Duck Eggs, what’s all the fuss about?

I’m guessing if you don’t know the answer to that then you’ve never eaten a plain ol’ duck egg. See, there is absolutely nothing plain about it.

The egg is a little larger than a hens egg, the shell is thicker and feels almost waxy. It is more porous and therefore the egg fills with air quicker than a chicken egg, hence the reason that a duck egg only has a shelf life of 7 days as opposed to 21 for a hen (*for a little science lesson go peep at the end of this post)

Hen v Muscovy Duck egg

The yolk is huge, with comparatively little white so if you’re a supermodel type who cuts back on calories by binning the best bit of an egg you might want to rethink buying them.

Duck egg on left, hen on right

In baking, duck eggs rock. Muffins are lighter and richer and I swear even pancakes taste better. When we have a glut I make a big batch of egg mayo with them which really makes my Jonny smile.

When it comes to substituting duck for hen eggs in recipes I haven’t found a problem doing a straight swap, ie 1 duck egg for 1 hen egg. Apparently some people weigh out there eggs and work out exactly how much duck egg to use in a recipe and if that’s the way you roll then feel free. However I am more your ‘throw it in and see what comes out’ kinda cook.

Nerdy Sciencey Bit…

All eggs contain an air pocket found in the ‘blunt’ end (ie not the ‘pointy’ end) and this is the reason you should always store eggs pointy end down. In a freshly laid egg this pocket is small but as the days go by the porous shell lets out moisture and lets in air making this pocket bigger.

(If you’ve ever hard boiled an egg 2 or 3 weeks old and then peeled it you’ll notice that it has a dent at one end – this is where the pocket of air once was. The bigger the ‘dent’ – the older the egg)

So, to work out how fresh an egg is put it in a glass of water. A super fresh egg will dutifully lay flat on the bottom of the glass. An egg that is few days older will tilt up at a 45° angle and one that is a week – 10 days old will sit on the bottom of the glass pointing upwards.

However, when the egg floats be warned. Crack it into a small bowl (not directly into your bowl of cake mix) and if there is even the slightest hint off an off smell do not feed that egg to anyone you like. Or anyone you share a house with.

A floating egg is not necessarily gonna make you sick but that is the point to start to be wary.

More thoughts…

I first got my muscovey ducks in 2008 and in my research back then I found out about the 7 day shelf life of duck eggs. I don’t mind stretching that for me by a few days and I’ve never come to any harm but I would never sell eggs older than this as I would be mortified if a customer got sick from my eggs.

However when researching this post I discover people saying that the shelf life is longer than a hens egg due to the thicker shell. I am now a little confused but as I always err on the side of caution when it comes to other peoples health I will stand by the 7 day rule until proved otherwise. If you find definitive, factual evidence either way please let me know x

3 Responses to Duck Eggs, what’s all the fuss about?

  1. Pingback: Google Search… |

  2. anthony twyman says:

    I was rather hoping to find out how long one should boil a Muscovy Duck egg for given it’s larger size, and whether this changes with the age of the egg. Also as I live at 2500 feet above sea-level the water boils at 97 degrees centigrade and a normal chicken egg takes 5 minutes if placed in the boiling water. Any ideas? Otherwise I enjoyed reading your page, and agree with your comments.

    • HedgeComber says:

      Hi Anthony, I have no idea as I live on the coast and I generally only eat them poached or hard boiled! You have me intrigued now though, do let me know when you track down the answer!
      Kind regards, Janie x


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