Aug 17, 2011

Store Bought Eggs vs. Backyard Eggs

There are a lot of good reasons to have backyard chickens: They a great project for kids, they help teach children responsibility (if they participate in caring for the hens), and the hens supply the family with great food. And while studies indicate organic eggs are no healthier than ordinary grocery store eggs, there is evidence that eggs from hens who are allowed to free range are healthier than eggs from chickens who are cooped up.

According to studies comparing free range hen eggs to the USDA's data on factory-farm eggs, free range eggs have:
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • Two times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • Three times more vitamin E
  • Seven times more beta carotene
  • 4 to 6 times as much vitamin D
    All this makes sense to me; after all, when hens are allowed to free range, they forage - following the method of finding food that God designed for them - and get a much wider range of nutrients.
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    You'll also notice a few other things about home grown, free range eggs: 
  • The shells are much thicker. They aren't the flimsy things found in grocery stores.
  • The yolk is much more golden. By comparison, store bought eggs look washed out. (See the photo, above. The egg on the left is store bought. The (double yolk) egg on the right is from one of my hens. They are still very young, so their eggs are slightly smaller than store bought eggs, but soon their eggs will be full sized.) 
  • They taste much better. Store bought eggs taste old by comparison - no doubt because they are! 
  • Home grown eggs are not as easy to boil and peel - unless you know a little trick. You see, store bought eggs have been sitting around a while. And as eggs age, more air gets inside the shell. So when you try to peel a fresh, boiled egg, you'll find it difficult to get the shell off because there isn't much air between the egg and shell. There's a simple solution, however. Before boiling, use a pin to poke a little hole in the wide end of the egg. Then boil as usual, cool slightly, and peel as normal. I find this easier to do (with home grown or store bought eggs) if I peel them under running, cool water. (UPDATE: An even easier method is simply to steam the eggs.)


4 comments:

  1. You are so right abut the fresh eggs being harder to peel. I always put aside a bunch of eggs just for boiling. I age them! Then I peel them slightly warm, under running water like you suggested, or I let them cool in the fridge a few days before peeling. I will try the trick of pricking them. Thanks for the tip!

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  2. We are in the planning stage of getting some hens. I've never had fresh eggs and can't wait to try them.

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  3. We now live in 4 acres and I have been thinking about getting hens, but I think I will wait a bit more. We are already eating backyard eggs because I have a friend who has chickens and she sells a dozen eggs for $1.50. They are sooo good, just like you described. Well... I got another friend who got chickens now!! LOL so I am letting them do the work... thanks for the tips. :)

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