Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Word on Duck Eggs

Last year we got ducks. We got them mostly for fun--like living lawn ornaments. And--oh, they were beautiful.

And then two got killed during a movie-scene-worthy thunderstorm (apparently predators don't fear the lightning quite as much as those ducks did). And then one day a few weeks later, Rico showed up.

He was a handsome drake who seemed to be joining our little flock. How exciting. And then just like that, he led our ducks to a different pond in the neighborhood where they have remained ever since. Which is what happens when you don't shoo away the handsome drakes that enter the lives of your girls. Don't think that's a lesson that was lost on this mother.

But that's not the point. The point is that we've been thinking of getting ducks again this summer or next because we are mentally impaired persistent. There's a woman at my church who successfully raised some ducks last year and I've been wanting to go to her house to have a look at her set up for a while. Our schedules haven't lined up yet, but one Sunday she brought me some duck eggs so I could give them a try and see if I even really wanted those feathered floosies to stick around long enough to lay after all.

I have to say I wasn't the least bit fazed by eating a duck egg. I'd already been entertaining the thought for a while after all. And many moons ago, I'd spent a few hours a week at a petting zoo where they let me take home all kinds of weird eggs, which I ate with no trouble at all. Even so, when she warned me to crack them in a separate bowl before adding them to my food "just in case" it did give me a little pause.

And when I mentioned the duck eggs to a few friends, I was surprised at how adamant they were about not eating them or finding them utterly strange. 'Utterly strange' being my middle name, and considering that some of you might be confronted with the choice of buying them at farmer's markets or stands as our society grows a little more aware of local food and eating, I thought I'd give a few words to some of the similarities and differences.


The duck eggs are larger, though not intensely huge or anything. And can come in a variety of colors. The yolks for these free range birds were intensely orange--more orange than even free range chicken eggs that I've eaten. The white and yolk were both slightly, um, firmer--by which I mean that the membranes didn't seem quite as flimsy as with chicken eggs. The yolks don't break quite as easily--that sort of thing. But everything else looks about the same.


They taste almost the same as chicken eggs. I'd bet Joe Average wouldn't notice a difference if you just flopped the cooked egg down in front of him (though Joe Foodie might suspect something was up). They are slightly different in texture and slightly richer in flavor. They are higher in fat and so are supposed to give certain baked goods like cake more rise. I, alas, have not baked a cake with them. Not making enough cake, especially when important experimentation is at risk, is a terrible failing and I will try to rectify it as soon as possible.


To me, this is the biggest difference and it's still not huge. When you crack them, you'll notice that the shell is thicker, smoother, and glossier. They would be beyond awesome for making those blown eggs that people with more cheek muscle than me sometimes decorate. The yolk and white are both firmer or (and I hesitate to use this word, but I will) gelatinous than their chickeny cousins. When I made deviled eggs with them tonight, I noticed there was a slight "skin" between the white and the yolk. When we made scrambled eggs, they weren't quite as light and fluffy as chicken eggs.

Make up:

They're higher in both fat and protein. Compared to their store-bought chicken cousins, they are also significantly higher in omega-3's and other nutrients as well.

(For a good article--and one in which the writer has the good sense to refer to their texture as one that can "stand up" instead of one that is "gelatinous," which really does explain it better anyway--have a look here.)

(hard-boiled and really not doing justice to how very vibrant the yolks are)

1 comment:

  1. Very helpful post! I've been thinking about raising ducks for eggs and garden pest control (not right now, but someday maybe, I hope!), and have been searching for info on how duck eggs taste and cook up. Thanks!



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