Have you walked through our beloved Hollywood Farmers market lately, and come across a variety of farm fresh eggs? Most notably, duck eggs? And you think to yourself: “how on earth can I use those, how would I cook with them, and are they good for me?” To help address these ponderings, and to familiarize you with the almighty duck egg, I enlisted the help of Pine Mountain Ranch, Boondockers Farm, and Gales Meadow Farm, all of whom sell you your weekly eggs.
Right off the bat, duck eggs are noticeably larger than the more familiar chicken egg, and have a tougher shell. They may look daunting, yet Anne from Gales Meadows assures us, “While duck eggs are not twice as big as chicken eggs, one duck egg will provide the nutrients and calories of two chicken eggs, because they are denser. 100 grams (3.5 oz) is roughly equivalent to one duck egg or two chicken eggs.” As to the cost, she adds, “duck eggs are a bargain since one duck egg is equivalent to two chicken eggs, but they don’t cost twice as much.” Nutritionally, duck eggs have more Omega 3 fatty acids, and since all of the eggs you see at Hollywood Farmers Market come from local farms and forage, the duck egg’s mineral and omega fatty 3 acid content will be higher than your average store bought chicken egg. For all you bakers out there, start baking with duck eggs! They are richer with more albumen, making all your baked goodies richer and cakes higher and fluffier. The taste of a duck egg is similar to a chicken egg, but more luxurious and rich.
One thing to consider is that duck eggs can be a seasonal product, which, when reflected upon, makes complete sense from a farmers market perspective. Pine Mountain Ranch raises Muscovy ducks, whose eggs are larger than the typical duck egg. However their Muscovy ducks don’t lay during the winter months, and Pine Mountain will have duck eggs for just a few more months, so please swing by their booth and pay them a visit!
Ducks, like most poultry, play an important role in local farm ecosystems. They forage, feed on slugs and follow larger animals, cleaning up pests and as a result, their droppings are nitrogen rich and fertilize the soil. Boondockers Farm raises Holderread Ancona and Saxony ducks. Anconas are known to forage better, and their diet is enhanced by a custom organic feed with no corn, no GMOs, and no animal products. From the start, the ducklings are encouraged to socialize and as a result, are happier and produce more eggs. I visited Boondockers Farm recently, and I can tell you the eggs are lovingly washed and packed, not by a machine, but by farm hands.
So there you have it. The duck egg, demystified. This week, expand your horizons, visit these lovely farmers at their booths and start incorporating duck eggs into your meals and baking!
by Erin Houlihan, HFM volunteer