Harvesting a Canadian Goose for the holiday dinner?

When Field Harvesting Care needs to be taken to Avoid Foodborne Illness.

As the temperatures start to turn cool, the game birds are flying south to their winter homes. In Michigan, the Canadian goose season is Oct. 1 through Dec. 16, 2016. For the rules and regulations be sure to read the Michigan Waterfowl Digest.

When field harvesting geese or other waterfowl, harvest only geese and waterfowl that act and look healthy. Wear rubber, plastic, or disposable gloves while field dressing, skinning or butchering the waterfowl to prevent the possibility of contracting type E botulism, which is a disease caused by the toxin produced by clostridium botulinum. Be sure to remove and dispose of the intestines as soon as possible after harvesting and avoid direct contact with the intestinal contents. Always wash hands, utensils, equipment and work surfaces before and after the handling of the meat.

Using game birds in the meal plan will add a variety to the diet. There are several things to consider when preparing the Canadian goose.

First, goose is a white meat just like pheasant, duck, chicken, and turkey so they can be used interchangeably in a poultry recipe.

Since the wild goose meat has less fat than the commercial chicken, it tends to cook up dry. To counteract the dryness use the goose meat in soups and stews or bake in an oven bag. If you want to cook the meat as a fillet or in a stir fry, it will be better to marinate the meat first.

Because of the dryness factor, it is better to tongs when handling the meat instead of using a meat fork. Using a meat fork will pierce the flesh causing the meat to be dry. Another point to remember is to let the meat “rest” for five minutes before slicing the meat against the grain to preserve the tenderness.

Michigan State University Extension  recommends keeping the game bird meat out of the Temperature danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another food safety tip is to store raw wild game bird meat in the refrigerator below 40 F for up to two days. For longer storage properly wrap the game bird meat and store in the freezer for up to six months for the best quality.

To freeze the goose meat, package the pieces into meal-size portions. Make sure there is a double layer of freezer wrap between the individual pieces. For the best quality of meat, squeeze out all of the air before freezing.

To thaw the goose meat, thaw the frozen meat in its original freezer wrapping on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

Remember to prevent the cross-contamination by storing ready-to-eat foods in a separate location above the raw meat in the refrigerator.

Always wash the hands and food preparation equipment before and after handling the raw wild game bird meat to prevent food borne illness.

Use a food thermometer to measure the doneness of the cooked goose meat. The minimum internal temperature of the meat should be 165 F.     

Marinade to help tenderize the skinless goose meat

In a bowl combine 2 cups of buttermilk or regular yogurt with minced garlic or onion, freshly chopped herbs and freshly ground white peppercorns. Add the wild goose meat to the marinade and marinate in the refrigerator for two to six hours.

Leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of preparing the wild game bird meat. The shelf life of leftover wild game bird meat is three days.

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