Beyond the (Chicken) Egg

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Beyond the (Chicken) Egg | All eggs are not created equal. By now, it is well known in the real food community that pastured chicken eggs are more nutrient-dense and healthy than their conventional counterparts. And, if you're willing to stray further off the beaten track, chickens aren't the only birds that lay delicious and healthy eggs. Quail, duck, and goose eggs are all popular alternatives to the chicken, offering variety and different nutritional benefits. | GNOWFGLINS.com

All eggs are not created equal. By now, it is well known in the real food community that pastured chicken eggs are more nutrient-dense and healthy than their conventional counterparts (see a study and visual published by Mother Earth News).

If you’re willing to stray further off the beaten track, chickens aren’t the only birds that lay delicious and healthy eggs. Quail, duck, and goose eggs are all popular alternatives to the chicken, offering variety and different nutritional benefits. For one thing, if you’re allergic to chicken eggs, don’t give up hope! You may be able to eat eggs from a different species.

Goose

My toddler loves goose eggs, so they are quite a staple in our home. Goose eggs, however, are much larger than chicken eggs, so in a recipe, one goose egg can take the place of two or three chicken eggs. Compared to chicken eggs, they contain a larger proportion of yolk to egg white. An article by Andrea Cespedes states that not only do they have over three times the amount of protein than chicken eggs, but they are also rich in vitamin A and iron.

If you’re baking with goose eggs, you may need to add an extra chicken egg white so the result isn’t too dense. According to The Kitchn, goose eggs make excellent egg noodles because they are so rich.

Duck

While similar to goose eggs in that duck eggs have large yolks, high protein, and a nutrition density higher than that of chicken eggs, duck eggs are a lot closer in size to a large or jumbo-sized chicken egg. According to Local Harvest, duck eggs stay fresh longer and are an alkaline-producing food that aids in fighting cancer. Duck eggs make baked goods fluffy and light with a rich flavor, but they can be rubbery when overcooked.

A Washington Post article featuring duck eggs suggests using one duck egg for every chicken egg in a recipe that calls for three eggs or fewer, but if the recipe calls for more than three eggs, use three duck eggs for every four chicken eggs.

Quail

Quail eggs, while tiny, pack a powerful nutritional punch. Not only do they help with digestive disorders and asthma, but compared with chicken eggs, they are higher in protein, vitamin B, iron, and potassium. They don’t work as well as a replacement for chicken eggs in recipes, however, because of their small size, so they are best cooked as a stand-alone addition to a meal. Deviled quail eggs are a delicious and dainty treat.

Deviled Quail Eggs

  • 1 dozen quail eggs
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • fresh chives
  • paprika

Place eggs in pot with salted water. The salt helps in the process of peeling the eggs — they are so small it can prove difficult otherwise! Bring to a boil and then let it boil for 4 minutes. Once done, remove from the pot and peel the eggs. Cut them in half and remove yolks, whisking them in a bowl with the mayo and Dijon. Fill the egg whites with the mixture and top with chives and a gentle sprinkle of paprika.

Have you gone “beyond the chicken”? How do you like your eggs from other species?

Pictured above: quail eggs.

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Comments

  1. says

    We’ve really enjoyed our chickens and I have been wondering what other poultry we might be interested in in the future. We have a large pond and ducks and geese have come to mind. I recently was able to buy duck eggs from a local source and we tried them out last night in a sourdough chocolate cake. I don’t know if it was the egg or the sourdough but the result was amazing! They look and taste just like chicken eggs.

  2. says

    I’ve had both duck and goose eggs, and they are good! We used to have a source for local duck eggs, but then I found out that the farmers were feeding the ducks a GMO soy-based feed. So, we stopped buying from them and haven’t found another source. :(

    • says

      We don’t have a good regular source for either, but we do enjoy quail eggs from our dairy farmer now and then. So wonderful. I’m sorry to hear about your duck source – that is so disappointing!

  3. Christine says

    I love quail eggs! I make a lot of Japanese-style bento meals and the small size of quail eggs (hard-cooked or over-easy) make a wonderful protein-packed addition.

  4. Josie J says

    I have been allergic to chicken eggs since 4th grade (several decades ago). I only found out last year that duck eggs are less allergenic, and have since enjoyed them without problem–when I can find them. We now have ducks (which are not laying at the moment) and are looking forward to getting a regular supply of their eggs. We also have chickens, so we expect to have plenty of eggs in the near future. :-)

  5. says

    Great article. “Alternative eggs” is something we’ve dabbled with quite a bit. We tried Muscovy ducks for a while, but after working with quail, we never looked back.

    I jumped onto the quail bandwagon several years ago. Quail require less food, and space while providing more eggs per food input than chickens, and start producing eggs much faster.

    Here’s an amazing quail factoid:
    From a fertile egg,
    17 days in an incubator
    21 days in a brooder
    21 days in a grow out pen to reach full maturity (harvest size)

    59 days from egg to harvest, and at 4-5 weeks of age, they start laying an eggs!

    By comparison, a Early Girl tomato seed takes 59 days to harvest!

    We use our quail mainly for eggs. We use quail eggs for everything you’d use a chicken egg for – even Easter!

    The only REAL issue is opening them raw is tricky. We now use a “quail Egg cutter” to make opening them simple.

    Peace,
    db

  6. Lee says

    Our milk farmer had geese as “watch dogs” and she gave us three of their eggs on one of our visits when my daughter asked for them. I was astounded at how big they were! We used one goose egg to make an omelet big enough for three people! It was a bit rubbery textured but otherwise quite tasty. We’ve also tried duck eggs (very rich!) and would like to try quail but haven’t found any around here yet.

  7. Brandi says

    My breast fed 7 mo old is sensitive to eggs (and dairy and soy) in my diet. I can do without the dairy and soy, but miss the eggs so much! What makes alternative eggs easier on the system? Any experience with non chicken eggs and breast fed babes?

  8. Martha Walker says

    I love my precious quail eggs that I buy from Chicama Run farm in Percellville. The way I open them, is simply with a small serrated knife with a gently sawing motion…haven’t broken a yoke yet…even had a double yolk…WOW. I enjoy them fried in the teensiest pat of butter, simple sublime. My 4yr old granddaughter loves them…told me she shares them with her baby brother and “visits” the eggs in the frig several times a day to make sure they are still there! Hurray for quail eggs!!!

  9. Deborah Allen says

    We raise ducks and quail in addition to our chickens. The quail are a new addition to our back yard, but we have had the ducks for over a year and a half. Duck eggs are fantastic in baked goods. Everyone raves about my daughter’s cakes. Our quail just started laying. I have a couple dozen eggs in the refrigerator waiting for me to decide how to use them! Maybe we’ll try the deviled quail egg recipe above.

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