There’s no doubt eggs are a chef’s best friend because they’re versatile, packed with health benefits and delicious for any meal (sorry vegans). But when you buy eggs for your own culinary purposes you’re probably overwhelmed by the multitude of different carton labels…so you just look at price instead, sound familiar?
These labels can be terribly misleading so here’s a breakdown to ease label-reading-anxiety at the grocery store.
White vs. Brown Eggs
White eggs come from white-feathered chickens, brown eggs come from chickens with feathers of different colors, simple as that. Taste and nutrition are exactly the same. White eggs are commonly smaller than brown eggs, making them cheaper.
Without the confines of cages these chickens have unlimited food and water and roam freely within their habitat. Conditions may not be as glamorous as you imagine though as their habitat is usually indoors.
All eggs come from “farms.” Ever heard of factory farms? Unless you know the source where the eggs are coming from, don’t buy into this label, it’s not necessarily the best option.
Similar to “cage-free,” chickens under this category can move around in their habitat. Unfortunately this doesn’t exactly mean they’re always outside happily grazing the fields with unlimited access to food and water. Free-range can also mean they’re free to move around their habitat where they’re on top of other chickens in extremely unsanitary conditions for the majority of their time.
This label is a crock of sh*t. Overused and poorly understood, the USDA requires eggs labeled “natural” should go through minimal processing. There are neither regulations placed on sources nor on the welfare and diet of the chickens.
This title means the diet of the chicken is enriched with feed containing higher levels of omega-3s. Think foods like flax seed, fish oil and soy.
The USDA must put their official organic seal on these cartons for validation. Generally the chickens producing organic eggs must be free-range with access to the outdoors and are fed organically (plus they’re free of antibiotics and hormones).
Pasteurization means the egg has been exposed to heat in an effort to kill off possible bacteria. Optimal for raw consumption but on the flip side much of the egg’s nutritional value can be depleted this way.
What you’ve learned:
- Eggs come in all different shapes, sizes and colors for a reason
- Opt for organic if you can
- Stay away from ambiguous labels (cough, cough “natural“)
- Support farms fostering animal welfare
More eggspiration here: