Chicken eggs are the most consumed eggs all around the world. It's good, it's healthy, it's easy. But some people, out of curiosity or nutritional reason, might be interested in trying some other type of eggs, like duck eggs. Switching to duck eggs can give your boring breakfast routine a refreshing change. Plus, duck eggs are more versatile than you realize at first glance.
Following is a look at the pros and cons of eating duck eggs vs the more conventional chicken eggs.
Duck eggs are just as safe to eat as chicken eggs. The USDA has the exact same standards and regulations in place for duck eggs as it does for all poultry such as chicken, quail, ostrich, etc. While the egg itself is larger than a chicken egg, the yolk inside is also larger in proportion to the white part of the egg. Duck eggs also have more calories and nutrition per gram compared to chicken eggs, but less than quail and goose eggs. Read this article to learn more about how duck eggs compare to other eggs.
Another curious question that most people want to be answered is how does the taste compare? Well, depending on the diet, duck eggs taste similar to chicken eggs, only richer. While the tastes are similar, there are some subtle and some not so subtle differences between duck and chicken eggs.
• Duck eggs have a thicker shell. This tends to give duck eggs a longer shelf-life than chicken eggs.
• Duck eggs are about 50% larger than even jumbo chicken eggs. A rough comparison is 2 duck eggs = 3 chicken eggs.
• Duck eggs contain more albumen than chicken eggs. This is the big bonus when baking with duck eggs. More albumen gives your pastries and other baked goods more structure and a higher lift. Cakes and other pastries come out fluffier and lighter than with chicken eggs.
• When ducks and chickens are on the same diet, their eggs taste similar. However, duck eggs taste richer and have a creamier consistency. This is because -
• Duck eggs have a higher fat content than chicken eggs. Duck eggs contain 9.6 grams of fat, compared to 5 grams of fat in chicken eggs.
• Duck eggs are also higher in Omega-3 fatty acids - 71.4 milligrams vs 37 milligrams.
• Duck eggs are higher in protein than chicken eggs. This is good news for everyone on a high protein diet, such as the Paleo Diet. An average chicken egg contains 6.28 grams of protein, while an average duck egg contains 8.97 grams of protein.
• People who have an allergy to chicken eggs can often eat duck eggs with no ill effects. This is because the proteins in duck and chicken eggs are slightly different. Anyone with a severe egg allergy should always check with your doctor first before you experiment with duck eggs to make sure this is a safe substitution for you.
• The thicker shell on duck eggs does make them harder to crack. This means you need a little practice to get a clean crack and avoid bits of shell falling into whatever you are making.
• Because of the larger size and the larger fat content, you can not substitute duck for chicken egg for egg when baking. You will need to do a little experimenting to see what adjustments you need to make to your regular chicken egg recipes to get the quality you want.
• Duck eggs have 3 times more cholesterol than chicken eggs. This is partly because of their larger overall size, partly because the yolk itself is larger, and partly because duck eggs have a higher fat content.
• Each duck egg contains 619 milligrams of cholesterol, which is more than twice the daily recommended limit. If you have high cholesterol or heart disease, one duck egg has more than 3 times the daily recommended limit.
• Duck eggs are more expensive than chicken eggs on the market. Duck eggs can cost up to $1 per egg, while chicken eggs average under .25 a piece. But if you raise both ducks and eggs on your own, they actually cost very similar.
• While duck eggs are higher in protein and other nutrients, they are also higher in calories. A chicken egg averages 71 calories, but a duck egg averages 130 calories. These calories come from a higher mix of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
• Duck egg whites are harder to whip up because they have a lower water content than chicken egg whites.
• This lower water content can also make duck eggs rubbery if they are cooked a certain way (hard boiled) or for too long. Again, it will take a bit of experimenting to find the best way to cook duck eggs.
• Depending on the diet that the duck is fed, the taste of a duck egg can be greatly affected. Ducks prefer a high protein diet over plant matter (think bugs, snails, and slugs). While farmers love this about ducks, it does affect the taste of the eggs. If a duck is kept on the same diet as chickens, the taste will not be affected near as much.
• Duck eggs are not as easy to find as chicken eggs. While some upscale stores such as Whole Foods are starting to carry duck eggs, they are not as readily available as mass-produced chicken eggs. The best place to find good duck eggs is still at your local farmer's market.
There are definite advantages to cooking and baking with duck eggs, once you have played around with and adjusted your recipes to compensate for the size, lower water content, and higher fat and proteins. However, if you are watching your cholesterol and counting calories, perhaps switching to duck eggs isn't the right choice for you.
Duck eggs contain a significant amount of cholesterol and fat, but they are higher in other nutrients and protein as well. Eaten in moderation, duck eggs can be a great addition to a well-balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Bottom-line, if you don't have a condition to watch your cholesterol, and you raise poultry in your backyard, duck eggs could be a better option for you than chickens. Otherwise, you probably want to stick with chicken eggs.
Jennifer Poindexter and her husband raise most of their food and a variety of animals in the foothills of North Carolina, where they built a small homestead on very little money. She writes about all of her adventures at Morning Chores, where she shares the knowledge she has gained with others that might want to take the full plunge into homesteading. Read all of Jennifer's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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