The humble egg – it’s a kitchen staple all over the globe. Nourishing, versatile, and tasty. However, we’re so used to consuming chicken eggs, that it’s easy to overlook the fact that there are other, even more delicious choices.
So if you love eggs, and are ready to change things a little, our list of the world’s most expensive and interesting eggs will get you started on an eggciting culinary journey (Sorry, we couldn’t resist including at least one egg-related pun ).
1. Ostrich Eggs
As ostriches are the largest species of bird in the world, it’s no surprise that they lay giant eggs. Ostrich eggs have a circumference of 15-18 inches and measure around 6 inches from base to tip. A single egg will weigh close to 3.1 pounds, which isn’t surprising as the pearly white or cream-colored ostrich shells are more than half an inch thick!
Ostrich eggs are highly nutritious. A single egg provides almost 2,000 calories, with protein accounting for 47% (940 calories). An additional 886 calories come from the fat, which is mainly found in the yolk. Ostrich eggs are rich in vitamins A, E, B1 (thiamine), and B2 (riboflavin). They’re also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and trace elements such as magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, and iron.
Female ostriches lay between 2 and 7 eggs in each batch in a single, communal nest or pit. Each egg takes 35-45 days to incubate, which explains why even farmed ostrich eggs are expensive.
Expect to pay around $30 per ostrich egg – and, providing you have a pan large enough, enjoy this spectacular treat boiled, scrambled, or in an omelet.
2. Emu Eggs
Emu eggs are prized for their beautiful deep blue-green shells, which resemble a giant avocado.
What’s fascinating is that male emus are the most devoted dads of the bird world. First, these quirky Australian natives build a nest and wait for females to come along. Then, once their chosen one has laid her clutch, she wastes no time heading off in search for a new mate.
Meanwhile, dad emu incubates the eggs – for 56 days. He doesn’t leave the nest to eat or drink during this entire time and loses around a third of his body weight. Once the chicks are born, he protects them for up to 2 years – chasing away any approaching females – including their mother.
Use one emu egg in place of 12-15 hens’ eggs. They have a mild flavor and are perfect for omelets and frittatas when you have a large group of guests to feed. Or, crack one and fry it in hot oil, making a fun fried egg centerpiece for a special breakfast. Expect to pay around $30 per egg.
3. Gull Eggs
The eggs of the black-headed gull are a uniquely British delicacy and demand always outstrips supply.
How come? Well, they’re only available for 3 or 4 weeks per year. The gulls only nest in 6 sites around the UK, near the coastline and in certain marshes and nature reserves. A small band of licensed collectors (aka eggers) are authorized to take just a single egg per nest.
Gull egg shells are a beautiful sage green, flecked with dark amber. Inside, the intensely creamy yolks are bright orange. Enthusiasts describe the flavor as rich, with a unique and subtle aftertaste.
It makes sense to keep it simple when you’re preparing them. Try them soft-boiled, perhaps served with fresh asparagus, which comes into season at the same time as the eggs arrive on the market. Season with a pinch of sea salt, and enjoy.
The typical price is around $10 per egg.
4. Turkey Eggs
Given how many turkeys are raised for the holidays each year, it may seem strange that we don’t find their eggs in every supermarket.
The explanation is that they take longer to raise, eat more, and only lay a couple of eggs a week at best, so the economics make it unappealing for farmers to produce turkey eggs commercially.
However, if you can find a supply, expect to pay $3 per egg, or $36 per dozen.
Weighing around 90g each, turkey eggs are approximately 50% bigger than hen’s eggs. Each one contains almost twice as many calories (about 135), 11 grams of protein (vs. 6 grams in a chicken’s egg), and 9 grams of fat (compared to 5 grams).
Their taste, though, is similar to chickens’ eggs. Their shells are usually white or cream, with brown freckles, and are much tougher to crack than a hen’s egg.
5. Goose Eggs
Unlike chickens and ducks, geese lay best when there are only about 10 hours of natural light per day – so their eggs tend to be available only in early spring.
They’re around three times the size of a chicken egg. So while a chicken egg contains about 72 calories, a goose egg packs around 265, including 19g of fat and 20g of protein.
The white shell accounts for 12% of the total weight, the egg white 57%, and the yolk 31%.
As the taste is pretty similar to that of chicken eggs, goose eggs can be fried, scrambled, and used in virtually any recipe. However, at around $3 per egg, it may be more economical to save them for special occasions and stick to chicken eggs for everyday cooking.
6. Duck Eggs
You’re in for a wonderful culinary experience if you can get hold of duck eggs.
They have a far larger and richer yolk than chicken eggs, which is why chefs prize them so much. Also, because of the average duck’s more varied diet, they contain a higher concentration of nutrients (especially protein).
Duck eggs are around 50% larger than standard hen’s eggs. The color of the shell varies by breed and can range from the palest silver-gray, through brown and green, to almost black.
Although they’re more expensive than chicken eggs, when you’re looking for a treat that’s nutritious and delicious, duck eggs are well worth the $1 each ($6-$12 per dozen) you can expect to pay in farmer’s markets.
7. Guinea Fowl Eggs
With their drama-queen antics and constant ear-splitting squawks, guinea fowl are some of the most entertaining birds you’ll ever come across. Unfortunately, they’re less well-known for the fantastic eggs they produce, but if you can find some, don’t miss the opportunity to sample them – you’re in for a treat.
Guinea fowl eggs are typically smaller and pointier than chicken eggs, with colors ranging from light to mid-brown with dark brown speckles.
They have a richer flavor and a creamier texture due to their comparatively larger yolk size. In addition, as guinea fowl are tireless foragers, hunting for insects, slugs, and even small lizards, their orangey egg yolks are also richer in protein.
Guinea fowl eggs can be used in the same ways as chicken eggs and make a good substitute. However, they’re not usually an economical option due to their scarcity – typically retailing at around $1 per egg. Keep them for special occasions when you want to impress your guests with something different.
8. Quail Eggs
Tiny and delicate, with beautiful pale shells flecked with deep brown, quail eggs are a treat for the eyes as well as the palate.
While eggs from commercially-raised quail may not taste all that different from hen’s eggs, those from free-ranging birds with a more varied diet are likely to be much richer and creamier.
The nutritional profile of quail eggs is similar to that of chicken eggs, but, gram for gram, they provide more vitamin B12 and iron.
Scramble, fry, boil, bake, and even pickle them – though you’ll need 4 or 5 quail eggs in place of a single chicken’s egg, and the cooking time will be much shorter.
You’ll likely be paying $3-$5 per dozen, so perhaps it’s best to regard quails eggs as a special treat. They make a popular starter when served with fresh asparagus and butter.
9. Organic Large Brown Hens’ Eggs
What’s so special about organic large brown hens eggs? Let’s take this one feature at a time.
Organic eggs are valued over mass-produced ones by health-conscious consumers as, in the USA and Europe, their diet has to meet strict standards. Their feed must be 100% free of herbicides, pesticides, and other organic residues. To gain organic certification, farmers also have to guarantee high welfare standards and medical care, so you can be sure that the chickens won’t be injected with routine antibiotics or growth hormones.
As for nutrition, organic eggs are richer in Omega 3s, vitamin A and Vitamin E than other commercially produced eggs. Fans claim they have a richer flavor and creamier texture than battery eggs.
The size and shell color depend on the breed of the chicken, with no impact on the taste or nutrition of the egg.
At $3.50 -$5 per dozen, these tasty and readily available eggs are a wise choice for health conscious consumers who prioritize animal welfare and environmental sustainability.
10. Pheasant Eggs
Pheasant eggs are about half the size of hens’ eggs. Not only tasty, they’re also a nutrient-dense, being especially rich in vitamins B1 and B2, D, and E.
They have a richer flavor than chicken eggs and make a great substitute – they’re especially delicious when hard-boiled, making an excellent snack that everyone, from kids to keto fanatics, will love. Pheasant eggshells can be a rich brown or olive green. At around $2 per dozen, they’re not much more expensive than regular chicken eggs, so give them a try!
11. Vegetarian-fed Large Brown Hens’ Eggs
At $2-$3 a dozen, the humble chicken egg is an underrated superfood. Endlessly versatile and packed with nutrition, they’re a staple ingredient for home cooks and professional chefs.
The size and shell color depends on the breed of chicken and its diet. Although certain eggs are claimed to be from ‘vegetarian-fed’ hens, anyone who’s ever raised chickens outdoors will tell you that they regard any passing insect or worm as a tasty, protein-rich treat. In nature, vegetarian chickens don’t exist.
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