could be integrated into a varied diet. It must however be kept in mind that goose meat is fatty meat since fat provides almost 50% of the energy contained in a portion and that in such a case, moderation is essential. In addition, it should be noted that the goose contains a third of its total fat in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids and another third in the form of fatty acids.saturated .

Cardiovascular health. Consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids is recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease 1 . For example, a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids has been associated with an improved lipid profile by lowering blood levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides 2. Some studies have shown that unlike low-fat diets, eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids does not decrease blood levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Thus, the introduction of foods high in monounsaturated fatty acids provides superior benefits to those usually obtained with a much lower fat diet 3 . The consumption of various sources of monounsaturated fatty acids could also explain, in part, the lower incidence of cardiovascular disease in France, compared to other regions of the world where the diet is also rich in cholesterol and saturated fat 4. Indeed, researchers have mentioned the consumption of plant foods and foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids as factors that may explain the lower incidence of cardiovascular disease observed in France 5 . However, other studies will be required to assess the influence of other factors such as the environment, lifestyle and certain genetic characteristics of these populations.

The monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of blood lipids which is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In an intervention study conducted with young adults 6 , individuals who consumed a diet richer in monounsaturated fatty acids had seen a reduction in the oxidation of their LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol). This increased resistance to oxidation has also been observed in studies carried out in vitro 7 . The consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids also decreases platelet aggregation , which could reduce the risk of thrombosis 8.

Diabetes . The monounsaturated fatty acids could reduce the insulin resistance that is associated with several diseases or conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. An intervention study demonstrated an 8% improvement in insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects who consumed 37% of their energy in the form of lipids, but who favored a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids 9 . Another study in patients with type 2 diabetes found an improvement in fasting blood sugar when the diet included a high proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids 10. In light of these results, it would be interesting to check whether the consumption of goose meat positively modifies certain risk factors for diabetes compared to other meats.

Other properties

Is goose antioxidant? No data available
Is the goose acidifying? No data available
Does the goose have a high glycemic load? There is no glycemic load for meats.

Most important nutrients

See the meaning of the nutrient source classification symbols

 Phosphorus . Goose is an excellent source of phosphorus (see our fact sheet on Phosphorus nutrients ). Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. This mineral plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues, helps to maintain normal blood pH and is one of the constituents of cell membranes.

 Iron . Goose is an excellent source of iron for men and a good source of iron for women , as their respective needs for this mineral are different. Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses).

 Zinc . Goose is an excellent source of zinc. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. It also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the synthesis (production), the storage and the release of insulin.

 Copper . Goose is an excellent source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals .

 Selenium . Goose is an excellent source of selenium. This mineral works with one of the main antioxidant enzymes , thus preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps convert thyroid hormones to their active form.

 Vitamin B2 . Goose meat is an excellent source of vitamin B2. This vitamin is also known as riboflavin . Like vitamin B1, riboflavin plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to tissue growth and repair, hormone production and the formation of red blood cells.

 Vitamin B3 . Goose is an excellent source of vitamin B3. Also called niacin, vitamin B3 participates in many metabolic reactions and contributes particularly to the production of energy from the carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and alcohol that we ingest. It also collaborates in the DNA formation process , allowing normal growth and development.

 Pantothenic acid . Goose is an excellent source of pantothenic acid. Also called vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme in the energy use of the food we eat. It is also involved in several stages of the production of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses) and hemoglobin.

 Vitamin B6 . Goose is an excellent source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is part of coenzymes that participate in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the synthesis (manufacture) of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It also contributes to the production of red blood cells and allows them to transport more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and it contributes to the good functioning of the immune system. This vitamin finally plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in the modulation of hormone receptors.

 Vitamin B12 . Goose is a good source of vitamin B12. This vitamin works together with folic acid (vitamin B9) to make red blood cells in the blood. It also works to maintain nerve cells and the cells that make bone tissue.

 Vitamin E . Goose fat is a good source of vitamin E. A major antioxidant, vitamin E protects the membrane that surrounds every cell in the body, especially red and white blood cells (cells of the immune system).

What is a “portion” of goose worth?
Weight / volume Domestic goose meat, roasted (skinless), 100 g (about 3 oz) Goose fat, 15 ml (13 g)
Calories 238 117
Protein 29.0 g 0.0 g
Carbohydrates 0.0 g 0.0 g
Fat 12.7 g 13.0 g
– saturated 4.6g 3.6g
– monounsaturated 4.3 g 7.4 g
– polyunsaturated 1.5g 1.4 g
Cholesterol 96 mg 100 mg
Dietary fiber 0.0 g 0.0 g

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.

Is goose fat better for cooking?

Goose fat withstands the heat of a pan. In addition, it does not darken and it contains as many lipids as oils or butter. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids but, although its nutritional composition is similar to that of olive oil, it contains more saturated fat (28% against 14%). However, when compared to butter, goose fat contains more monounsaturated fatty acids, but less saturated fat. Thus, cooking with goose fat could therefore be beneficial for health provided that it is used in moderation.

Goose over time

The term ”  goose  ” appeared in its present form in the XIII th  century. It is inspired by “bird”, from the popular Latin auca which replaced the classic Latin anser.
Too small, my oven!
In ancient Europe, the geese of individuals were systematically roasted in the baker’s oven, because no one had an oven large enough to accommodate this large bird. It will be necessary to wait for the improvement of the stoves with coal, then with gas, at the beginning of the XX E  century, so that one can cook at home his Christmas goose.

The Anatidae family includes swans, ducks and geese, the latter comprising several zoological genera, including the genus Anser for which we know a dozen species. The domestic goose descends from two species, the greylag goose ( Anser anser ) and the swan or Chinese goose ( Anser cygnoides), or hybrids from their cross. The Greylag Goose comes from Eurasia and North Africa; swan goose, from East Asia. These two species have undergone many improvements and selections through their contact with humans, which has given rise to several races and multiple strains within these races. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has listed a hundred (including almost 80 for the butternut goose), but it is believed that there are others, some of them very local and not including than a few individuals.

The first attempts to domesticate the greylagmay be 5,000 years old and have occurred in Egypt. Under the Roman influence then, later, that of the Normans, the domestic goose will spread throughout Europe. In certain regions, it will play a more important role in food than chicken, in particular because it is satisfied with a food of lower quality while giving a tasty flesh. In addition, it provides excellent down as well as feathers which were popular with scribes and writers at the time. For a long time in Europe, it was a goose that was cooked at Christmas, but after the discovery of America, it was gradually replaced by the turkey, whose succulence of flesh and size made it a dish of choice for this festive occasion.

The swan goose , for its part, would have been domesticated in China more than 3,000 years ago, but little is known about the evolution of this animal in Asia. Attempts have also been made, on an experimental basis, to domesticate other species, notably the Canada goose, but none of these trials has resulted in farms of commercial importance. However, researchers are interested in the genetic potential of these wild species for the improvement of the domestic goose.

About force-feeding: goose, like duck, is raised for its foie gras , obtained by force-feeding. To learn more about the pros and cons of this traditional method, see the Duck fact sheet. Note that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations does not encourage the practice of force-feeding.

Culinary uses

To access other recipes, you can go to the kitchen recipe site, which offers, among other things, the following recipes: stuffed goose , goose foie gras , baked goose

Choose well

The goose and the various preparations that come from it – foie gras , rillettes , sausages , smoked duck breast , confit , fat , etc. – are found in specialized butchers, in Asian grocery stores or directly on the farm. You can find frozen goose in supermarkets.

Note that the goose raised on grass and hay is significantly less fat than that which is fed exclusively on grain, which is a significant health asset.


The goose sounds the alarm
In Rome, geese were kept for their flesh and eggs, but also for their effectiveness as guardians. Legend has it that they were geese who, by sounding the alarm with their cries, saved Rome from the invasion of the Gauls in 390 BCE.

For baking goose in the oven, it is recommended to prick the skin over its entire surface so that the fat drains. Every half hour, drizzle with the cooking juices and drain some of the fat that accumulates in the bottom of the pan. The goose is cooked when a thermometer stuck in the thigh indicates 85 ° C.

To recover the fat, pass it through double cheesecloth, put it in pots and keep it in the refrigerator where it will keep for several weeks.

Culinary dishes

  • Roast goose: it can be cooked for about an hour in an oven set to 200 ° C (400 ° F) then lower the temperature to 160 ° C (320 ° F) for the rest of the cooking. Or, cook it slowly at 160 ° C (320 ° F) at the rate of 30 minutes of cooking per kilogram, after brushing it with butter, then salt and pepper. Apples or pears can be added to the bottom of the broiler pan.
  • You can stuff it with a chestnut sauce or with fresh or dried fruit, adding the finely sliced ​​liver and gizzard, chopped onions, herbs, bread crumbs, etc.
  • It can be glazed with an orange or cranberry sauce, which will be coated 15 or 20 minutes before the end of cooking.
  • Serve it with a sauce made of white wine, orange juice and zest, ginger, salt and pepper. Simmer until a thick sauce is obtained.
  • In Germany, it is served with sauerkraut which, by its acidity, reduces the richness of goose fat.
  • Cook the thighs in stew. Or marinate them for twelve hours in a fruit juice, with onions, carrots, herbs and garlic. Cook everything with broth until the flesh comes off well. Keep the meat warm, strain the juice through a sieve, thicken it, reheat and serve.
  • Confit: cook the wings and thighs in the fat after having salted them and left to marinate for one or two days. Then put them in a jar, cover with fat and leave to sit for a week in the refrigerator. The wing or thigh confit is essential to the traditional cassoulet.
  • Leftovers can be prepared as a salad , with endive or radicchio, arugula, watercress or other tasty greens. Drizzle with mustard sauce.
  • Prepare the heart, liver and gizzard as you would for chicken. In France, the gizzard is candied in fat, like the thighs. You can also make it in a salad, after sautéing it in the fat: serve on a lettuce with garlic croutons and walnut kernels and season with a walnut oil and juice vinaigrette lemon.
  • Use goose fat , rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, for cooking. In the South of France, it plays the same role as butter in Normandy or olive oil in Provence.
  • Do not hesitate to make a broth with the bones. Degrease it before using it for making soups or sauces.


Refrigerator: 1 to 3 days.

Freezer: 10 to 12 months for the whole goose, 5 to 8 months for the cuts.

Ecology and environment

Geese are of great interest from both an ecological and an economic point of view, as they easily adapt to variable and sustainable farming systems.

Thanks to the particular structure of its digestive system, it can consume large amounts of nutrients rich in fiber (hay, for example), which differentiates it from other avian species. Its aptitude to consume grass allows it to be put on pasture where it will also feed on insects, snails, slugs, worms, etc. This reduces the expenses associated with the purchase of grains or feed. In addition, in Europe, it is installed on freshly harvested plots where it will consume cereals, carrots, cabbage and salads left on the spot, which makes it possible to enhance the remains that could not be harvested.

In addition, the goose can be used for weeding, as was done in the United States in the 1950s, where it was given the task of weeding cotton fields. Crops of asparagus, potatoes, beets, beans, hops, onions, strawberries, berry shrubs, tobacco, hazelnut, vine, ornamental flowers, as well as orchards have also benefited from its “services”, to which is added the nitrogen provided by its excrement, which contributes to the fertilization of the soil. However, the appearance in the 1970s of a wide range of selective chemical weed killers considerably limited this practice.

Finally, the goose can also be used for the maintenance of ditches and moats, as well as wherever it is difficult to bring machinery. We know, for example, that swan geese can regulate the expansion of water hyacinth in ditches, a real boon when we know that this plant constitutes, in China, a real environmental problem.

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