Monthly archives "December 2009"

duck egg nutrients, compared to chicken eggs

 

a harvest morning on the farm last spring; sugar snap peas, spianch, duck eggs....

a harvest morning on the farm last spring; sugar snap peas, spianch, duck eggs....

Compared to Chicken Eggs, the Duck Egg reigns supreme in nutrients. 

 

 

Notably, they contain twice as much potassium and Vitamin A, three times as much iron, and five times as much Vitamin B12. They also are higher in these nutrients: protein, calcium, magnesium, phosporus, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, and retinol. They also contain twice the amount of monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). 

 

from the newagrarian.com:

 

Duck eggs have a slightly HIGHER FAT CONTENT and somewhat more cholesterol than chicken eggs. Unless you intend to survive exclusively on eggs, I don’t see this as a nutritional problem. It may, in fact, be offset by the possible health benefits of free-range eggs: at least two studies have found that free-range eggs are significantly higher in omega-3 fatty acids than eggs from birds raised in confinement.

 

Duck eggs also have more ALBUMEN (the protein in the white) than chicken eggs, which gives them more structure when cooked. For this reason, many people prefer duck eggs for baking: the extra protein creates additional loft in cakes. Some pastry chefs warn against using duck eggs for this reason, but I have not found it to be a problem.

 

When fried, duck eggs set up firmer than chicken eggs (especially if they are very fresh). Many people call the result “rubbery” and recommend steam-frying them, but I think this is an exaggeration. I have actually grown to prefer the firm texture; the last time I had fried chicken eggs they felt a bit mushy. (The texture is sublime as long as the eggs are not OVER-cooked.)

 

The SHELLS of duck eggs are thicker than those of chicken eggs with a thicker inner membrane, which makes them harder to crack. I was used to cracking eggs on the flat counter to prevent bits of shell getting into the egg, but I’ve gone back to using the edge of a bowl.

Precious duck eggs, frying gently in olive oil. Note the gorgeous orange yolks, and the double yolker on the left!

Precious duck eggs, frying gently in olive oil. Note the gorgeous orange yolks, and the double yolker on the left!

hunting vs farming

I am raising 103 little girl ducklings on a friend’s farm, about 5 minutes from my place. My current farm scenario of less than two acres, with only a couple small buildings, means I have to get creative about raising fragile little ducklings when it is so freezing cold out. I go there and care for them every day, and my friends also do alot of the care- in exchange I will be helping them with farm-sitting for a few weekends next summer so they can leave for once! They have beef cattle and chickens.

This morning at their farm, I heard dogs barking off in the distance the whole time I was there. Not too odd out in the country, but something was definitely going on. I didn’t really think of it, but as I was leaving that farm, I noticed a black blur in the wooded area across the road, and then another black blur that looked like a black lab- they were obviously the dogs I’d heard barking. They were leaping about in the scrub and weeds, and in my gut I knew I was about to see what I didn’t want to. Other than the flash of red that caught my eye, I wouldn’t have seen what the dogs were leaping at. A tiny little female deer, who had been shot in the neck, but not fatally. Do you get shivers to read that? Imagine seeing it. She looked at me from across the road, and then turned and ran away into the deeper woods, the dogs taking passes at her side. The doe had blood all over her rear end, and with the classic white tail standing straight up, flopping back and forth; an eerily cheerful departure. 

My heart hurt. There is nothing I can do in this situation. This doe is destined to die a very scared and slow death, all because a hunter did not get a clean shot, and didn’t track her to make sure she didn’t suffer longer than necessary. I couldn’t help but transport myself to the day last week we shot Edith in the front yard, and harvested her meat. Her death was unexpected by her, there was no fear or build up or prolonging of misery. She was shot, and dead in one second. The reason this came so strongly to mind is that hunting has been a big topic lately, with friends getting venison summer sausage from friends. I haven’t decided how I feel about hunting, and whether or not  I’d  engage as a hunter.  Is what I’m doing on my farm equal to hunting, superior, or inferior? And I also don’t know if I wanted to eat hunted meat. There is just something about it I don’t quite like. Why this is different then taking an animal I raised to her death, I don’t know. We all have to make our own minds up on what is right for ourselves. 

I’m not going to say I am anti-hunting, but in the country, there is sometimes a callousness about it. Of course poor shots can happen, but to see this today was startling. I know many conscientious hunters. Harvesting deer is important to keep the population in check, and they provide a gift of food for many families. I just don’t like to see misery.

the farming year 09, continued

a happy friend with her new baby

a happy friend with her new baby

the other end of the spectrum, here i eat ribs from one the goats who couldn't contribute in any other way. she had a wonderful goat life, full of respect and enjoyment.

the other end of the spectrum, here i eat ribs from one the goats who couldn't contribute in any other way. she had a wonderful goat life, full of respect and enjoyment.

A new experience for me farming this year, was raising animals for consumption.

I read this amazing book called the Compassionate Carnivore, by Catherine Friend. She’s from  down around Northfield, Minnesota. http://www.compassionatecarnivore.com/

It changed my life, but I wasn’t ready to eat animals again. This book reiterated that there IS an ethical way to raise meat animals, and that people are wanting to find those farmers and support them. And I wanted to be one of those farmers. Because who is going to take better care of her animals than a vegan? I’d try raising some animals for “compassionate carnivores.”

When I began milking goats, the realization came quick that every cute baby can’t just stay around my little farm as a pet. I don’t have the room, nor the unlimited cash flow to feed them.The male kids can’t have a future as a milk goat, so inevitably, they will be pets/stud goats elsewhere with an uncertain life, or they will be eaten. Compassionate Carnivore style, this year I kept quality control over each aspect of my kids’ life, from the beginning to the end.

some of my kids, out on pasture, happy and compassionate carnivore style

some of my kids, out on pasture, happy and compassionate carnivore style

A Goat Harvesting workshop was scheduled on my farm on Oct 31st, taught by my skilled friend Don. The kids, after weaning from the mommas, spent the summer and early fall out at a friend’s orchard, where he needed help clearing pasture. I don’t have enough land to facilitate that much pasturing, so this was a very good arrangement. The kids were fat on milk to start, and then they grazed their hearts out, grew lean and big on a buffet of all the classic browse goats love to eat.

To start production of the milk, a goat has to have babies. Babies are a byproduct of milk production, which is strange, as the milk is made for them, because of their creation. Domesticated dairy goats have been selectively bred to produce FAR more milk than their babies would ever drink, for much longer than they would naturally nurse on their moms. My point here is that in order for me to be ok with consuming my girls’ dairy products, I had to acknowledge there would be death involved.

here's my goat transportation system- the back seat!

here's my goat transportation system- the back seat!

At the beginning of fall, they came back from pasturing to my farm, in the back seat of my trusty FUV (farm utility vehicle), a 1997 Ford Taurus! I made sure everyone was healthy and happy, and gave them lots of organic oats and organic corn to fatten them up a bit. Animals get stressed out very easily, so it was important for me to have them back on my farm several weeks before the goat harvesting day, so they were comfortable and settled into the routine.

back home to fatten up and settle down

back home to fatten up and settle down

To view the pictures from the Harvesting Workshop, go here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/stephenfilla/GoatHarvest?feat=email#

I am so grateful to Steve Filla for photographing this day so well, and sharing the pictures.

At the beginning of the workshop, I sold everyone their goat, and then Don taught them how to do everything else. There were ten participants, myself included. We all helped each other, and that way you really absorb what you have learned by repeating it over and over. And having moral support helps too! I explained to them that this is a natural cycle on a farm, the harvesting of animals who won’t be contributing the following year. And in turn, they provide cash flow to feed the other animals. Each person had a respect and an open heart about what they were doing. It was really an amazing day, and a full circle experience for me on my farm. These are the people I wanted to connect with.  I always respected people who could look an an animal as food, vs the typical squeemishness of most. Here we were, looking food in the face, but with a feel of gratitutde not found in any grocery store.

goat meat, freshly harvested

goat meat, freshly harvested

the spine, neck meat, it all gets used. thank you goats.

the spine, neck meat, it all gets used. thank you goats.