Diary of a Stay at Home Mom: Brown Egg vs. White Egg vs. Duck Egg

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Brown Egg vs. White Egg vs. Duck Egg

We have been raising chickens for a few years now, and last year we added some ducks to our backyard flock.  Over the years I have sold dozens and dozens of eggs, not to make a profit but simply because we just can't keep up with our layers.  I have had many people ask me about the difference between brown (we also have chickens that lay green eggs) and white eggs as well as the difference between chicken and duck eggs, so I thought I would clear the air. Some people believe that brown eggs taste better or are healthier for you, some people even pay more money at the grocery store for brown eggs thinking that they are getting a better product.  The truth of the matter (and this is according to the Egg Nutrition Board as well as many other reliable sources)  THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between brown, white and green eggs.  Ok, maybe just one difference, the color of their shell.  Different breeds of chickens lay different colored eggs.  Chickens with white feathers and earlobes lay white eggs, chickens with reddish feathers and earlobes lay brown eggs.  So why are brown eggs more expensive?  Brown layers tend to eat more, which may be one reason for the higher egg price.  Bill Finch of the Mobile Register suggests that there is another reason we pay more for these eggs.  Brown eggs may have tasted better at one time because of the diet of the chickens that were laying them.  This is his theory,

"For years, the chickens preferred by commercial growers happened to lay white eggs.  A few smart cooks sought out brown eggs because most of the home-reared American flocks, which had access to flavor-enhancing weeds and bugs, happened to lay brown eggs. Commercial egg producers eventually got wise to this. They started raising chickens that laid brown eggs, and charged a premium for them at the store.  "But because the white AND brown grocery-store eggs are the result of the same bland commercial diet, their eggs taste exactly the same. "


Ok so the moral of the story is:  if you are buying eggs at the grocery store (which I am totally fine with if that is your choice), white or brown are the same thing so don't waste your money.  Now if you want eggs that are fresh, taste better and come from healthy happy free range chickens....well, seek out a farmer or someone who has a backyard flock, and in this case expect to pay a little more.


Now on to our next issue, chicken vs. duck egg.  The most noticeable difference is size.  Duck eggs are much larger than chicken eggs.  The shell is also much tougher which makes them a little harder to crack.  The benefit of a tougher shell gives them a longer shelf life though.  I have read that you can keep duck eggs refrigerated for up to six weeks, but I do recommend eating fresh eggs.  The vitamin content is pretty close with duck eggs having slightly more of the following vitamins thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and retinol.  A 100 gm of duck egg will provide about 185 KCal of energy, compared to 149 KCal of energy provided by a chicken egg and the protein content of a duck egg is slightly higher.

100 gm of duck eggs will have about 3.68 gm of saturated fat, compared to 3.1 gm in chicken eggs. The monounsaturated fat content is about 50% more in duck eggs, as against chicken eggs. The amino acid content profile is also similar for both eggs, but again duck eggs contain more of them. The amino acids included are threonine, isoleucine, trytophan, leucine, methionine, lysine, cystine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, valine, serine, glycine, proline, aspartic acid, histidine, alanine, and arginine.
The one big con to duck eggs is that they have a much higher cholesterol content (almost twice as much) so any one with a history of heart disease should moderate how much they consume.  If you are someone that is trying a higher protein diet on the other hand, consuming these eggs without eating the yolk, will get you more for your money.

Flavor wise there is not much difference, but the duck egg has a smaller water content so they need to be watched closely while cooking so that they are not over cooked which can make them taste a bit rubbery.  Over all, a duck egg can be substituted for a chicken egg in any recipe or dish and actually most expert bakers report that using duck eggs makes their cakes rise higher and provides them with excellent taste due to their high fat content.

And while we are on the subject of eggs, you do not need a rooster for your hens to lay.  Hens will lay with or without a rooster when they are of age, but with a rooster around there is a chance that the eggs may be fertilized.





1 comments:

Forgetful Mom said...

Up until a few weeks ago my Dad had his own chickens and supplied us with eggs. However, it was a retirement - something to do hobby, and we are no longer getting fresh eggs. :-(

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