Not all eggs are created equal—here’s some straight-up clucking about which ones are best.
I’ve always loved eggs. Hard-boiled. Scrambled. Sunny-side up. Anything but poached—well, unless they’re smothered in hollandaise.
As a kid, I got to enjoy eggs straight from the henhouse. You see, my grandparents had two dozen or so chickens that produced plenty of eggs for the whole family. Since I spent a great deal of time up at their property, collecting eggs was a regular chore.
I remember sliding my hand beneath the friendlier hens, and how the eggs felt warm to the touch. I would cup each one carefully, marveling at the size and shape, before placing it in the metal pail that Gram had designated for eggs. I also remember keeping watch for the rooster—you did not want to linger in the coop when that nasty guy was nearby.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have had an up-close-and-personal relationship with chickens, as I did. Not everyone even wants to. And not everyone can have a few chickens in the back yard. But many of us are interested in getting the best/healthiest eggs from the happiest chickens. However, when it comes to buying eggs in the supermarket, things can get a little confusing.
Egg cartons are labeled “Veggie-fed,” “Cage-free,” “Free-range,” “Organic,” “Natural” (What?! Aren’t eggs always natural?), and so on. Faced with all those choices, it’s easy to close your eyes and eeny-meeny-miny-moe your way to a selection. But if you’re looking to consume the best, skip that nonsense and choose farm-fresh, local, pasture-raised eggs. They are the way to go.
It’s no secret that buying local eggs supports local farmers—and we are flush with fantastic farmers in our corner of the Island. When you connect directly with local egg farmers, you learn how their hens are raised, reduce your carbon footprint, and help to bolster the local economy. It’s a trifecta of goodness, on top of purchasing a superior product.
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet—they are an excellent source of protein and promote brain function, eye health, and weight management. Eggs are also full of essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. This is especially so when eggs are laid by happy hens.
Pasture-raised chickens are very happy chickens. They roam around eating bugs and worms, they take dirt baths, and they socialize—things chickens are meant to do. Studies have shown that happy chickens produce the healthiest eggs. In fact, local, pasture-raised eggs have five times more Vitamin D, contain two to three times more Vitamin A, provide two to three times more omega-3 fatty acids, have three times more Vitamin E, and have seven times more beta carotene than store-bought eggs. They also contain less saturated fat and cholesterol than other eggs, so you don’t need to fear the yolk (if that’s something you do).
The egg isn’t just a source of food. Around the world, eggs are an important symbol of new life and unhatched potential. For certain cultures, the egg suggests luck and wealth, while to others, it represents fertility and hope. And the ideas of rebirth and rejuvenation are inherent in the smooth shape of an egg—with neither a beginning nor an end.
Spring is upon us. A season of new beginnings filled with love, hope, youth, and growth. Be eggscellent to each other.