Goose liver is most commonly known internationally as “foie gras”, which translates directly in English as “fatty liver”. It is accepted as a luxury food that is often served at high-end restaurants, and as such is very expensive to get.
It is actually made from a duck or goose liver that has become enlarged because of a liver disease called hepatic steatosis. This is intentionally caused by the animal being force fed large amounts of food. The enlarged liver is taken out and sold as a whole, or in some cases is ground up into a pâté of sorts.
There is a lot of controversy around this incredibly cruel practice and the obviously terrible treatment of these animals in order to mass produce foie gras. Many countries including India have prohibited foie gras imports, and others are following suit.
Goose Liver Nutritional Facts
Goose liver, although high in fat and calories, is also full of essential nutrients like Vitamin B12, Vitamin A and iron. It is a fairly solid source of protein.
Here is a quick breakdown of the nutritional facts for raw goose liver, per 100 grams:
Total Fat: 4.3 g
Cholesterol: 515 mg
Sodium: 140 mg
Potassium: 216.2 mg
Carbohydrates: 5.9 g
Vitamin A: 620% of daily recommended intake
Vitamin B12: 900% of daily recommended intake
Iron: 170% of daily recommended intake
How To Hunt Geese Without Damaging The Liver
There is not much in terms of tips on how to hunt geese without damaging the liver. Obviously, if you are looking to harvest the liver of the geese you are hunting then you would ideally not damage the liver while hunting.
For geese hunting, pellets are most commonly used as the choice ammunition for the job. Larger geese will usually require larger sized pellets in order to compensate for the extra weight and ensure kill shots.
In order to maintain the integrity of the liver, using the right pellet size and being sure to aim for other vital organs or wounding shots is important.
Another thing that could potentially damage the liver of the geese being hunted is if the pellets or ammunition being used are made with materials that can be toxic to geese. Lead shots for hunting waterfowl have been banned for many years now, as the ingestion of the toxic lead fragments from the lead shots proved to be toxic and often fatal for geese who are affected. This will in turn cause damage to the liver and render it useless for harvesting.
Make sure to use nontoxic ammunition which is readily available in all hunting and ammunition retailers across the globe.
Goose Liver Recipes
Goose liver or foie gras is fairly versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways for a variety of dishes.
Let’s discuss a few of the most common methods of foie gras preparation that are seen in many restaurants and kitchens around the world.
In order to start, prepare raw, whole foie gras by removing any and all sections of green gall bladder that may still be attached to the liver. Next, split the two lobes of the liver in half. You can do this by hand. Finally, cut each of the lobes lengthwise in order to remove the veins.
Now that your foie gras has been properly cleaned and sectioned, there are four common preparing strategies to choose from for your foie gras. Let’s go over each one briefly.
Seared foie gras: This is the easiest method of preparing fresh foie gras. Simply cut it into nice thick slices and sear it in a nice hot pan with salted butter. When the foie gras is seared momentarily in butter, it will turn a nice brown colour with a slight crispy on the outside. The inside should be smooth, gooey and appear to be somewhat melting. One thing to note is that liver is naturally low in collagen, which means that it is tender when cooked briefly but can become dry and overcooked quickly.
- Foie gras terrine (pâté): In order to make a terrine of foie gras (also known as a foie gras pâté), you must start by pressing the liver into a nice circular mould. Next, gently warm it up in a hot water bath to cook. Do not use boiling water. When it has finished, allow it to cool down and then slice it to be served.
- Foie gras torchon: Making a foie gras torchon simply requires the livers to be rolled in a towel and then lightly poached. Doing this allows for easier slicing into rounds for appetizer dishes.
- Foie gras mousse: To make a foie gras mousse, take your cooked foie gras and purée it until you have created a light mousse. This can be served in a dish and used as a spread on toasted baguettes or other breads.
Foie goes very well combined with a nice slice of bread, toasted brioche, sandwich roll, or some quality crackers. It is often featured in dishes alongside a sweet element, such as a spread with a jam or compote. Common fruits used include figs, dates and pears.
Is Goose Liver Healthy?
Goose liver does have a variety of health benefits and provides a great source of certain vitamins and essential minerals. As discussed earlier in the nutritional facts section of our review, goose liver is incredibly high in Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, iron and copper as well.
A 100 gram serving of goose liver provides over 600 percent of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, as well as 900% of the daily intake of Vitamin B12. The same serving is also packed with 170 of the recommended daily intake of iron, and over 350% of daily copper intake.
Despite the apparent health benefits, goose liver is however high in fats and high in cholesterol. If the intake of fat and cholesterol is not properly regulated in humans it can lead to a variety of health effects including heart disease and cancer. Goose liver is considerably high in both of these, and therefore if consumed in excess can be quite unhealthy.
With that being said, consuming goose liver in proper moderation and with your diet needs in mind can be a healthy diet choice.
Is Goose Liver Illegal
There is a huge amount of ongoing controversy surrounding the production of goose liver and the ethics behind how the geese are treated.
The geese are force fed by farmers in order to stimulate the onset of a hepatic disease that causes the goose’s liver to become enlarged up to 10 times its normal size. They are kept in incredibly small and confined spaces and live unfortunate lives.
Foie gras has been banned in many cities around the world because of this incredibly questionable and seemingly unethical method of production. India was actually the first country to fully prohibit the importing of foie gras back in July of 2014. This was considered to be a massive victory for animal rights activists and ended up setting an important example for the rest of the world’s nations.
Other countries who have since followed suit with the banning of foie gras are Australia, Argentina as well as Israel.
In the United States the laws pertaining to production and consumption of foie gras vary from one state to another. California has acted to completely prohibit production and sale of foie gras, as well as individual cities like San Diego and Chicago. On October 30th of 2019, the City Council voted to put a ban on the dish in New York City restaurants, coming into effect in 2022.
When we take a look at Europe, the production of foie gras is prohibited in a number of their countries including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Norway, Poland, Turkey and several others. They can still import foie gras in most of these places, so many shops, butchers and markets will have foie gras available to purchase.
Even some of the big name retailers including Amazon have taken a stand against the cruel production of foie gras by banning it from their stores.
How Much Does Goose Liver Cost?
The price of foie gras will depend on a variety of factors including origin of the goose, quality of preparation and style of manufacturing process. The generally accepted range for foie gras is in the range of 40 to 80 dollars per pound.
Standard foie gras would come in on the low end of that price range, while first quality and foie gras extra would be found in the higher end of that range. The fact that goose liver and other livers are considered a delicacy and a “luxury” food, make it ever more sought after and therefore more expensive.
Do The French Force Feed Geese?
The French are considered to be the main producers and consumers of the foie gras delicacy that is made by force feeding geese in order to enlarge their livers to be harvested.
French farmers have been known to have their geese confined to very small spaces where they are force fed corn mash through tubes in order to ultimately create a disease that inflames the liver to sizes ten times its original size.
This practice is now heavily frowned upon and activists around the world as well as many countries are joining the fight against foie gras production using these methods.
Goose liver, also known as goose foie gras, is a delicacy or otherwise considered a “luxury” food that appears on a number of menus in high class restaurants around the world. Foie gras is known to be quite expensive and some people will hunt geese with the intention of harvesting the liver in order to make their own.
The problem with the foie gras industry is the fact that many farmers who are mass producing the geese liver needed to manufacture large amounts for sale are using methods that many find extremely unethical.
Some farmers will force feed their geese through a tube in order to instigate the enlargement of their livers, which in turn will produce more foie gras per goose liver harvested. This is extremely frowned upon and foie gras has actually been banned in many countries around the world.
In the end, foie gras can provide some significant nutritional value and is packed with protein and a number of important vitamins. The controversy surrounding how goose liver is exploited and used to produce foie gras is something that must be taken into consideration. Ultimately, whether or not you choose to consume and as a result participate in the foie gras industry is up to you.