Which came first: the brown eggs or the white?
Have you ever wondered what the differences are between farm fresh eggs and those clean white eggs you buy at the supermarket? As people become more attuned to what they eat, this question comes up more than fleas on a raccoon.
Shell color is really a matter of personal preference as the only difference is a bit of pigmentation (there are even breeds of chicken that lay both blue and green eggs!). For a small farm, it is more economical to raise dual-purpose breeds (one that is good at laying eggs and that is also a good meat bird). It just so happens that most dual-purpose breeds lay brown eggs. Commercial egg farms are only interested in the eggs, not the meat, and the most prolific layers produce white eggs. So, you see, the color of the shell has nothing to do with the nutritional value.
Two main things contribute to the health benefits of eggs. One is what goes into the hen before the egg is created, and two is how that egg is treated after it is laid.
If left to feed itself, a chicken would eat an insect rather than a blade of grass. Chickens are omnivorous creatures by nature, and yet large egg companies like to brag about their “grain-fed” birds. They do it because first it sounds good and second it sells their product because most people don’t know the difference but you do the math. Which would contribute more nutrients: a variety in the diet or just “grains”? The proof is in the pan. Farm-fresh eggs have a much harder yolk and a thicker white.
Did you know that eggshells are porous? It’s true! Fortunately, they are also naturally coated when laid, to prevent nasty critters like germs from entering the egg through the shell. This coating also contains antibodies to kill the bacteria before they can invade our egg as well. So, that little egg enters this world with all the protection it needs. Why mess with that? Most farmers will lightly wipe or rinse an egg when necessary, but washing would remove that coating. Commercial farms not only wash their eggs (more than once, from what I hear), but apparently also dip the eggs in a bleach bath 30 times or more, to get them really white. So, whoops! They have exposed the shell, so now they coat it with an artificial substance to protect it. I wonder what’s in it! If it’s so good for them, how come farm fresh eggs last 6 months or longer and store bought eggs have a 2-3 month expiration date?
Farm fresh eggs have more flavor and are less likely to break the yolk during cooking due to the natural nutrients. If you’re having trouble making deviled eggs with farm-bought eggs, simply boil the eggs 24 hours before removing the shell and the shells come off easily. If you have too many eggs, just crack them open in a bowl, scramble them with a fork and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every 250ml (1 cup) of egg, then place in an ice cube tray and freeze the raw egg. One cube equals one egg in your recipe (don’t try freezing store-bought ones, this only works with fresh eggs).
Should small farmers be replaced by large commercial farms? His opinion is expressed in his purchasing power. So what will it be? Farm fresh brown or factory white?