When it comes to eggs, understanding what you're purchasing is a must! Check out this slideshow to learn how you can buy the best eggs.
Color of the Shell
Believe it or not, this actually doesn't matter. While white eggs are a popular favorite, these days, brown eggs are more fashionable than ever.
The grade of an egg is based on overall quality of the white, yolk and cleanliness of the shell. During a process called candling, the air cell of the egg is measured, which helps determine the condition of the white and the yolk. Blood spots, the white sticking to the shell and firmness of the white are all factors when determining the overall grade.
Most eggs sold in stores are grade A.
To learn more about the grading process, please click here: mofga.org
All Vegetarian Feed
Did you know that chickens aren't vegetarians? That's right, they prefer bugs and worms to accompany their grasses and grains. The description means that the feed does not contain any animal byproducts.
Conventional Chicken Feed
Typically based on corn and soy, this feed can also include slaughterhouse waste.
Organic feed contains no animal byproducts, toxic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or genetically modified organisms.
The chickens at these farms were organically fed. In most cases, this also means that the hens were not fed antibiotics, unless being treated for an illness.
No Antibiotics or Hormones
This label means exactly what you would expect.
Hens are fed supplemental Omega-3 via flax, fish or other means. When purchasing, check the package for a specification on the amount of DHA, a superior and beneficial type of Omega-3.
To be honest, in the world of eggs, this means very little.
The hens are not kept in individual cages and are "free" to roam around. However, this is somewhat irrelevant without knowing the details of their living space. Most hens are still kept in tight quarters, with little or no escape to the outside world.
Technically, this really means that the hens are granted access to the outdoors in some way. It could be an open space, or just a small doorway.
Pastured eggs are raised on pasture, opposed to confined in a warehouse and fed only grains. In order to produce the tastiest and most nutritious eggs, hens need to have accessibility to grasses, bugs and worms. This is one of the most ecologically sustainable and humane ways to raise hens and ensure healthy production. A healthy, happy hen equals success!
Pastured eggs have a dark yellowish-orange egg yolk, six times as much vitamin D, less cholesterol, less saturated fat, more vitamin A, more Omega-3, more vitamin E and more beta carotene.
What to Look For: Organic eggs
While these are usually the most expensive option in the store, this doesn't necessarily tell you much in regard to the upbringing of the hens. It does however mean that they were organically fed, and not given antibiotics.
What to Look For: Pastured eggs
Source local eggs raised ethically and not industrially. Look for local farms! Having difficulty? Check out these websites to see if there is a location near you to secure the best eggs! Go to: Eatwild.com or Localharvest.com
Now that you know what to look for when buying eggs, check out our favorite egg recipes!
Eggs Baked in Roasted Tomato Sauce
Studies have shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast tend to lose weight. Here, eggs are cooked in an antioxidant-rich tomato sauce.
Ever wonder where eggs come from? (And before you even try to say "a chicken, of course," we should clarify that we're thinking a bit larger.) Maybe it's time we start asking some questions. Sure, everyone reads the labels on the packaging, but do they really understand what they mean?
95 percent of eggs sold in the United States come from industrial chicken warehouses. Whether in battery-cages, cage-free or free-range, most hens live in tight headquarters, with up to 100,000 hens per warehouse. This not only speaks to the quality of life for the hen, but the overall quality of the eggs we consume.
Concerned about where your food is coming from? We're here to inform and educate you on the basics of buying eggs. Check out our slideshow above to learn more.