Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
As a farmer raising geese, one of the most frequent questions I hear is "what do goose eggs taste like". They are not at all unlike chicken eggs, but there are a few special features to these large, white eggs.
A goose egg is equivalent to about three chicken eggs, with a larger yolk-to-white ratio. Geese are seasonal layers, and you will generally only get eggs from a female goose from April through September. Their egg production varies depending on the breed, but most will lay around 40 eggs over the course of a year.
Because of the larger yolk-to-white ratio, goose eggs hold together well and produce a more dense, moist result when baking. Many bakers prefer a heavier mix, but if you need to lighten your recipe you can add a chicken egg. Like duck eggs, the larger yolk and general size mean that goose eggs have a higher nutritional content, including more Omega-3s, than hen’s eggs.
Diners with distinguished palates find goose eggs a little bit “gamier” than chicken eggs, but most of those sampling a goose egg omelet next to a chicken egg one cannot tell the difference. You will notice the richness of a goose’s egg if you eat it fried and you can see the deep colors of the yolk. Once again, it is that huge yolk that lends to the variations in flavor when tasters can detect them.
Goose eggs are particularly sought after by those who make their own pasta. Between the richer color they give to pasta noodles and a history of being used in traditional Italian recipes, goose-egg pasta is a rare delicacy these days. Many pasta recipes call for a dozen chicken eggs, while using these giants can cut your needs in half.
Geese can be fed crumble, but the majority of their diet is made up by fresh greens. Their favorite snack is simple lawn grass, and this helps to brighten the color of the yolks of their eggs while keeping the whites pale.
A goose egg shell is white and thick. Cracking them takes a determined whack, or two, and the shells themselves are a prize. Many people will blow out goose eggs and keep the shells as decorations, and they are desired by crafters for shell engraving art. A carved goose egg makes a beautiful Christmas ornament or fireplace decoration, and the lattices and patterns that talented carvers can accomplish are truly stunning. Thanks to this alternative use, goose egg shells empty of both white and yolk are still valuable, and some craft stores sell eggs for over $10.
Another unique aspect of a goose’s egg is their seasonality. Because they are only laid during the summer months, there is a delicious mystery to these eggs. The few goose egg farmers around the country sell their eggs for more than $2 per egg, and demand for them continues. The only online retailer I was able to find for them, localharvest.org, advertise a half dozen for $70 not including shipping.
Goose eggs are a valuable and mouthwatering options for any recipe. If you can find them from your local farmer or at the market, try them out and see if you can taste the difference. Better yet, if you start raising geese you can enjoy these delicacies every day in the summertime.
Kirsten Lie-Nielsen farms about 2 acres of a suburban homestead using geese for weeding and guarding purposes, raising chickens for eggs, bees for honey, and maintaining vegetable gardens for personal use. Find Kirsten online at Hostile Valley Living's site, Facebook page, and Instagram, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog posts here.
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