– By Jakob Anderson, Food Writer –
Please share. It’s good karma 🙂
Every spring they appear. This year my radar was on high alert, so when I heard a lady across the market ask the local mennonite farmer, “I hear your ducks have been laying like crazy,” I perked up (and my stomach simultaneously growled). I raced over to confirm, and there sat the treasures. A proud array of eggs, ranging in size and species. While the hen’s were still punching the clock daily on the egg production line, I was drawn to the eggs produced by other fowl. Duck eggs, turkey eggs, goose eggs, which to choose! I settled with my familiar duck egg, which are not too intimidating in size or taste. I had never seen a turkey or goose egg in person before, so I was interested to do some research on the two, comparing them to my usual choices. Despite their differences in size, most folks don’t realize the subtle differences these eggs can have!
An egg lovers dream. Right off the bat you will notice two attributes of a duck egg that differ from the traditional hen’s egg (not counting the fact that duck eggs tend to be blue in colour rather than white). The shells are much thicker. While this might seem like a pain if you have to crack a lot of these guys, it actually promotes a longer shelf life. The second and more obvious difference is that the yolk is bigger and richer than a hen’s egg. I emphasize this point because it is the main reason I scoop these guys up quicker than a linebacker hunting a fumble. Who doesn’t love that glowing amber bulb of life? (Oh you eat egg white omelettes? stop reading immediately). This is the reason duck eggs are prized in the chefs community. They can be used as a burger topping, to make rich pasta dough, or to simply add flavour to a sauce. Being larger than a traditional egg, a duck egg is naturally higher in fat and protein than its cousin. I keep myself to 3 eggs per day but when working with duck eggs I stick with 2. I cook my duck eggs one way: fried in high quality butter, sunny side up. I recommend experiencing this for yourself.
As it turns out, it is just as easy to screw up a turkey’s egg as it is to dry out its flesh in the oven. Now the real challenge of a turkey egg begins long before it is cracked into your pan. Sourcing turkey eggs is extremely difficult. This is because turkeys are not the egg producing powerhouses that chickens are. While a chicken is cranking out one egg per day, turkeys lay only two per week! The eggs that they do lay are then usually fertilized because turkeys are much more valuable for the meat on their bones than chickens are. There are however rare cases of Turkeys cannot be bred, but can still lay eggs. This is when you pounce. Turkey eggs are similar to duck eggs in terms of being larger richer in flavour and nutrition than hen’s eggs. Turkey eggs also tend to have speckled shells, so have them on display at your holiday brunch before you scramble them!
These whales are something the naked eye must see. Visit your farmers market in the spring (almost exclusive to the season) and you really can’t miss them. They are abnormally large. They are also very expensive, sitting at anywhere between $3-5 per egg. This sounds unreasonable, I know, but buying one or two to show off to your hotdog eating friends is well worth it!
Jakob Anderson is a trained cook and food enthusiast who approaches cooking as something that connects people in ways they don’t realize. “I love talking about food, eating food, thinking food, discussing food, debating food, think about debating food, fooding food? I love food.”