Quick Recipes and Easy

Which Came First – Brown Eggs or the White

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between fresh brown farm eggs, and those nice, clean white eggs you buy at the supermarket? As people become in tune with what they eat, this question pops up more than fleas on a coon-dog.

The color of the shell is really a matter of personal preference since the only difference there is a small pigmentation (there are even breeds of chickens that lay blue and green eggs!). For a small farm, it is more economical to raise dual-purpose breeds (one which is excellent at laying eggs, and makes a nice meat bird, too). It just so happens that most dual-purpose breeds lay brown eggs. Commercial egg farms are only interested in eggs, not meat, and the more prolific layers produce white eggs. So, you see, shell color has nothing to do with nutritional value.

Two main things contribute to the health benefits of eggs. One is what goes into the chicken before she makes the egg, and two, is how that egg is treated after it is layed.

If left to forage for itself, a hen would eat a bug before a blade of grass. Chickens are omnivorous creatures by nature, and yet the huge egg companies like to brag about their “grain-fed” birds. They do it because, one, it sounds excellent, and two, it sells their product because most people don’t know the difference, but you do the math. Which would contribute more nutrients – a variety in the diet, or “grain” only? The proof is in the frying pan. Farm-fresh eggs have a much tougher yolk and thicker white.

Did you know that eggs shells are porous? It’s right! Luckily, they are also naturally coated when layed, to keep nasty critters, like germs, from entering the egg through the shell. This coating also contains anti-bodies to kill bacteria before they can invade our egg, too. So, that wee egg enters this world with all the protection it needs. Why mess with that? Most farmers will wipe off, or lightly rinse an egg when needed, but washing would remove that coating. Commercial farms not only wash their eggs (more than once, so I hear), but they also apparently dip the eggs in a chlorine bath 30 or more times, to get it nice and white. Then, oops! They have exposed the shell, so now they coat it in a man-made substance to protect it. I wonder what’s in that! If it is so excellent for them, then how come farm-fresh eggs will last 6 months or more, and store-bought eggs have an expiry date of 2 to 3 months?

Farm-fresh eggs have more flavor and are less apt to break the yolk during cooking because of the natural nutrients. If you have distress making deviled eggs from farm-bought eggs, simply boil the eggs 24 hours before de-shelling, and the shells peel of easily. If you have too many eggs, simply crack ‘em open into a bowl, scramble ‘em up with a fork and add 1/2 tsp of salt per 250 mL (1 cup) of egg, then place in an ice-cube tray and freeze the raw egg. One cube equals one egg in your recipe’s (don’t try to freeze store-bought – this only works with fresh eggs).

Should small-scale farmers be replaced by large commercial farms? Your opinion is expressed in your buying power. So, which will it be? Farm-fresh brown, or factory-layed white?

Tammy Dobbs is the owner of TheRuralMarket.com TheRuralMarket.com, an online Farmers Market dedicated to promoting farm fresh produce. For more information about Tammy, or small family farms in Canada, please visit her website at TheRuralMarket.com TheRuralMarket.com

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