6 Things You Should Know About Eggs

6 Things You Should Know About Eggs

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Eggs are a favorite food among meat eaters as well as vegetarians. Americans consume them at breakfast, and throughout the day. If you enjoy eggs, and want to be an educated shopper, here are six things you must know.

1. Eggs from commercial, pastured, free-range, or vegetarian-fed chickens – what do the labels mean?

Commercial eggs are the inexpensive eggs you see on supermarket shelves. They are produced by chickens raised in inhumane and highly unhygienic conditions. If you haven’t seen the videos, watch the documentary, Food, Inc.

Pastured chickens are permitted to roam, hunting and pecking on the ground for bugs and grass. They get all the nutrition they need naturally, and they are the gold standard in producing nutritious eggs. If you know a farmer, that is the best source. Vital Farms is a brand available in some markets.

More and more stores are stocking free-range eggs, from chickens who are allowed “some form of outdoor access.” This amount of outdoor access is unspecified, and while they are undoubtedly better than commercial eggs, know there are no clear standards.

Vegetarian fed (or organic) just means that the chickens were not fed animal protein. Unfortunately, this means they were not allowed the freedom to eat bugs. They are certainly better than commercial eggs, as you know the hens were not fed scraps of dead chickens or other animals.

2. Pastured eggs are much higher in nutritional value than commercial eggs. They have four to six times more vitamin D.

3. Pastured eggs have the dark orangey-yellow yolks, because of the high quantity of beta-carotene, leafy greens, and protein in the hens’ diets. Generally, commercial eggs have pale yolks, although some farmers supplement the diets of their hens with canthaxanthin to simulate the color (this is a chemical used in “sunless tanning” pills).

4. Eggs come with a natural coating called a “bloom.” It protects the eggs and keeps them fresh for a week or two. Commercial egg producers wash off the bloom and cover the eggs in mineral oil instead. Either way, refrigerate your eggs after purchase to keep them fresh.

5. The color of the eggshell does not affect the taste or nutritional content.

6. To judge the freshness of an egg, place it carefully in saltwater. Just dissolve two tablespoons of salt in two cups of cold water and lower the egg into it. If it sinks and stays down, it is fresh. If it floats at an angle toward the bottom, it is starting to age. If it floats, discard it.

  • Sue T

    You don’t need salt in the water for that test to work. The membrane separates from the shell as it ages, producing the ability to float….or provide air for a chick.

  • Bruce Walters

    Weird Wild Stuff, I did not know that!

  • Antonio Pires

    If you eat a egg from a free range chicken you’ll know that, the so called manufactured eggs (Caged Chickens) doesn’t taste as a healthy egg should.

  • Nancy

    Don’t read this if you have a queasy stomach, for what I am about to say might shock you. Remember in the article where he says that the hens might have been fed “dead chickens or other animals”…well, the other day I discovered while reading an article on the net about keeping chickens, that they will eat mice and even rats! This was a bad day for me. I have been unable to eat a chicken since then! Apparently, chickens are also fed by some producers, a dried form of human waste (guess what that means!). If you don’t believe me, google, “chicken+mice) and you will see a video of a chicken eating a mouse. Now what wants to eat a “foul” (little play on words here) who eat such disgusting fare. And chicken is everywhere in the frozen dinner aisle. Chicken this, chicken that. I like barbecued chicken breast and if I find a veggie fed chicken source might consider that, but not the others! Yuk and double yuk!

    • DOC

      Hogs chickens Turkeys will eat any thing that don’t move

      • omegaman

        Hogs, chickens, turkeys… correct way to write it.

        • DOC

          Cartoons fool people talking animals look so nice

          • omegaman

            Two sentences, Dufus.

          • Sue T

            and yet, you understood @@

        • DOC

          Thank you for your correcting me. I will try to remember that but it was the truth

          • omegaman

            Your reply humbles me, DOC.

      • Big Iron

        Animals, including man, will eat whatever is necessary to keep them alive. Having a choice as to what to eat will only happen when there is a surplus of food available.
        Most people seem to have forgotten that during the “unCivil War” the inhabitants of Atlanta were forced to eat “rat” and were “lucky” to get it.

        • DOC

          Don’t forget Donner pass

    • mjhiggs

      I moved the feed barrel in the hen house and discovered 15 or 20 baby mice about an inch and a half long in a nest. I scooped them up in the grain scoop and tossed them out in the hen yard. The hens promptly gobbled them down and ran into the hen house to see if I had more. I just figured it was free added protein for the hens.
      If you want to hear something sickening, Google how the Chinese raise tilapia fish. They suspend chicken wire over the fish ponds and let the fish eat the chicken poop. Almost all the tilapia found in supermarkets is raised in China. I stopped buying it.

    • Joe

      If you feel that way about a chicken that eats a mouse or a rat then I hope you don’t ever eat pork, ham or bacon. Because you know that all comes from pigs right. Well pigs eat anything andeverything. If they are Comercial raised pigs and one dies the rest start eating it unless the workers get them out right away. You do realize that chickens are omnivores they eat grass and plants but they also eat other things just like all birds do. You know like worms and crickets and get ready for it small frogs too. Because if we were to let our food live and eat what nature intended for them to eat instead of giving them all of those growth hormones and antibiotics maybe just maybe we would be healthier because the food we ate is healthier! I know that sounds just horrible. But if people are what we eat and we want to be healthy and live a long time then it is only logical that our food should eat healthy also. Strange concept for folks that think we shouldn’t hunt or fish for meat but just go to the grocery store and buy it like normal civilized people! ????????????????

      • Richard Staccone

        Joe, so true.

      • Big Iron

        Research has shown that “critters” allowed their “natural way of life” ARE a healthier source of food than are commercial sources of said critters and that their fats are different and beneficial when consumed rather than harmful. Venison from a frolicking “Bambie” which is just “turned off” (killed instantly without an adrenaline spike) tastes better and will be healthier for the consumer …and the critter has a better life than those raised in captivity.

    • Sue T

      LOL I’ve had chickens since I was a little kid….50 some-odd years. Never knew why people thought chickens were vegetarian…..if the mice gross you out, you should watch them tear apart a lizard :)

    • VA patriot

      I grew up on a farm, raised a variety of animals including chickens. I must say that the chickens raised on an 18 inch bed of ground corn cobs, eating their food from well designed feeder trays, and laying eggs from individual stalls were by far the best managed animals on that farm. I must say that I did get a bit tired of eating chickens whose egg production faltered or stopped.

    • Mark Hayward

      Commercially raised chickens are fed corn and soy bean meal and a few other things like extra calcium.. Sounds like you would prefer to eat eggs from caged birds.

    • Big Iron

      I believe that animals should eat the diet that they consumed in their development phases and that such a diet will be healthier for them in the long run

  • Wayne Langman

    Chickens are predators. They will kill and eat any small animals they can catch as well as bugs. Any old farmer will tell you about how they follow the cows and peck at the droppings.
    My father used to say that they were dirtier than pigs, and that says a lot.

  • Nancy

    I have come to conclusion that chickens are dirtier than pigs as Wayne Langman pointed out. I never liked to eat anything from a chicken except the breast. However, it sounds like if the chickens are well managed, kept clean and fed the right kind of feed (although I am not sure about the protein part since I would prefer veggie food for them) the meat would be acceptable (not for me…I will never eat a chicken again). I do have to laugh about all these people who only want to eat free range chickens. If they only knew what their chickie was snacking on…

    • Sue T

      I like free range chicken….much better flavor. And yes, I know what they snack on. BTW, they also seem to enjoy getting shnockered, as mine always go for fermenting wild grapes :)

      • Big Iron

        I was once driving down the street with my top down and happened to look up in the sky. There was a big “ball” of birds of all sizes and variety cavorting about with each other, I had never seen anything like that before or since; it was so amazing that I just stopped the car and watched for a while. I concluded that they had all gotten into some overripe berries and were “drunk”. and having a real “party” …they were literally having a ball! Yes, animals enjoy a little alcohol from time to time …and who knows what else. Something else man has in common with the other animals.

  • Diane

    I have chickens, all you have to do is look into their sinister little bird eyes and know they are killers. They eat what they kill for sure, no waste there that I’ve seen. But they are sweet creatures given to us by God, with all the rest, and they provide delicious, nutritious food for us, for which I thank God.