Eggs! Brown ones! White ones! Blue ones!
Growing up our eggs were always brown. I’d always watch envious at the white egg people on TV coloring their Easter eggs and think my brown eggs were somehow inferior in the Easter egg stakes at least! Then the marketing people for our local egg farmers came up with a little ditty that I still sing to myself whenever I see a brown egg- ‘brown eggs are local eggs and local eggs are fresh!’ I tried to find a youtube vid of it but couldn’t find it. I did learn that brown eggs in the 1980’s were unique to New England. I don’t know if this is still true but apparently Jack Radlo of the New England Brown Egg Council saved the day with that little jingle!
While out shopping yesterday I found myself looking at eggs. Soo many choices and it’s hard to know what to buy- free range, cage reared, barn reared, factory farmed, organic, vegetarian. I could go on but really lets just deal with these. I try to always buy free range eggs because somewhere I read that those are happy chickens and happy chickens lay yummy eggs or maybe I should just be concerned with their life-style? I know. I know, a middle class problem if I ever did hear! I’m not a big organic-granola eating-eat sustainably sort of person but I do what I can where I can. I try to buy from the local greengrocer, eat what’s in season and I like my chickens to be happy ones. I decided to do a bit of research about what I’m popping in my ( and my family) mouth.
The low down is…
Free range chickens need to have access to the outside for extended periods of time during the day. OK sounds good.
Barn reared chickens, now this one is a tricky one. I’ve bought barn reared eggs because who doesn’t want their chickens living in a barn? Bill Clinton comes to mind with this one as it depends on the definition of barn. Now if you’re thinking of those cure red barns of years gone by then you (and I) are sadly mistaken. Barn reared chickens are just kept in large sheds that can hold thousands of birds.
Cage reared chickens (banned in the EU in 2012) the exact way these chickens live are horrendous. In rows with food and water on conveyor belts, they poop and lay eggs where they stand. In one shed there will be rows and rows of these- like a huge 1970’s chicken tower block. While doing research for this I found that there is also a new category called ‘furnished cages’ they’re basically more humane cages and there appears to be a benefit to the animals well being too being in a cage. I’ll have to look into this a bit more.
Organic chickens are those that are NOT fed things like synthetic yolk colourants, food additives, medications in the feed/water and their beaks are not routinely trimmed. Usually organic chickens are also free range.
Vegetarian chickens have diets that are not meat based- no cow or other poultry parts added to the mix. Also included in this category are omega-3 and all natural and just because they’re eating better doesn’t mean they’re living better. They might still be cage reared so be warned.
OK, back to the egg aisle. We’re not made of money and are pretty skint after our kitchen remodel and well it’s just a chicken egg after all. After spending some time trying to decide which eggs to buy and how much money we were willing to spend to sooth our middle class souls we decided on a taste test. What I did wonder was, would it make a difference to how it tasted. We usually buy Sainsbury’s free range eggs so we bought 1/2 dozen of those and bought another 1/2 dozen Clarence Court Old Cotswold Legbar eggs. To be honest we chose the Legbar because I liked the pretty blue eggs.
So did it make a difference? Yes it did but not enough to make me buy it again. The yolk of the Legbar was darker and just a teensy bit tastier. I might try this again with a different type eggs but using my usual Sainsbury’s free range as the control egg. So there you have it- everything you didn’t really want to know about eggs. Enjoy!