4 Reasons Why We Don’t Eat Turkey Eggs

Turkey eggs on white background

Although they may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about eggs, turkey eggs taste just as good as the popular chicken eggs.

So, why aren’t they a regular item in grocery stores or on breakfast tables?

You might be wondering if there’s something about turkey eggs that makes them less ideal for eating. The answer is actually quite the opposite; turkey eggs are full of nutrients and have a rich taste.

However, several factors play a role in their limited presence in our food culture. This article will explore these various reasons, from the economics of turkey egg production to consumer tastes and traditions. Let’s begin!

Why Don’t We Eat Turkey Eggs?

Turkey egg on a nest

Despite being perfectly edible, turkey eggs are rarely found on people’s dining tables. Here are the reasons why this is the case.

1. Size Considerations

One of the primary reasons why people don’t eat turkey eggs as often as chicken eggs is their size. Turkey eggs are considerably larger than chicken eggs, which can make them less practical for everyday culinary use. 

Their larger size means they require more cooking time and may not fit well into standard recipes designed for chicken eggs.

They also have a thicker and tougher shell, which makes them harder to crack. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can affect how they are used in cooking.

Thus, people tend to stick with the more convenient and readily available chicken eggs.

2. Limited Egg Production

Turkeys don’t lay as many eggs as chickens. While a chicken can lay an egg nearly every day, turkeys only lay about two eggs per week.

Because of this lower rate of egg production, farmers are more inclined to raise turkeys for meat instead of eggs. This reduces the availability of turkey eggs on the market.

As a result, turkey eggs are less likely to be found in grocery stores or used in everyday cooking.

3. Higher Costs of Raising Turkeys

Raising turkeys for their eggs is far more expensive than raising chickens, as turkeys need a larger living space and more feed.

Moreover, turkeys mature slower than chickens and take a longer time to start laying eggs. Chickens can start laying eggs when they’re about 4 to 6 months old, but turkeys might take up to 7 months or more.

All of these factors combined contribute to higher maintenance costs. So, if turkey eggs were sold commercially, they are likely to cost more than chicken eggs, making them less appealing to consumers.

4. Consumer Preferences and Traditions

The preference for chicken eggs over turkey eggs comes from tradition and familiarity. People tend to prefer chicken eggs because it’s what they’re used to and have been eating for generations.

In contrast, turkey eggs are much less common; many people have never even seen them in grocery stores or markets. This lack of familiarity means there’s little demand for turkey eggs, so farmers are less likely to produce them.

Hence, turkey eggs remain a rare and less-known option compared to the common and familiar chicken eggs.

Fun Fact: Long before turkey eggs became a rarity, the Aztecs were ahead of their time in the culinary world. According to the Florentine Codex, the Aztecs were among the earliest known civilizations to use turkey eggs in their cuisine. They used turkey eggs as fillings for their early versions of tamales and tacos.

Comparing Turkey Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs

Turkey egg beside a chiken egg

To understand why turkey eggs aren’t eaten as often as chicken eggs, it’s essential to compare the two and identify their differences.

While both are eggs, they both have unique qualities that make one more appealing than the other.

Size and Appearance

Given the significant size difference between turkeys and chickens, it’s not surprising that turkey eggs are much bigger than chicken eggs.

Turkey eggs are usually about twice as big as chicken eggs, which means they are also considerably heavier. A typical turkey egg can weigh around 2.5 ounces, while a standard chicken egg usually weighs about 1.6 ounces.

When it comes to how the eggshells look, both turkey and chicken eggs have a similar shape – an oval with one end slightly more pointed than the other.

However, turkey eggs have thicker shells compared to chicken eggs, which makes them harder to crack open. Also, they often have a mottled appearance with irregular spots or speckles.

This unique shell pattern sets turkey eggs apart from the typically smooth and even shells of chicken eggs.

Yolk-to-White Ratio

When comparing the inside of turkey eggs to chicken eggs, there’s a noticeable difference in how much yolk and white each egg contains.

A study found that turkey eggs have a higher yolk-to-total egg weight ratio, which means that turkey eggs have more yolk than chicken eggs. This makes the yolk in turkey eggs creamier and richer.

Specifically, turkey eggs have about 28.4% yolk in relation to their total weight, while chicken eggs have about 25.3%.

Additionally, the amount of egg white is slightly higher in turkey eggs, at 55.48%, compared to 55.44% in chicken eggs.

These findings suggest that turkey eggs have superior physical traits and chemical composition compared to chicken eggs. But even with these benefits, many people don’t eat turkey eggs.

Nutritional Value

Turkey eggs and chicken eggs are pretty similar in what they offer nutrition-wise, but turkey eggs have a bit of an edge. Both are great at providing essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals.

They’re packed with essential amino acids and B vitamins, which are great for energy and muscle health.

Turkey eggs, though, pack a bigger punch in terms of nutrients. They have more calories, protein, and fat than chicken eggs. They’re especially rich in vitamin B12 and vitamin E.

Plus, they’ve got a good amount of minerals like selenium and phosphorus, which are important for a strong immune system and bones.

However, turkey eggs also have more cholesterol than chicken eggs. So, if you’re watching your cholesterol, this is something to consider.

Taste and Use in Cooking

Taste-wise, turkey eggs are similar to chicken eggs but with a richer and slightly creamier flavor. Whether this richness is good or not really depends on what you’re cooking.

The creamy and rich yolks of turkey eggs work well in baked goods like cakes and pastries. They can add a depth of flavor and texture that you might not get with chicken eggs.

However, their larger size also means that you’ll need to tweak your cooking times and methods a bit.

When I want to use turkey eggs in a recipe that calls for chicken eggs, I just follow this easy rule: I use one turkey egg for every two chicken eggs.

I tried this out while making a quiche, and it turned out great. Turkey eggs are bigger and richer, so they made the quiche extra tasty and filling. It’s a simple change that makes a big difference in the flavor and heartiness of the dish.

If you want to know how to cook turkey eggs and how they taste, watch this video:

Turkey Eggs For Breakfast

Turkey Egg Nutrition and Health Benefits

Turkey eggs are not just a larger alternative to chicken eggs; they also offer a unique nutritional profile. Here’s a look at some of the key benefits and nutrients found in turkey eggs:

  • Rich in Protein: With around 10.8 grams of protein per egg, turkey eggs are a great source of high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle building and repair.
  • More Fat, But Nutritious: Each turkey egg contains about 9 grams of fat, including healthy fats that are important for brain health and energy.
  • Higher Calorie Content: At about 135 calories each, turkey eggs are higher in calories than the average chicken egg, which has 72 calories. This makes them a more energy-dense food choice.
  • Packed with Vitamins: Turkey eggs are packed with essential vitamins, including vitamin A for vision and immune function, B vitamins for energy metabolism, and vitamin E, an important antioxidant.
  • Good Source of Iron: Each turkey egg contains 3.24 milligrams of iron, which is equivalent to 18% of the daily requirement for women and 41% for men. Iron is crucial for forming red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body.
  • Rich in Selenium: Eating a turkey egg increases your selenium intake by 27.1 micrograms, which is about half of the daily recommended amount. Selenium is important for thyroid and immune health.

With the health benefits listed above, adding turkey eggs to your diet can be a tasty and healthy alternative to the more common chicken eggs.

Nonetheless, it’s essential to be mindful of their slightly higher cholesterol content, particularly if you have specific dietary requirements or cholesterol concerns.

Where to Find Turkey Eggs

Turkey covering its eggs on the nest

Finding turkey eggs can be challenging since they’re not as readily available as chicken eggs. However, there are several places where you might have luck.

Farmers’ markets are a great starting point; they often feature local producers who might have turkey eggs for sale.

Local farms that raise turkeys are also worth checking out, as they sometimes sell eggs directly to consumers.

Some poultry hatcheries that specialize in turkey breeds might also sell turkey eggs. This is more common for those looking for fertilized eggs for hatching, but some hatcheries might sell them for consumption as well.

In addition to these physical locations, many poultry farms have their own websites where they sell turkey eggs.

Some notable ones include One Willow Farm, Lasher Meadows Farm, the Dancing Farm, and Woody Family Farms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Six turkey eggs on a nest

Can You Eat Turkey Eggs?

Absolutely, you can eat turkey eggs! They’re just like chicken eggs, but bigger and with a richer taste. They’re packed with nutrients, too.

If you do happen to find them, they can be a tasty and nutritious addition to your meals.

Why Are Turkey Eggs Not Sold?

Turkey eggs are not widely sold because it’s expensive to produce them, and not many people want to buy them. Turkeys are large birds and need more food and care, which makes it cost more to get their eggs.

Plus, most people are more used to chicken eggs, so there’s not much demand for turkey eggs.

Why Are Turkey Eggs Expensive?

Turkey eggs are expensive because turkeys lay fewer eggs and need more resources, like space and food, compared to chickens. They also take longer to start laying eggs.

This means it’s more expensive for farmers to raise turkeys just for their eggs. So, with fewer eggs and higher costs to take care of turkeys, their eggs end up being pricier.

How Often Do Turkeys Lay Eggs?

Turkeys usually lay around two eggs per week. This rate can vary depending on the type of turkey and where they live, but in general, they don’t lay eggs as often as some other poultry.

So, what are your thoughts on turkey eggs? Have you ever tried them, or would you like to? Share your experiences and opinions, or ask any questions in the comments below!

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