Many ethnic cuisines, especially in the Western countries, include eggs – by far the most common are chicken eggs. However, there are lots of other, unusual edible healthy eggs that are found in the cuisines of many cultures as well.
Before we get into these other, unusual edible healthy eggs, let’s get something cleared up about “regular” chicken eggs that so many people know and love to eat. The common belief is that brown chicken eggs are healthier food than their white egg counterparts.
Brown eggs are eggs that have been laid by brown or red chickens. White eggs come from white chickens. And the color of the shell is the only difference between the two – their nutritional value is absolutely the same and equal.
Now, when it comes to which chicken eggs are the healthiest for you, there is a significant difference between commercially farmed eggs and eggs produced by free-range, organically grown chickens.
Organic eggs contain substantially higher levels of Vitamins A and E, Omega 3, and beta carotene than commercially produced eggs. Organic eggs thus are not only much more nutritious, they are also tastier. Try a comparison and see for yourself. Additionally, organic eggs have lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, making them the far wiser choice for health-conscious people.
But enough about “regular” chicken eggs. Let’s now get into the main content of this post, and delve into this list of:
Unusual Edible Healthy Eggs
The quail is a smaller cousin of the chicken, and its eggs are also much smaller. But these little eggs are loaded with nutrition!
Consider these beneficial attributes:
- Tremendous Nutritional Value – jam-packed with minerals and vitamins. They are also loaded with the “good” HDL cholesterol.
- They have 2% more protein in them, ounce for ounce, than chicken eggs, and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B2 and A. Quail eggs also contain more phosphorous than chicken eggs.
- There is a significant amount of calcium in quail eggs, enough so that studies have shown that people who regularly consume them benefit from boosted immune systems and healthy hemoglobin levels.
- Asthma and tuberculosis patients can get relief from consuming quail eggs. They contain ovomucoid protein – this type of protein is what you will find in medications prescribed for such ailments. They also contain more calcium and phosphorous than regular eggs as well.
- Do you have an allergic reaction to chicken eggs? And wish you could eat eggs like everyone else? Quail eggs are just for you. Not only are they basically hypoallergenic, quail eggs do not cause diatheses. Incredibly, many people use these eggs in order to fight allergy symptoms. This is thanks again to the levels of ovomucoid protein in them. Ovomucoid protein is commonly the main ingredient in many anti-allergy drugs – and you can skip the trip to the pharmacy and get it directly from nature with quail eggs.
- Because they are so small, if you substitute quail eggs for your usual chicken eggs, you will likely want to eat a lot more of them at one time. However, because of their extremely high level of vitamin A, never eat more than 20 of them in one day. You can overdose on vitamin A, and, if fact, if you eat more than 5 quail eggs in any given day, you should cut back on other foods with high vitamin A levels – fish oil, carrots, etc. If you eat say, 4 or 5 quail eggs with your breakfast you should feel satisfied and be reaping all the health benefits they provide.
Many cosmopolitan cities will have specialty foods stores where you can find and buy quail eggs. If they are not locally available to you and you would like to try some, you can purchase them on our online store here.
Next up on our list of Unusual Edible Healthy Eggs we have …
Quite a bit larger than the common chicken, is its other cousin, the duck.
If you’ve never had duck eggs, when you first taste them you will think they cannot possibly be very healthy for you. They are so intensely rich and delicious in flavor you will think your fat and cholesterol levels must be climbing faster than a thermometer in a bonfire. But nothing could be further from the truth. Duck eggs are one of the most nutritious and good for you foods in the world.
Comparing Duck Eggs to chicken eggs, there is no competition when it comes to nutritional value. Duck eggs win, hands down, no contest, not even close. In every vitamin and mineral category duck eggs have the higher (often much higher) percentage of value, ounce for ounce. The chicken egg only wins out in one category – it does have slightly higher levels of protein. This is because the duck egg has a much larger yolk, with percentage-wise less “white” content. But it is the nutrient rich yolk where all the goodness is delivered. The whites are just empty protein.
Duck eggs also deliver 126 mg of choline, which is of great importance for the health of your liver. Choline deficiency has been shown to be closely related to fatty liver disease. And there are not very many natural food sources for obtaining choline. If you do not eat organ meats, like liver, heart, gizzard, etc., then you should consider adding duck eggs into your diet.
Duck eggs are not usually hard to find in the marketplaces of most major cities. Even rural towns and large villages that have Farmers Markets will often have them available for purchase. However, if you can’t find them locally, you can purchase them at our online store – just click here.
Moving up to an even larger cousin to the common chicken, we have the goose. One goose egg, when cooked, will be roughly equivalent to four chicken eggs, and also has more yolk than the average chicken egg. Thicker shells lend themselves toward a longer shelf life – they can last up to six weeks in the refrigerator. Goose eggs are also a bit higher in protein content, and they have larger concentrations of other nutrients, such as potassium, iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D. Goose eggs do taste a lot like chicken eggs, but they will seem a bit more dry. They are thicker than chicken eggs and their yolks are comparatively more like a custard.
Goose eggs work wonders in recipes for omelets and sweet confections. The especially thick shell of the goose egg also makes it in high demand for artists, who revere it for its ability to be embossed artistically.
Even larger than the Goose is the Turkey, and of course, turkey eggs are also larger then the already very large goose egg. While not as easy to find as chicken eggs, turkey eggs – most often used to yield more turkeys than being sold for consumption, can be used as part of a well balanced diet. Only 135 calories per each large turkey egg, they provide essential nutrients as well as fuel for the body. Turkey eggs will boost your saturated fat intake, which is good for you. However, they are very high in cholesterol, which means even though overall they are good for you, you should practice temperance in consuming them.
The majority of calories in turkey eggs comes from fat. One turkey egg contains 9.4 total grams of fat, and this constitutes 63% of the egg’s total calorie content. 32% of their calorie content is comprised of beneficial protein. Turkey eggs are also very low in carbohydrates, at less than a gram of carbs per egg. Overall, eating turkey eggs is good for your health, just don’t overdo it.
The Ostrich is the largest bird in the modern world.
It does not fly, but can outrun most other animals. Their eggs are, by and enormous margin, the largest of all birds on the planet.
The above image shows an ostrich egg compared with the eggs of a quail (upper left) and the common brown chicken egg.
Measuring as large as 18″ in circumference and about 6″ to 7″ in length, ostrich eggs are definitely the King size of all bird eggs – in fact, they are larger than any other land-dwelling animal’s egg.
You will not likely be able to eat an entire ostrich egg by yourself in one sitting. Each egg is the volume equivalent to two dozen chicken eggs, and contains an entire average diet’s daily calorie consumption of two thousand calories!
One serving of an ostrich egg equal in volume to one chicken egg contains 83 calories – about that of a jumbo-sized chicken egg. As far as protein and fat content, they are also pretty much equal, both with about 45% fat and 47% protein.
As far as vitamins, chicken eggs have a slight advantage. An ostrich egg contains 16.29 IU/g of vitamin A, whereas a chicken egg contains 20.5 IU/g. Even larger is the difference in vitamin E content: only 15.31 IU/g in an ostrich egg, but 39.95 IU/g in a chicken egg. However, compensating for this, ostrich eggs are a much better source of thiamine than chicken eggs.
Okay. So far we have been looking at unusual edible healthy eggs that are laid by members of the bird family. But there are yet other, even more strange and unusual edible healthy eggs that come from other animal families. Let’s look into those now.
Crocodiles strike fear into the hearts and minds of most people, and for good reason. They are man-eaters, if given the chance. But humans turn the tables on them and become the hunter. Crocodiles, as well as their cousins the alligators, are hunted mostly for their tasty meat. What most people don’t know is, crocodile eggs are not also only tasty, they are good, nutritious food.
Perhaps the most unique attribute of crocodile eggs is that they do not contain any yolk. In spite of this, crocodile eggs do contain many nutrients that are essential to the human body. The lecithin content is nearly 2 times higher than chicken eggs.
Studies have also shown that consuming crocodile eggs can lower cholesterol in the blood, enhance memory function, and aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s psychosis. Eating crocodile eggs additionally has a positive effect on the prevention of heart disease, hypertension, and adjuvant treatment of fatty liver and diabetes. Added to its credit, eating crocodile eggs may also help to cure hemorrhoids and assist in eliminating fat in the blood vessel walls.
Next up on our list of Unusual Edible Healthy Eggs, is one that may shock you, depending on where you come from:
A delicacy in Thai cuisine, “Khai Mot Daeng” (ไข่มดเเดง” in Thai) refers to both the pupae and the eggs of red ants.
Indigenous there, red ants (also called weaver ants) are harvested and consumed as food in several countries across Southeast Asia, most notably Laos and Northeastern Thailand. These ant eggs are rich in protein.
Red (weaver) ants eat mango leaves, so eating the ants themselves, Thai people say, is like tasting a squirt of lime. Which they enjoy. But the eggs are something quite different.
Weaver ant eggs are a high source of protein. 100 grams of red ant eggs will contain more than 8.2 grams of protein. While a chicken egg contains more than 11.7 grams of fat, ant eggs percentage-wise contain only 2.6 grams. Ant eggs also contain other beneficial minerals such as: calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and Niacin.
Caviar is the unfertilized eggs of salmon, herring, cod, and many other fishes. It is a delicacy in many cultures, as a garnish or a spread in gourmet meals and appetizers. The eggs are salt-cured, usually canned or bottled, and sold worldwide.
Caviar is a preferred condiment of the privileged, and typically taken in small amounts at a time. There are four main types of caviar: Sterlet, Ossetra, Beluga, and Sevruga. Harvested from the ovaries of female fish, traditionally commercial caviar production involves stunning the fish, and then extracting the ovaries – which contain all the eggs, or “roe”. The eggs are then treated with salt, and canned.
Caviar is not really a “health food” for daily and excessive consumption, but it does have some considerable health benefits if taken in moderation.
- One tablespoon of caviar contains more than one gram of Omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends trying to get 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids every day for optimal heart health. So taking just this small amount will supply all you need in one day.
- Caviar is high in vitamin B12, which is responsible for making red blood cells and assisting your body in using fatty acids.
- Caviar also contains selenium. Selenium serves as an antioxidant. Together with vitamin E, it helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and other compounds in the body. Agents that can often lead to heart disease and even cancer. Selenium is important as a trace mineral that helps to boost the body’s immune functions and supporting healthy growth of cells.
For a good selection of high quality caviar, go here on our online store.
Nicaraguans have, for centuries, consumed softshell turtle eggs in the belief that they have aphrodisiac qualities. However, modern science has debunked this myth. Still and all, even though turtle eggs may not enhance your libido and bedroom performance, they are extremely healthy food to eat. Consider these facts:
- Each softshell turtle egg contains more than twice the amount of beneficial minerals than a chicken egg.
- Turtle eggs deliver three times the amount of DHA (crucial for brain and nerve tissue development and function) found in chicken eggs.
- One turtle egg contains more than four time the amount of EPA as found in a quail egg. Chicken eggs contain no EPA at all—EPA helps to keep the blood fluid, lowers “bad” cholesterols and triglycerides, and raises levels of “good” cholesterol, which helps prevent or attenuate the risk of arteriosclerosis, cerebral infarction, stroke, thrombosis, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension.
- Far less calories! A large chicken egg, hard boiled, is usually about 75 calories. Turtle eggs will normally add only about 45 calories to your diet.
- Healthy fats content—turtle eggs have just a little less fat than a chicken egg, but still beneficial levels.
- One chicken egg will deliver about 12 grams of protein. Turtle eggs have 14 grams of protein.
Believe it or not, shark eggs are good food for humans to eat.
The image on the left is of a Port Jackson shark egg. Its shape, a spiral twist, allows the mother to safely crevice it into rock formations, keeping it safe from predators.
The chemical characterization and nutritional value of the eggs laid by five deep-sea sharks were examined in a recent study. The “leafscale gulper shark” (Centrophorus squamosus), “greater lantern shark” (Etmopterus princeps), “longnose velvet dogfish” (Centroscymnus crepidater), “Portuguese dogfish” (Centroscymnus coelolepis) and the “black dogfish” (Centrocyllium fabricii) were captured at Hatton Bank in the North Atlantic, and their eggs were examined and studied.
Chemical compositions of all the eggs proved to be quite similar for all of them. Dominant fatty acids in all of the eggs was the monounsaturated fatty acid C18:1. The content only varied from 27% to 39%. The shark eggs also had a relatively high level of C16:0 (13% to 18.5%) and C22:6n-3 (10.3% to 15.1%). Two main lipid classes were also prevalent in the eggs: triacylglycerols (36% to 55%) and phospholipids (34% to 41%). The eggs also had very high amounts of vitamins E and A. These shark eggs are also especially rich in amino acids: glutamic acid, leucine, arginine and aspartic acids.
Sharks eat people, if given the opportunity, so hey – why not turn the tables on them and eat their eggs? Might be hard to find, but if you get the chance to eat shark’s eggs, do so in full confidence that what you are eating is very good for your health.
So there you have it, some unusual edible healthy eggs that you can certainly include in your diet. Enjoy, and please leave a comment. Have you tried any of these unusual edible healthy eggs? Tell us about it. I would love to hear from you, your experience, and interact with you in our joint adventures into the wonderful world of ethnic food adventures!
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