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Eggs

Eggs, eggs, eggs! Egg are one of the most versatile ingredients on the planet. They can be cooked on their own, added to many dishes, added to pastries, salads, and hundreds of different uses. Not only that, eggs are also one of the earliest types of food that humankind has consumed. Not necessarily chicken eggs, but eggs nonetheless. Eggs are also one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and they’re pretty darn tasty as well

Egg Trivia

  • The pleats on a chef’s toque signify the number of ways he/she mastered egg preparations.
  • Eating raw eggs to build muscle is a myth. The body only absorbs around 50% of the protein in raw eggs, but it can absorb up to 90% in cooked eggs. If you’re trying to boost protein, cook your eggs. Not only will you build muscle faster, but cooked eggs are also tastier as well.
  • Eggshell thickness has nothing to do with nutrition content, it’s more dependent on size. The smaller the egg, the thicker the shell.
  • Due to its nutritional content, eggs have been called “The perfect food.”
  • To check eggs for freshness, drop them in a bowl of cold water. Older eggs have more air in them so the more it stands on floats, the less fresh it is.
  • Mixed up some hard-boiled eggs and raw eggs? Give them a spin. Hard-boiled eggs spin easily because the contents are solid, raw eggs don’t spin too well due to the contents being liquid.

Egg Buying Guide

With all of the issues surrounding eggs, it’s not hard to get confused with all of the labels, certifications, and marks of eggs. Don’t worry too much though, we’ve gone through all of the common egg markings and compiled them all in one place so the next time you’re out shopping for eggs, you’ll know what all of those markings mean.

  • Antibiotic-Free Eggs – There’s a big issue now of antibiotic transmission from the chicken to the egg which may lead to antibiotic resistance. No antibiotics are being applied/added directly to eggs, so eggs aren’t automatically antibiotic-free eggs. Antibiotic-free eggs mean that the chicken has not been in any way given antibiotics and is raised naturally.
  • Hormone-Free Eggs – This is a purely marketing term. Hormones are not given to egg-laying hens. So all eggs in the United States are hormone-free.
  • Cage-Free Eggs – While the words “Cage-Free” may prompt images of chickens roaming around, being free and living in humane conditions, this is not the case. Cage-Free eggs simply mean that the chickens aren’t being caged, but the reality is that there will often be hundreds, if not thousands of eggs crammed together inside a giant henhouse/warehouse. They’re technically following the letter of the law but it’s not something that is humane and natural. While cage-free is better than nothing, it’s definitely not the standard in which you should base your egg purchasing decisions.
  • Certified Humane – This isn’t a government body, but a third-party organization that’s dedicated to making sure that animals (in this case, chickens) are raised in a humane manner. Their standards are much higher than USDA certified organic and they verify that that the producers actually comply with the spirit of the set standards and not just following the bare minimums of the guidelines.
  • Certified Organic – Now this was the gold standard in getting quality eggs, but over the years, large egg factory producers have found a way to follow the letter of the law to a bare minimum. Certified Organic eggs mean that the hens must have daily access to outdoor areas with natural vegetation with the vegetation not treated with any chemical pesticides. On top of that the feeds and bedding must be all organic and the hens cannot be given antibiotics.
    • Being certified organic is a step up on free-range and cage-free because the feeds are given to then hens need to be organic and antibiotics cannot be given to the chickens. But aside from that, most certified organic eggs coming from commercial producers still have their layers housed in inhumane conditions.
  • Egg Substitute – This isn’t actually an egg. These are just starches with flavors/colors that are used to simulate eggs in baking and cooking applications. This is mainly for vegans and those who have egg allergies.
  • Farm-Fresh – This term is unregulated and means absolutely nothing. All eggs come from farms. While this may project an image of being wholesome and coming from a rustic setting, this term is applied even to commercial egg factories.
  • All-Natural – All eggs are natural and this term means nothing. Another marketing term to make it seem that the eggs are produced in a wholesome manner.
  • Free-Range Eggs – Much like cage-free eggs, the producers will simply follow the letter of the law when it comes to free-range eggs. The law states that to use the term “free-range” the chickens should be “allowed” to roam free outside. The chickens will still be housed in giant henhouses, all cramped together, but with an exit portal (just enough so one chicken can pass through) at both ends of the henhouse and with a “range” or a “field” outside that’s the minimum required to satisfy the law. Most chickens will never use that exit portal and will stay inside with the rest of the chickens. Again, this is better than nothing but it isn’t a great standard to base your egg purchasing decisions on.
  • Nutrient-Enhanced Eggs – The chickens are fed with nutrient-enriched feed so that the nutrients will cross over to the eggs. Marketed as healthier eggs, these cost more than your regular eggs.
  • Organic Eggs – This is the same as certified organic eggs.
  • Pastured Eggs and Pasture Raised Eggs – We have a whole article dedicated to pastured brown eggs here on a our Real Food Promptuary so if you need more information on Pastured Eggs you can go an check it out. In a nutshell, pastured eggs are produced in the most humane way, allowing the chickens actual freedom to roam around and forage food for themselves. While the term “Pastured Eggs” isn’t regulated, it’s an accepted term used by many small farms and companies that police their own growers to adhere to strict standards, real standards and not just doing the minimum.
  • Pasteurized Shell Eggs – This is the newest marking found on eggs. Pasteurized shell eggs mean that the entire egg is pasteurized, killing off any traces of salmonella on the egg. This type of egg is usually purchased by those who consume eggs in their raw form or use them in raw applications like making mayonnaise, steak tartare, Caesar salad, raw cookie dough, and so on. Pasteurized Shell Eggs will have a “P” mark stamped on the shell to identify them as pasteurized.
  • United Egg Producers: Certified Eggs – This is another independent organization of egg producers that set their own humane standards in raising chickens for egg production. Egg producers that are members of the organization voluntarily have their farms audited for compliance. This is one of the best ways to ensure that your eggs are humanely produced and all guidelines set are followed to the letter.
  • Vegetarian Eggs – The hens are fed with feed that’s free from any animal byproducts. This also means that the chickens are caged to prevent them from foraging any grubs and worms.
  • Vitamin-Enriched Eggs – Much like nutrient-enriched eggs, the chickens are fed with higher levels of vitamins so that the eggs will contain higher levels of said vitamins.

This should cover most of the commonly used egg markings so you can easily make a decision when it comes to purchasing eggs. Who thought buying eggs could be so complicated right? There is an easy way to get the best eggs though, simply visit your local farmers’ market or local farms to get the freshest and most wholesome eggs without having to worry about all of the different all the different markings.

Egg Production & Farming in Texas

Egg production in Texas is a thriving industry. But we’re not going to go over the big commercial operations, but we’ll focus more on small farm producers. One of the most popular forms of eggs that are produced in Texas is pastured eggs due to a large number of homesteads. On top of that, there are Texas-based companies that purchase these eggs and make them available in large supermarkets all over the country.

Of course, you can also find pastured eggs if you visit farms and farmers’ markets and you can purchase them directly from the producers. These small farms are passionate about raising chickens and are really concerned about the actual welfare of their chickens and not just focused on profit.

Packaging:

Eggs come in egg cartons, usually by 6, 12, 18, or 30.  Mass-produced eggs can come in plastic trays while more expensive varieties can come in biodegradable paper cartons.

Eating Eggs

There are many ways to enjoy eggs and one page wouldn’t be enough to describe them all. There is no one agreed way on how to enjoy eggs as everyone has their own favorite, but for us, nothing beats a fried egg early in the morning along with some locally produced bacon, fruit, and milk.

Storage:

Eggs can be stored in their original carton or tray inside the fridge or at room temperature. Take note though, if your eggs were refrigerated when you purchased them, it’s best to store them refrigerated and vice versa.

How to Poach an Egg:

This works best when the eggs are as fresh as possible. Poached eggs are one of the hardest things to perfect even for experienced chefs, but with these tips, you can make your own poached eggs that are as good as you might find in any 5-star restaurant.

Ingredients:

Pastured Egg, 1 piece
White Vinegar, 1 tablespoon
Water for poaching

Step 1:

Break the egg into a ramekin or a small bowl, this will allow you to drop the egg into the water a lot easier.

Step 2:

Boil at least one and a half inches of water in a medium-bottomed pan. Once boiling, add the vinegar and swirl the water until you see the water moving in a circular pattern.

Step 3:

Drop the egg into the water, turn off the heat, and leave for five minutes.

Step 4:

Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and set aside. You can serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 8 hours. To reheat the egg, simply dunk the egg in warm water for a couple of minutes and you should be good to go.

Note: Do not add salt or any other seasonings to the poaching liquid as this will break up the egg whites. The vinegar is added to help coagulate the egg faster and prevent the egg from breaking up.

 

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 95.8 5%
  • Carbs: 0.4g 0%
  • Sugar: 0.4g
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 6.5g 13%
  • Fat: 7.3g 11%
  • Saturated Fat: 2g 10%
  • Trans Fat 0.4g 0%
  • Cholesterol 217mg 72%
  • Sodium 98.2mg 4%
  • Vitamin C 0mg 0%
  • Vitamin A 349IU 7%
  • Calcium 28.7mg 3%
  • Iron 0.9mg 5%
  • Vitamin D 17.7IU 4%
  • Vitamin E 0.7mg 4%
  • Vitamin K 2.7mcg 3%
  • Vitamin B6 0.1mg 4%
  • Folate 23.8mcg 6%
  • Vitamin B12 0.7mcg 11%
  • Magnesium 6.1mg 2%
  • Phosphorus 98.8mg 10%
  • Zinc 0.6mg 4%

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