Why Don't We Eat Turkey Eggs?

Turkey is good enough for your holiday dinner, but the eggs are a bit too pricey for your omelet.
Turkey is good enough for your holiday dinner, but the eggs are a bit too pricey for your omelet. / Creative-Family/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Though we typically associate turkey with Thanksgiving, it's a popular dish year-round and is the fourth most-consumed meat in the U.S. behind chicken, beef, and pork. Despite this, turkey eggs are missing from the shelves of supermarkets and even specialty grocery stores. But that apparently has nothing to do with their edibility. They reportedly taste just as good as chicken eggs—or even better, according to some people—but the eggs laid by this all-American bird are impractical to produce.

According to Modern Farmer, selling turkey eggs isn't economically feasible for most farmers already raising the birds for slaughter. Mature female turkeys lay a maximum of two eggs per week. Compare that to chickens and ducks, which produce roughly one egg a day. Because turkeys live longer than chickens, they take more time to reach egg-laying age: about 7 months instead of 5. These big birds also need more space and feed to live on a farm than their smaller relatives. Factor in the time and resources required to produce them and turkey eggs end up costing upwards of $3 each, or nearly double the average price of a carton of one dozen chicken eggs.

Plenty of luxury food items sell for more than $3, but are turkey eggs worth the extravagant cost? People who have sampled the product say they taste similar to the much cheaper chicken egg, which means the answer is probably not. The biggest difference between the two eggs is the size. Turkey eggs are slightly larger; they also have a harder shell and thicker membrane.

According to some connoisseurs, turkey eggs do offer a few advantages over their more affordable counterparts. Their yolks are reportedly richer and creamier, making them ideal for sauces. Victorian-era celebrity chef Alexis Soyer claimed they were also better for baking than chicken eggs.

If you're interested in trying turkey eggs for yourself, they're not impossible to find. Ask your local turkey farm if they sell their birds' eggs. They could be the perfect accompaniment to the breakfast of Thanksgiving leftovers you eat on Friday morning.

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