Chicken or Duck? Which egg for what?

chickenduck-main-1000Turns out, there are pros and cons to the duck egg/chicken egg debate. A lot of it has to do with how you want to cook them. Duck eggs actually have less water and more albumen than chicken eggs. This makes them amazing for baking and pastry work, since that magic combo will make cakes fluffier and egg breads even more delicious than your standard chicken egg. They are richer than chicken eggs, with twice the fat. This means custards made with duck eggs are creamier and they would be glorious for scrambled eggs, omelets, quiches, and the like. A sabayon made with duck eggs is supposedly even more ethereal. And some pastry chefs swear that meringues made with duck eggs get better volume and are more stable.

But that lack of water makes other types of cooking, where the whites and yolks retain their independent nature, problematic. Any type of fried egg, hard- or soft-boiled, or poached, the whites can get very rubbery.

From a nutrition standpoint, they are also different. A large chicken egg is about 50 grams, and a duck egg about 70. But despite only a 20-gram difference in weight, a duck egg is twice the calories, twice the fat, and three times the cholesterol of a chicken egg, albeit the good kind of cholesterol.

As with chicken eggs, if you are being careful about your diet you can make scrambles and omelets with one whole egg and an added white or two for bulk. Duck eggs have more Omega-3s, and stay fresher longer due to a thicker shell. They are also much more expensive, often as much as $1-$2 per egg, depending on your source. The flavor and how different it is or isn’t from a chicken egg is entirely dependent on the diet of the duck, so if you want to use duck eggs in a cooking application where the flavor is egg-forward, you might want to do a test scramble of one egg to see if they are more intense than you might prefer.

If you have a good source for duck eggs near you, they are worth seeking out, especially for desserts. Whether the juice is worth the squeeze, price-wise, for your regular breakfast is very much up to you. But you can bet that now that I know all the benefits of duck-egg baking there is a duck-themed dinner party in my future.

The only minus point that duck eggs have is the considerably higher cholesterol content, compared to chicken eggs. 100 gm of duck eggs will contain 884 mg of cholesterol, compared to 425 mg in chicken eggs.

Another thing to note, is that many people who are allergic to chicken eggs can tolerate duck eggs. But be sure to talk to your doctor before giving that a try.

As an added bonus? Eggs are loaded with antioxidants, which some research suggests could even reduce the risk for cancer. So in general, there are plenty of good reasons to be poaching, scrambling, boiling, and sunny-side-upping.

Chicken or Duck? Which egg for what?

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