Emus are flightless birds from the ratite family, making them cousins to ostriches. They are also the second-largest birds after ostriches. Native to Australia, emus can grow close to 7 feet tall and are primarily bred for their eggs and meat.
Statistically, over the years, emu meat and eggs have been rising in demand but the real concern is, are these products good for consumption? If yes, what are the health benefits? Read on for a detailed look at these emus’ products.
Can You Eat Emu Meat?
Yes, you can eat emu meat.
Emus have red meat that is fast gaining popularity as a supplement for beef.
Compared to lean beef, emu meat has a similar taste and texture, but is lower in fats, calories, and cholesterol, making it a viable choice for health-conscious consumers who want to enjoy healthy food without sacrificing taste. It is even approved by the American Heart Association to be the most favorable alternative to lean beef.
At maximum maturity, the emus can weigh over 100 pounds, resulting in a lot of meat when they are processed. Emu meat is best served grilled or pan-fried.
Besides the low cholesterol, emu meat is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and protein. The high iron concentration greatly influences the meat’s color.
Compared to lean beef, emu meat has a better nutritional profile. In every 100 gram serving of emu meat, there is:
- 23 grams of protein
- 120 calories
- 4.5 mg of iron
- 40 mg of sodium
- 45 mg of cholesterol
- 3 grams of fat
- 1 gram of saturated fat.
When compared with the meat of other animals, the emu’s meat has more protein, fewer calories, minimal saturated fat, less sodium, increased iron levels, low cholesterol levels, less fat (1/4 the amount in normal beef), more potassium, and more vitamins A, D, and E.
It is for these outstanding values that emu meat is considered the safest red meat, often being a favorite among athletes because of its health factor.
Can You Eat Emu Eggs?
Yes, emu eggs are not only beautiful but also super-delicious and nutritious.
They are lately in high demand, especially by bodybuilders and high-end restaurants, who make diverse dishes from emu eggs.
Just like rearing any poultry, eggs are a guaranteed benefit of raising emus. With emus, however, their eggs are not normal-sized eggs like a chicken’s. Emu eggs often measure about 6 inches in length and weigh about 1 pound or even more.
Besides the outstanding nutritional value, emu eggs are prized for their large size alongside their tough, durable shell in a delightful dark green or blue color, making them best used in decoration applications.
Although the demand is high, emus only lay eggs during the summer months of Australia, precisely around November to March. This does not change even if they fully adapt to new environments or altered seasons in other continents like the Americas.
Female emus also take three days to lay an egg, and when incubated, it takes about 48 to 54 days to hatch.
Nutritional Value of Emu Eggs
Emu eggs are praised to be highly nutritious compared to other eggs. They contain 68% unsaturated fats and 31% saturated fats and have all the necessary amino acids as do hen eggs but are richer in PUFA and MUFA compared to hen eggs.
The emu egg yolk is also paler compared to a hen’s egg, and is usually big, taking up about 45% of the egg.
Emu eggs also have 15.54% proteins, 35.84% fats, 1.78% minerals, 0.63% carbohydrate, and 51.14% dry matter. Compared to chicken eggs, emu eggs are undoubtedly healthier.
However, you should never get disillusioned and think that emu eggs are superfoods. Humans need a varied diet ranging from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits to get the necessary phytonutrients and the much-needed fiber that cannot be given by an egg.
What Do Emu Eggs Taste Like?
If you feed your domesticated emus grain, just like you do with chickens, their eggs will taste similar to a chicken’s egg, or that of a free-range chook. With wild emus, however, their egg taste will be of a different flavor.
How Much Do Emu Eggs Cost?
At retail price, an emu egg costs anywhere between $15 and $30.
Emu eggs have also made their way into the hearts of restaurants and depending on how they are served, like emu egg pasta, or with any other dish like mushrooms, they go for anywhere between $70 – $90. Either way, whether at the local retail store or a restaurant, these prices are outrageous.
Are emu eggs worth the extra cost? Just like the normal chicken eggs, emu eggs are highly nutritious and have all the necessary amino acids required for human nutrition.
Owing to their size equivalent to 10 chicken eggs, emu eggs are good for feeding a crowd. However, since they are mostly inaccessible, it is good to opt for more accessible and affordable food options that give the same health benefits. Besides, a dozen chicken eggs go for about $6 yet a single emu egg costs more than $15.
Other Emu Products
Besides lean meat and nutritious eggs, emus are prized for their oil products. Emu oil has been proven to have healing properties, often relieving muscle soreness, joint stiffness, and arthritis pain.
Kalaya oil, as referred to by the Aboriginals of Australia, is also applied in a wide range of beauty products and skin moisturizes to conditioners and shampoo because they are believed to have anti-wrinkle properties.
Emu meat and eggs are not only delicious but also healthy choices, although there are concerns of whether they are superior to what chicken eggs have to offer. Their skyrocketing price can also be a bit intimidating and unobtainable for many. However, some enjoy them once in a while for a novelty dish.
Either way, learn to eat a balanced diet that gives you all the necessary nutrients.