Friday, September 21, 2007
farm fresh duck eggs
I am the happiest girl today. For the longest time, I have been searching the ends of Baltimore stores and markets for fresh duck eggs. I'd just about given up my quest when last week at work, I met a local chicken farmer, Homer Walden, who listened intently as I lamented to him my duck egg woes. Walden raises organic chickens using an experimental method of portable pens to round up his chicks. These pens are moved throughout the day to different patches of grass to give the chicks a continuous feed of fresh grass and bugs. In turn, the grasses on which they feed is naturally fertilized by their droppings. It is quite the clever and economical approach to raising happy and clean poultry.
Today, he surprised me at work, bearing half a dozen large, pale white, duck eggs! These are Pekin duck eggs, one of the most commonly domesticated farm bred ducks in the U.S. The eggs are larger than even jumbo size chicken eggs, white, with a thick shell that is more difficult to crack.
Duck eggs are prized by so many bakers, over chicken eggs, because of its unique yolk and whites composition. When whipped, the whites are more stable, giving baked goods incredible volume and lightness. Meanwhile, the yolks have a higher fat content and thus lend desserts more richness. Duck eggs would be perfect in sponge cakes and creme brulees.
I grew up eating duck eggs. They were such an integral part of my childhood- breakfasts with congee and salted duck eggs were a staple. They were of a different breed though, the eggs were smaller and of a pale mossy green color. I'm so ecstatic that I can get fresh duck eggs now..hopefully there are others in Baltimore who equally love them as much. (They are $3 for half a dozen.)