Eggs are an excellent and affordable source of protein and a number of nutrients, all for 70 calories per large egg.
With a large variety of eggs readily available, here are some egg-cellent tips to look out for when purchasing eggs at your local grocery market.
Cage Free VS Free Range
Both cage free and free range hens are able to roam freely in designated areas, with cage free restricted to a covered/indoor area and free range able to roam outside. The type of hens, designated space and diet depends on the farms requirements.
Many researchers believe that Free-Range eggs are the best quality of eggs due to it's higher nutritional value from healthier hens that are allowed to behave normally and roam freely.
Here at Little Farms we have offered both and currently stock Barossa Australian free range eggs. These eggs come from the Attard Family Farm in the Barossa Valley. The Attards have been in the egg business for three generations: ambassadors and pioneers for hens welfare and local eggs’ quality in South Australia. Their happy hens range daily, from morning until dawn, in the beautiful setting of the Barossa Valley and are protected by Alpacas.
What's With The Colour Of The Eggshell?
Don't let fancy packaging or labels lead you astray. Brown eggs are no different from white eggs. Just know that the colour of the eggshell has no impact on the quality, nutritional value, or flavour of the egg. In fact, the colour of eggs depends on the breed of chicken. The only noticeable difference is that brown eggs are usually bigger in size and may cost more. This is because breeding hens that lay brown eggs are expensive to raise and feed more (as compared to hens that lay white eggs).
To Refrigerate or Not Refrigerate?
A long ongoing debate that has left people on two sides - should you refrigerate your eggs or keep it out in room temperature?
While one claims that putting eggs in the fridge increases the chances of harbouring bacteria, the other believes that storing eggs at room temperature increases the chances of food poisoning.
Contrary the what the latter says, most experts like AVA recommend consumers to keep eggs in the fridge to keep them fresh for longer, as well as decreases the risk of salmonella, which is a common cause of food poisoning. Salmonella can occur in eggs when the bacteria in chicken droppings penetrate the egg through cracks in the shell. The best thing to do is to follow the care and instructions written on each egg carton. If eggs were bought refrigerated, it is best to store them in the fridge.
Cracks In Eggshells
As mentioned above, it is worth taking the time to open the carton to check the eggs for cracks or breakage as harmful bacteria like salmonella may live on the exterior of the shell and travel into the egg via the cracks.
The Inside Colour: The Egg Yolk
You've probably cooked a few eggs and noticed that the golden centre varies in colour - some yolk is lighter or deep with an orange hue.
Egg yolk colour can range from a pale yellow to a deep almost orange hue. The colour of the yolk is influenced by the chicken's diet. The darker the yellow or orange it is, it means the chicken had a varied and natural diet that is rich of carotenoids and xanthophylls, loaded with micronutrients like vitamin A and omega-3. Paler yolks result from a colourless diet made from wheat, barley, or white cornmeal. Rest assured that all feed is carefully balanced to ensure the laying hens are getting the vitamins and minerals they require for good health. It is also good to note that the benefits of egg yolks are their macronutrients such as protein and fat, which remains the same in all yolks, regardless of colour.