Facts on ostrich eggs

Written by donna g. morton
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Facts on ostrich eggs
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Ostrich eggs come from the world's largest bird, are edible and preferred by some egg-lovers because their health benefits are greater than some of those found in chicken eggs. Ostrich eggs are also large, and a single egg can feed a crowd. Unlike the fragile shells of chicken eggs, the sturdy ostrich egg shell is often used in art and decorating.

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Characteristics

Ostrich eggs weigh 1587-2268g. each, which is equivalent in volume to two dozen chicken eggs. Though the largest of all eggs, they are actually the smallest eggs in relation to the size of the bird. Ostrich hens weigh between 136 and 159kg, according to Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch, located between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. The eggs are ivory coloured with glossy, thick shells marked with small pits. Because of their large size and hard shells, it takes one hour to soft boil a fresh ostrich egg.

Facts on ostrich eggs
Ostrich eggs whip up easily for fluffier pastries and egg dishes.

Cooking

Though fluffier in texture and a little sweeter in flavour, ostrich eggs taste very similar to chicken eggs. Their yolk is a bright yellow-orange and whips up easily, making it a good choice for baked goods, pastries and egg dishes. One ostrich egg yields 10 to 12 servings of scrambled eggs and makes an omelette that will feed 10 people.

Health

Ostrich eggs are significantly lower in cholesterol than chicken eggs and have larger amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The vitamin and mineral contents are almost identical to those found in chicken eggs, though ostrich eggs are slightly lower in vitamin A. A single ostrich egg has 2,000 calories, but dividing it by its chicken egg equivalent (two dozen) lowers the caloric content to 83 calories per serving, which is only six calories higher than a chicken egg.

Artisitic Uses

Besides eating them for thousands of years, people have also used ostrich eggs in arts and crafts. Their hard shells make a strong base for creating goods. Flower vases, candy dishes, mugs and jewellery boxes are only some of the items created from shells, while artists can paint many scenes and designs onto the sturdy canvas of the ostrich egg. Sometimes plain shells alone are used for decoration and are displayed on stands made especially for ostrich eggs.

Origins

An ostrich hen lays 40 to 100 eggs per year, averaging 60 a year. Eggs lay in a single communal nest, which is a simple pit 12 to 24 inches deep and just under 10 feet wide. The male ostrich scrapes the nest in the ground, then shares incubating duties with the hen. She sits on the eggs by day while he takes over at night. This co-parenting is a protective measure that stems from ostriches being desert animals (though they thrive throughout the world), making their eggs highly vulnerable to the thievery of hyenas, jackals and vultures. The hen's brown and grey colouring blends with the sand during daylight hours, while the male's black feathers are undetectable at night.

Where to Buy

You can purchase ostrich eggs from several ostrich farms and ranches, either in person or by ordering them online. Shipping methods vary, and eggs might not be available during the winter months. You can also find ostrich eggs at some farmer's markets, speciality markets and grocery stores that feature exotic, healthy or pure food departments.

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