Each time I go to the store, I find myself staring at the egg selections, scratching my head. When did buying a simple dozen eggs become so complicated? All I want are some eggs from happy clucking chickens. That’s why I went on a hunt to figure out this madness. Trust me. This is great info!
Picture a huge egg factory with crowded chickens together in multi-hen cages. Because this type of industrial unit creates a great place for diseases, farmers add antibiotics to their chickens’ food in an attempt to prevent diseases. These chickens are also given hormones to boost their productivity and often fed genetically modified or pesticide food. Their eggs tend to be lighter in color, not as nutritious, and do not taste as good as fresh eggs. Since it takes a long time to get to the grocery store, these eggs are more than likely old.
Even though this may sound a little better, these chicken still live in crowded, industrial hen houses. They do not have enough room to move around. They often are walking in their own waste and that of others. This is another great place for breeding dangerous bacteria like salmonella. For that reason, they are given antibiotics to prevent diseases and hormones to increase their productivity. Unless they are labeled organic, cage-free chickens are also fed GMO and pesticides. In a nutshell, their nutrition is similar to conventional, regular eggs.
Free Range Eggs
This term yields the image of chickens roaming in sunny, green fields. Where a rustic farm wife collects freshly laid eggs midday in a large woven basket. However, many eggs labeled “free-range” are raised similarly to cage-free chickens. The difference is that these chickens have a door, leading to a small outside yard which is hardly ever used. They simply have “access” to fresh air and the sunshine. They might not be confined in dark, damp quarters, but it is not guaranteed. Still, this is a better alternative to regular eggs. When buying free range eggs, look for the American Humane Association logo or the seal of United Egg Producers.
Organic eggs must be laid in accordance with the organic laws. This includes no pesticides, no hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides. They are only fed organic food without any added hormones. However, these chickens do not have to be free range or cage free. Organic eggs, oddly enough, are often raised in similar conditions where factory farm crowding and bacteria problems are found. Also, organic eggs may take weeks before getting to the grocery store. Still, they are considered to be healthier for you but are far more costly than any other type of eggs. free range chicken
Omega-3 Enhanced Eggs
These types of eggs come from chickens fed a diet rich in fish oils and flaxseed. The yolk contains 4-6 times higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than that found in regular eggs. The demand for these types of eggs is growing as more people learn of their health benefits.
Best Egg Choice
After all that grim info, what’s the verdict? What is the best egg choice? Part of the answer is in price and your own budget. The other part is in your ethics. So, I can’t really answer that question for you or your family. Personally, for me: I’m hitting up my neighborhood farmer’s market and making friends with my local farmers who name his/her chickens.
Composition Of An Egg
An egg is composed of several structures that all serve an important function in its construction. Besides the shell, yolk, and white, the egg contains an air cell, a chalaza, a vitelline membrane, and shell membranes. It is helpful to understand the function and importance of each structure to obtain knowledge that can be useful when preparing eggs.