How does a duck egg measure up compared to a chicken egg? How do they taste? Are they really better for pastries?
(Cross-posted from Backyard Poultry Magazine’s blog.)
I’ve heard many claims about duck eggs. I’m sure you have, as well. They sell for $1 apiece at your friendly neighborhood corporation-run health food store. Pastry chefs laud their rich, creamy texture. But what can you really expect from a duck egg?
First of all, here are the general nutrition facts for duck eggs versus chicken eggs.
Chicken eggs (large egg, 50g):
- Calories: 71
- Total Fat: 5g
- Cholesterol: 211mg
- Sodium: 70mg
- Total Carbohydratge: 0g
- Protein: 6g
Duck eggs (70g):
- Calories: 130
- Total Fat: 10g
- Cholesterol: 619mg
- Sodium: 102mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 1g
- Protein: 9g
What are the benefits to eating duck eggs?
- Duck eggs stay fresher longer, due to their thicker shell.
- Duck eggs are richer, with more albumen, which makes cakes and other pastries fluffier.
- Duck eggs have more Omega-3 fatty acids.
- People who cannot eat chicken eggs, due to allergies, can often eat duck eggs.
What about nutrition?
I’ve read several articles on the nutrition of a duck egg. This article by Local Harvest claims duck eggs have twice the nutrients of chicken eggs. The information is debatable, though. When it comes down to the finer nutrients, such as Vitamin A, D, E, etc., duck eggs follow the same rule as chicken eggs: It depends on what the bird eats.
If you only allow your ducks to eat poultry food, the eggs will not be as healthy as if the ducks are allowed to eat plants like algae, spinach or grass. This is why eggs from backyard chickens are healthier than store-bought eggs. And this is how a farm-fresh duck egg can be healthier than an egg from ducks that don’t have a varied diet.
Duck Egg FAQ
I’ve heard that duck eggs are alkaline. Is that true? I’ve heard this claim as well. As far as the duck egg itself: no, they’re not. The yolk is full of fat, and fat is an acid. Do they turn to alkaline in your body? So many health gurus claim they do, but I don’t know if enough research has been done on this topic to verify that.
Someone told me that duck eggs have no cholesterol. That person doesn’t know the nature of eggs very well, do they? All egg yolks have cholesterol. Duck eggs have three times the cholesterol of a chicken egg. If you love duck eggs but are concerned about your health, try making an omelet with one duck egg and two duck egg whites.
How does a duck egg taste? Most fans of duck eggs describe them as richer and creamier. Some say the flavor is stronger, some say it’s lighter. Strength of flavor can often depend on the duck’s diet.
Where do I get duck eggs, and are they expensive? If you’re near rural areas or know people with backyard flocks, wheedle them for a few eggs. Expect to pay more. If you go to a health food store, expect to pay a lot more. But if you keep ducks in your yard, expect to pay less. The food-to-egg ratio for the highest-laying ducks is even lower than that of a chicken.
How do I cook duck eggs? You cook them the same way you would cook a chicken egg. Because they have a lower water content than chicken eggs, you should be careful when frying them, as overcooking can lead to a rubbery egg. Because duck eggs do cook up fluffier, my favorite ways to use duck eggs are:
- Cakes and pastries
- Custards and flans
Sheryl’s Cream Puffs
These are excellent with duck eggs, but chicken eggs can be used as well. Be sure to keep the dollops small. They fluff up in the oven.
- 1C Water
- 1 Stick Butter
- 1C Flour
- 4 Eggs
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring the water and butter to a boil in a saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and stir until a ball is formed. Continue to stir the flour mixture until slightly cooled. Add eggs, one at a time, until each egg is fully incorporated into mixture. Place teaspoon-sized dollops onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in oven 30 to 45 minutes. Remove and slit immediately to release steam. Serve with whip cream.
What’s your favorite thing about duck eggs?
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