Friday, 4 May 2012

Duck Eggs - Can You Tell The Difference?

Throughout the week, the only time that I would normally have eggs would be perhaps in a salad or as egg mayonnaise in a sandwich, however at the weekend I don't think there is anything better than eggs for breakfast.

I have been buying free range hens eggs for many years from the various supermarkets that I use, as well as occasionally buying fresh free range hens eggs from farmer market. I think most people will agree with me when I say that eggs don't taste quite like the eggs we used to eat when we were children, even the free range eggs from supermarkets sometimes taste and look quite generic.

As the price of hens eggs have increased alongside the rising costs of most food groups, I have found that the noble duck egg has become an affordable and delicious natural alternative. Before World War II, duck eggs were hugely popular until health scares connecting eating duck eggs and outbreaks of salmonella scare ruined their reputation. The evidence was pretty thin but that didn't stop the conscience of the public being questioned. A mass boycott took hold and the egg producers began to concentrate on the easier farming of chickens.

It got to a point where people forgot why they didn't buy duck eggs, they just didn't buy them. Strangely enough, it took another health scare, connections to salmonella and thanks to the anti-egg crusades of Edwina Currie in the mid 1980's to give the duck egg a chance to get back on the table.

Duck eggs are more expensive, costing about £1.99 for six oddly sized eggs. They can be used as a direct replacement for hens eggs, the yolks are larger and higher in fat than a hens egg making them richer and great for baking. They're also packed with vitamins and minerals and provide a powerful protein boost. Admittedly, they have more cholesterol than a hens egg, almost four times the amount, but as I don't eat duck eggs every day I'll try not to think too much about that.

Duck eggs can be cooked exactly the same ways as regular eggs, scramble them, fry them or boil them. My favourite is poached duck eggs. There isn't as much white as a regular egg but the extra big yolk more than makes up for it. There's nothing better than cutting into a perfectly poached egg and watching the soft yolk oozing out over a slice of hot buttered toast.

The best thing about duck eggs is they taste like how eggs used to taste, it's a difficult thing to explain but I think anyone over then age of 25 will know what I'm talking about. Next time you're in the supermarket or at your local farmers market, get yourself some duck eggs and see if you can taste the difference.


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