Have you ever wondered why you never seem to see a turkey egg? After all, you can buy the eggs of most other domesticated poultry, and while nothing really comes close to chicken eggs in terms of popularity, it’s not uncommon to see duck eggs, goose eggs or quail eggs for sale in stores or at markets. Turkeys must lay eggs, right? So why is it that they seem to be off the menu?
Do turkeys lay eggs?
Like all birds, turkeys lay eggs, but they don’t lay as frequently, or begin laying as early as a chicken. Chickens can lay around 300 eggs a year to a turkey’s 100, and while chickens begin laying after approximately 5 months, turkeys begin later, at around 7 months old.
This makes turkeys much less profitable to farm, at least in terms of their eggs. A chicken requires less food than a turkey, produces 3 times as many eggs, and even gets a 2-month head start. On the rare occasion that turkey eggs are seen for sale, they can be anywhere from $2 to $3 for a single egg.
Is it safe to eat them?
Turkey eggs are absolutely safe to eat. As with any type of egg, it is best to cook, or at least pasteurise them first, to kill harmful bacteria. In fact, turkey eggs are actually pretty good for you. They’re a great source of protein, as well as iron, folic acid and vitamin B12. Really, the only problem with eating turkey eggs is finding one in the first place.
Differences between turkey and chicken eggs
Turkey eggs are about 50 percent larger than chicken eggs, weighing 90 grams on average compared to 50 grams for a chicken egg. Their shells can be white, cream-coloured, brown, or speckled, and the thinner end is noticeably pointier than in chicken eggs.
Both the shell itself and the membrane that separates the egg from the shell are thicker in turkey eggs, making them slightly harder to crack. They are somewhat richer than chicken eggs, with almost twice the calories, protein and fat, despite being just 50 percent larger.
Other than these small differences, turkey and chicken eggs are fairly similar, with a similar flavour, and similar nutrients, albeit in slightly different proportions. If you do manage to find a turkey egg, you could easily use it in a recipe that calls for chicken eggs. Just remember that you won’t need as many.
It is very difficult to tell the difference between turkey and chicken eggs in terms of taste. Most people agree that they are almost identical, although you may be able to detect a slightly creamier taste in turkey eggs thanks to their relatively higher fat content. This is very slight, however, and turkey eggs are far closer in flavour to a chicken’s egg than something extra-rich, like a duck’s egg.
Turkey eggs nutrition
Turkey eggs are nutritionally similar to chicken eggs, although they are slightly fattier and more calorific, even when you adjust for their larger size. The average turkey egg contains 135 calories to a chicken egg’s 72, with 9 grams of fat versus 5 grams for chicken eggs. They also contain more than twice as much cholesterol.
That said, there are some benefits to choosing turkey eggs. They contain almost twice as much protein as chicken eggs, at an average of 9 grams to 5. This is good news, as egg protein is particularly good for you, containing all of the essential amino acids your body needs but is unable to produce itself.
Turkey eggs are a good source of B vitamins, and vitamins B12 and B9 (folate) in particular. They are also rich in vitamin A and iron, and provide some of your daily requirement of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
Where to find turkey eggs
Turkey eggs are extremely difficult to get hold of, and you’re unlikely to find any at your local store. A farmer’s market may be a better bet, but even here you may have no luck. If you really want to track some down, you could try contacting farms that specialise in heritage turkeys to see if they sell eggs. The time of year may also have a bearing on availability, as turkeys lay most of their eggs between April and June.
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