A Good Egg is Easy to Find
With so much information scrambling around about eggs, it’s hard to separate the yolks from the whites. Are they good for me? Too high in cholesterol? Which came first? The importance of eating healthy and naked are always essential, one should always keep the “5 know no’s” close to heart. But if you occasionally want to indulge in a luscious poached egg served over sauteed rainbow chard, I implore you to find the best egg possible.
Eggs provide us with an egg-celent (wink wink) source of protein, which can keep us full longer. Eggs contain choline, which helps our bodies maintain proper B vitamin levels and promote brain function. Also vital is lutein, an antioxidant that protects our eyes and lowers our risk of cataract development. Although we can obtain our lutein from our yummy and beloved dark leafy greens, the lutein found in egg yolk is more easily absorbed into the human body. Bottom line: if you love your morning egg, your morning egg will love you back.
That being said there is still the conundrum of what type of eggs to purchase.
White vs. brown
The nutritional benefits of brown and white eggs are exactly the same. Different breeds of chicken produce different colors of eggs. If you shop local farmers markets, you can find them in a variety of colors including green, blue, and speckled. Just the variety of life!
Cage free vs. free range
Cage-free eggs are from chickens not kept in a cage — simple enough. Even though these chickens are kept free from the confinement of a cage, they are still kept inside barns or warehouses.
Free-range chickens are housed inside barns and warehouses but are allowed access to an outside area.
Organic vs. non-organic vs. vegetarian-fed free-range organic vs. vegetarian-fed free-range humanely raised organic!
Organic eggs come from chickens that are fed exclusively organic feed with no hormones or antibiotics.
Vegetarian eggs are produced from hens given feed containing no animal by-products, such as fish or (gasp) other chickens.
Humanely raised means just that: the hens are given the freedom to roam, eat grubs, and play in the sun (okay not really, but you get what I mean). Hens raised in crowded cages pass on their stress hormones to their eggs, and we certainly don’t need more stress hormones in our lives!
So what does it all mean? Nutritionally all eggs are basically equal, but a fresh egg tastes remarkably better and has more nutrition than a mass-produced store-bought egg. Some store-bought eggs are more than a month old before they land in your fridge.
Also, keep in mind that an egg from a healthy hen is nicer for your body than one from a sick hen. So only buy eggs from chicken fed their natural diet of grains.
I say, when you can, buy from your local farmers market. There you are given a chance to see the source, ask questions about how their hens are raised, and support your local agriculture. It feels right and you are getting a fresher, higher quality egg.
Fresh eggs keep refrigerated for 2 weeks. They are better when fresh, so you might as well use them right away. Eggs require a consistently cold temperature, so always keep your eggs stored inside your fridge, not in the refrigerator door.
Now go and enjoy your big-kid egg hunt and Happy Easter!