We participated in a goose and chicken plucking party over the weekend. I know it seems wierd, but it was a really good time. Despite the death and gore it was fun to work together with new friends and old friends, tour a new farm, and learn how to turn birds into food. We worked in a green house and it was kind of like being in a life sized snow globe. Lots of light streaming in and feathers floating everywhere like snowflakes. This is not my first time plucking and butchering, but it was the first time I got to work with geese. It takes soooo much longer to pluck a goose than it does to pluck a duck, and they both make chickens seem easy.
The down is the fuzzy gray fluff that is revealed when the white feathers are removed from the body. My friend saved all the down so she can make a duvet, and it is wonderfully soft but horribly hard to get it all pulled off. The two of us worked on our goose for over an hour and it's still a bit fuzzy. Maybe it will have a nice crunch when I cook it!
I like the gutting and butchering better than dealing with the feathers (or the ax!). It's much nicer than the anatomy classes I took in high school and college. All the organs are fresh and brightly colored and don't smell toxic. I've alway heard people say they can't get past the smell of butchering anamals, but most of the time it just smells like chicken. If you've ever cooked a whole chicken or turkey it's not any different. Once the feather and feet are gone it's just like food.
I don't want to get too gory, but I thought this picture was worth taking. These are goose ovaries. As you can see by the different sized lumps, the follicals are in different stages of developement, but still attached. These are basicaly the egg yolks. Once they are fully developed, they detach from the ovary and enter the oviduct where they get fertilized and the white albumen and a shell is added. For an idea of the scale, the biggest lump was about the size of a chicken egg. I didn't take a photo of the males testicles, which lets you know just how unimpressive they were.