Good Egg Bad Egg

EggMay is National Egg Month!

I remember the days that I went to the store and there were 3 choices of eggs: eggs, large eggs and extra large eggs. Not now. Oh my gosh! You actually have to think about what you are buying! I guess an egg is not an egg anymore. Some eggs are natural, some are organic, some have omega added, some are brown and some are white. Some say farm fresh and some say grade “A”, some say free range, some cage free, some say pasteurized.  And some are even all ready hard boiled for you. What’s a girl to do?

Experts say the color of the egg shell does not affect the quality or performance of the egg. So, we can relax about which to choose. Interesting though is that brown eggs are usually larger and the hen requires more food so the brown egg is more expensive!

For years we were told that eggs are not good for you. Now we know that it is not true. Eggs are low in saturated fat with 1.5 grams per egg and they do not have any trans fat all. Eggs provide a lot of protein many essential amino acids, iron and other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A whole egg is approximately 3 tablespoons of liquid with the yolk containing about 1 tablespoon liquid. There is about 77 calories in 1 egg.

Generally there is a sell date and a best used by date. The sell by date suggests that if the eggs are not cracked and are kept refrigerated that the eggs can be used up to 30 days past that date. The best before date suggests that the eggs should be used within 2 weeks of that date.

Organic generally means that the hens have been raised, housed and fed according to National Organic Program administered by the USDA. They are not exposed to pesticides, antibiotics or hormones.

Cage free means the hens are allowed to roam freely within their house, have access to the out doors and where food and water is provided continuously. They live in their natural order and have nests in which to lay eggs.

Omega 3 eggs are achieved by feeding hens a special date that increases flaxseed. As an example the feed may be a combination of 20% flaxseed and grains.

Pasteurized eggs are required by law. So all eggs are pasteurized! The terms for All Natural are not defined, and therefore anyone can claim that they are raising an ‘all natural’ bird depending on their own interpretation of the word ‘natural’.

Eggs in cartonWhat should you consider when buying eggs? Always buy eggs from a refrigerated case. Choose eggs with clean, un-cracked shells. The USDA grade shield on the carton means that the eggs were graded for quality and checked for weight under the supervision of a trained USDA grader. State agencies monitor compliance for egg packers who do not use the USDA grading service. US Grade (quality) eggs are graded AA, A and B grades. The grade depends on the interior quality of the egg and the appearance and condition of the shell. Grade AA have whites that are thick and firm, yolks that are high and round and practically free from defects and have clean unbroken shells. Grade A have whites that are reasonably firm, yolks that are high and round and practically free from defects and have clean unbroken shells. Grade B have whites that are thinner, yolks that are wider and flatter and the shells will be unbroken but may have stains.

Eggs are used in all forms of baking and cooking and are relatively inexpensive. Most recipes call for large eggs even when not specified.

Did you know that the average American consumes about 250 eggs per year? Also, the average hen produces about 250 per year. That means that we all have a hen laying eggs for us! Do you know where your hen is?

For more information and recipes, please feel free to contact Chef Nancy at CVC Catering Group!