Duck Eggs: What’s the Big Deal?

I’ve been (half) joking with Charles for some time now that I’d quite like to have a gaggle of chickens in the garden, because us bakers go through an awfully large number of eggs, but with a prevalence of local foxes and Charles’ declaration that “if you get chickens, you’re looking after them yourself”. Knowing how much I hate getting up early in the morning, the crafty blighter knew that’s all it would take to put me off.

Should we get chickens?
“Ducks are much cooler”was the next word in a discussion I thought had been put to bed, and I admitted that it would be pretty awesome to have a gaggle of ducks in the garden, especially as there’s a little bit of river passing the end of the Brooker land, near where our forever house is likely to be. We agreed that it was just as possible to eat duck eggs as chicken eggs, and in fact many bakers applaud their fluffiness in cakes and pastries. One problem here, though: neither of us had ever tried a duck egg.

Duck Eggs: What's the big deal?
When we were at the local fruit and veg man in Kelso, Charles’ beady eye happened upon a couple of boxes of duck eggs, priced at £2.50 per half dozen (so far so expensive) and suggested that we ought to try them at long last. As we were both feeling particularly giddy and handsy when presented with all this glorious fresh fruit and veg, they made it into the basket.

How to boil duck eggs
Lunch the very next day was, therefore, salad and a boiled duck egg, after some frantic Googling as to how one cooks such a beast. Apparently their shells are thicker and their yolks larger and more calorific, and all in all they need almost twice as much time in the boiling water than a hen’s egg, at a recommended 6 to 7 minutes of boiling.

What do duck eggs taste like?

As I had heard all sorts of horror stories about duck eggs being poisonous, I was keen to follow the guidance on cooking the eggs long enough to ensure the whites didn’t end up at all runny, so went for the 6 minute attack, although they were so filled with residual hear that by the time they got to the table and had their tops lopped off, they were erring on the side of soft boiled rather than gooey and drippy. Still, at least they weren’t hard boiled.

How to cook duck eggs
Our collective conclusion was that they tasted very much like hen’s eggs, only slightly more rubbery as whites go and slightly more generous on yolk size. Personally I’m still pretty taken by the gorgeous blue colour they can appear as, although they are mostly plain old white. After another couple of eggy lunches with adjusted cooking times and removing the tops as soon as they came out of the pot, we almost nailed it at 5 1/2 minutes, but the yolk still solidified relatively quickly.

What's the big deal with duck eggs?
Conclusion? Very expensive hens’ eggs but perhaps worth it in baking. A little research suggests these may have been milder tasting duck eggs as a lot of their flavour supposedly depends on what the bird eats. Either way, they’re not disgusting so ducks are definitely a possibility.

Next up? Guinea fowl eggs…if only we can get hold of some….

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