It’s Springtime! We happily welcome the warm weather as we see plants, trees, flowers and vegetation all come back to life again. In honor of Spring, we examine the beloved egg – an ancient symbol of rebirth and new life – and a staple in our refrigerator.
If you enjoy eggs for breakfast and you’re trying to get fit for bathing suit season, you’ll be happy to learn that people who eat eggs early morning for breakfast tend to consume less overall for the rest of the day. Eggs have both protein and an amino acid profile that will help you preserve lean muscle mass, as well as plenty of B-vitamins to help you maintain energy levels. But with so many different labels for eggs appearing on the grocery store shelf these days, how do you really know what you’re getting? Research has yet to show a drastic change in nutritional value from one type of egg to the other. The color of an egg shell has no effect on nutritional value when the chickens are raised under the same condition. So what’s the difference? We thought you should know so here goes…we hope you enjoy our eggsplanation!
The truth about egg labels
Conventional eggs come from hens that are restricted indoors in “battery cages” that give each bird less than a square foot to stand.
“Cage Free” eggs come from hens that also live indoors but have a little more breathing room – a minimum of 120 square inches per hen by law.
“Free Range” eggs come from hens that have the luxury of wandering outdoors to the sunlight. The requirement is 2 square feet of pasture to roam and engage in natural behaviors. Whether or not free-range hens ever make it out to sunlight is debatable – barn doors are generally pretty small and are open only for specific time frames, not all the time.
“Pasture-raised” eggs are laid by hens that enjoy access to the outdoors 365 days a year with a minimum of 108 square feet per bird to roam. They also have not been given antibiotics.
The term “Omega-3” enriched eggs refers to hens that are given feed boosted with flax seeds and sometimes fish oil. However, the term is not regulated so there is no way to really prove that these eggs will have higher levels of omega-3s.
The label “Certified Humane” means the hens have “ample space and shelter in clean, well-ventilated barns; gentle handling to limit stress, freedom to do what comes naturally, like roosting, scratching, , and dust-bathing, ready access to safe-from-predators fenced in pasture; nutritious, high-quality feed free of antibiotics or hormones, and fresh, pure water”.
Grade A vs. Grade AA eggs indicate freshness and quality. Grade AA eggs are the finest quality eggs with thick and firm whites, the yolks are free from defects, and the shells are free of cracks.
The term “natural” just means “that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives) has been included or added to a food that would not normally be expected in that food, as defined by the FDA.
Color and thickness of an egg shell
Variance in color, from brown to white to blue eggs, is a matter of simple genetics. Here is a little fun fact – All eggs start out white in their development and it’s actually the color of the earlobes of the chickens that determines shell color. Strange but true. The age of the chicken determines how thick the shell will be. Eggs with hard shells come from younger chickens. Older chickens lay eggs with thinner shells. So the rumor that brown eggs always have thicker shells is a misconception.
So why are brown eggs more expensive compared to white eggs? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because brown eggs are better quality than white eggs. The reason is that hens that lay brown eggs are physically larger breeds of chickens. As a result of their size, these hens eat more food, hence the increase in cost is passed onto consumers.
What about the egg yolk?
What about the difference in yolk color? According to a study published in the Journal of the Science of Food Agriculture, the micronutrient value of a dark yolks is higher, although protein and fat content will remain the same regardless of the color of the yolk. Hens limited to grain only feed will generally produce eggs with lighter yellow yolks, while free-range hens will produce eggs with yolks that are richer in color because of the variety of nutrients they ingest from insects and grasses.
As far as we know, our Fridge Fresh unit does absolutely nothing to keep your eggs fresh longer. But, if you want to keep strawberries for 2 weeks, blueberries for 30 days, and avocados for a month, BOY do we have a solution for you!