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Give Chickens a Rest and Cook With Duck Eggs This Spring

Give your pantry and cooking a lively lift by incorporating duck eggs.

Give your pantry — and your cooking — a lively lift by incorporating duck eggs this season.

Benefits. Duck eggs make baked goods fluffier and richer. Compared to chicken eggs, they contain more albumen, the protein in egg whites that helps cakes rise. In addition, they keep longer. Thicker shells make duck eggs a little more difficult to crack, but also extend their shelf life, lasting up to six weeks.

How to cook. Incorporate duck eggs into your baking and cooking  in the same way you would with chicken eggs. Since they’re larger, you may need to use fewer eggs than a recipe calls for. The deep orange yolks of pasture-raised duck eggs look beautiful sunny side up, just be careful not to overcook them. Duck eggs fry more firmly and may taste rubbery if overdone.

Nutrition. While a typical duck egg weighs in at 70g compared to a 50g chicken egg, the nutritional difference between them is only partly based on size.

“Gram per gram, duck eggs contain a significantly higher amount of cholesterol, and slightly higher amounts of fat and calories,” says Justin Heaton, RD, campus dietician for Northwestern University. 

If you are concerned about your cholesterol intake, the high amount in one duck egg, as much as 620mg, might be a turn off. However, duck eggs are also richer in other nutrients, including potassium, iron, vitamin A, the B vitamins, and zinc.

“A good way to reduce cholesterol intake is to avoid the yolk portion,” Heaton says. “The albumen in eggs contains more than half of the protein of the entire egg, and many of the important vitamins and minerals, without any [of] the fat.”

This characteristic also makes duck eggs perfect for gluten free baking. When baking cookies, the additional protein helps bind the ingredients together, resulting in a texture more like if you had made them with their chicken egg cousins, and all without the wheat.