Not only are ostriches the only land animals to have the biggest eyes, but they are also the largest and heaviest bird on Earth. A full-grown ostrich may stand up to 9 feet tall and weigh between 63 and 145 kilograms. Apart from being the largest birds, ostriches are known for having the largest eggs as well. The average ostrich egg is about the same size as a football so you can probably picture just how large the circumference is.
Unlike most birds, ostriches have a long lifespan - a lifespan of 30 to 40 years, if in the wild. In captivity, they may live up to 70 years! Although ostriches lay eggs only once a year, they produce around 20 eggs at once. Since ancient times, people have been using the shells of ostrich eggs to make jewelry, pottery, and lots more.
However, in recent years, it is not uncommon for people to eat ostrich eggs as well. If you have ever wondered what an ostrich egg tastes like, check out this article to find out more.
What does an ostrich egg look like?
The average ostrich egg has a length of almost 6 inches and a width of around 5 inches. The large egg is obviously a bit heavy. It might be difficult to hold the egg with one hand, especially if you have weak wrists. A typical ostrich egg will weigh around 1.5 kilograms.
Visually, an ostrich egg looks like a big ball. The outside is off-white or cream in color. The shell has a glossy texture, which makes the egg look quite shiny. With ostrich farms on the rise now, more and more farmers are now selling ostrich eggs as well. You might be able to find ostrich eggs online or even in certain grocery stores.
How are ostrich eggs different from chicken eggs?
The most obvious difference between an ostrich egg and a chicken egg is the size. An ostrich egg is double the size of a chicken egg. You can easily fit up to 24 chicken eggs inside just one ostrich egg. With that being said, a bigger egg will obviously weigh more. An ostrich egg has a mass of 1.5 kilograms whereas a single chicken egg will weigh way less than a kilogram.
The next difference between an ostrich egg and a chicken egg is the color. An ostrich egg has a pale white shell, which is shiny or glossy. On the other hand, a chicken egg may be white, brown, or a mix between blue and green. Moreover, the shell of an ostrich egg is extremely thick. You will not be able to crush it with your hands.
There’s a reason why an ostrich egg is called the strongest egg in the world - it won’t break even if you step on it. In contrast, a chicken egg will easily crack if you hit it with a spoon. The typical ostrich eggshell has a thickness of around 2 millimeters, compared to the 0.30-millimeter shell of chicken eggshells
Why is the shell of ostrich eggs so thick?
The shell of ostrich eggs is made up of three different layers that mostly consist of crystalline calcite, which has a hardness of 3 on the Mohs scale. This is the material that makes cracking open ostrich eggs so difficult.
So, how exactly do you crack an ostrich egg?
The main reason why people don’t eat ostrich eggs on a daily basis is that they are such a hassle to crack open. You can’t use any of the traditional methods such as with a teaspoon or by banging it on the kitchen countertop as most chefs do. While it is a challenging task, it is not entirely impossible. There are two methods you can try out to crack open an ostrich egg.
The first method requires you to use a screwdriver and a kitchen mallet. You will need to penetrate the egg using the tip of the screwdriver. Once the tip of the screwdriver is inside the egg, you will then gently tap the screwdriver with the kitchen mallet to make the hole bigger. Once an opening is created, place a large bowl underneath the egg, flip the egg over, and watch all the liquid pour into the bowl.
However, the yolk of an ostrich egg is huge and it is highly unlikely that it will slide through such a small opening. What most people do is insert a metal straw or a chopstick to break the yolk. Then, they make another hole on the opposite end of the egg and blow out from one end to push all the albumen and yolk of the ostrich egg from the other end. Here’s a video that demonstrates the entire process for you.
The second method is also quite similar to the first one. Instead of using a screwdriver and a kitchen mallet, you may use a drill to make openings in the egg. Then, break the yolk using a straw or a chopstick and watch the inside content pour into a bowl like in the video below. You may not need to blow out the liquid by yourself since the drill is likely to make a much bigger hole, compared to a screwdriver.
Both these methods are a great way to make scrambled ostrich eggs! But if you want to make poached or fried eggs, you will need to cut open one part of the egg so that the yolk stays intact. You can place the egg in a cup so that it remains stable.
Then, use a very sharp knife and tap it around the top part of the egg continuously. This way, the top part of the egg will break open and you can transfer the intact yolk onto your frying pan. The first 6 minutes of this video show how you can crack open an ostrich egg without breaking the yolk.
How long does it take to prepare ostrich eggs?
Just like chicken eggs, you can boil, fry, or even make scrambled eggs using ostrich eggs. Boiling an ostrich egg takes a lot of time. It usually takes around 50 minutes to have a soft boil, meaning the yellow part is still runny with a firm but a soft white part. If you want a hard boil, you will need to boil it for around 70 minutes. If you want fried or scrambled ostrich eggs, you will need a very big pan and a lot of butter. This, too, will take a lot of time. You can expect the egg to take around half an hour to cook properly.
While an ostrich egg may feed around 10 people, a reason why most people don’t eat ostrich eggs daily for breakfast is the long cooking time. Cooking an ostrich egg is never quick or easy.
What does an ostrich egg taste like?
A majority of people will claim that ostrich eggs taste exactly like chicken eggs. But as someone who has had a lot of chicken eggs in their life, I could tell there were slight differences between the tastes of chicken and ostrich eggs.
Firstly, the texture of an ostrich egg is quite different from that of a chicken egg. Ostrich eggs have a consistency similar to jelly. They are generally more buttery than chicken eggs. Since there is a large number of translucent parts in ostrich eggs, the texture is exceptionally smooth.
Another difference I noticed was that the ostrich eggs produced a more intense flavor compared to chicken eggs. Although both chicken eggs and ostrich eggs taste quite similar, you might be able to tell that there is a slight difference in taste between the two.
Are ostrich eggs healthy?
Ostrich eggs are quite nutritious. Ostrich eggs are a great source of vitamins A and E. They also contain a large portion of calcium and protein. Since ostrich eggs are much larger than chicken eggs, they typically contain a larger quantity of magnesium and iron.
However, it might be best to not consume ostrich eggs on a regular basis as they are extremely high in fat and cholesterol. Plus, they are extremely high in calories as well. A single ostrich egg contains around 2,000 calories whereas a single chicken egg contains only 75 calories.
Where can you find ostrich eggs?
At present time, there are a number of ostrich farms all over the States. You can buy your ostrich eggs from those farms or you might also be able to find them in local grocery stores. However, ostrich eggs are quite expensive. A single ostrich egg may cost at least $30.
What else can you do with ostrich eggs?
Apart from frying, boiling, or poaching ostrich eggs, you can use them for other purposes as well. For instance, you can place ostrich eggs in greenhouses to keep spiders and insects away from the plants. This ancient practice is quite popular among greenhouse owners in Turkey. The science behind this practice is the ostrich eggs release an odor that repels spiders and insects.
Another ancient practice is to make jewelry, pottery, or even decorative artworks using the shells of ostrich eggs. Since the shells of ostrich eggs are quite sturdy, you can easily make durable accessories and artwork using them.
If you are making breakfast for a big group of people, you might want to use a single ostrich egg instead of a dozen chicken eggs since it can feed around 8-10 people easily. I personally liked the flavor of ostrich eggs - their taste was very similar to chicken eggs.
However, it might not be practical to consume these large eggs on a daily basis as they are quite a hassle to crack open and might not be the healthiest breakfast option for one or two people.