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Posts from the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Recipe No 13: Egg Muffins, Paleo Style

For people with certain dietary restrictions and food allergies, eggs can be an essential part of a healthy diet. Recently, we’ve been experimenting with a ‘no’ carbohydrate/high protein diet known as the Paleo diet, and lucky for us eggs are on the menu! Interestingly, we have many friends who are vegetarians and they chuckle at the idea of a ‘caveman’ diet, after all, it does sound pretty meaty doesn’t it? ‘-) Fortunately, between fruits, vegetables and eggs, we can still share a meal with those same meat-shunning friends.

We all know that eggs are a great source of protein and yes, eggs are high in cholesterol, but they are also low in saturated fats and rich in hard to find nutrients such as vitamin D (in the yolks) and choline. And remember, eggs from pastured birds are proven to be healthier and more nutritious than traditionally produced eggs.

Basic egg muffin recipes ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 8 – 10 pastured eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (almond milk is a great substitute if dairy is not in your diet)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with shortening of choice
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, salt and pepper and milk
  4. Use a measuring cup to fill muffin wells with egg mixture, about 1/4 cup each
  5. Bake the egg muffins for 20 to 25 minutes or until eggs are set in the middle, cool on rack 5 minutes before serving

 

Variations:

Feel free to mix and add other ingredients as you desire, and as your diet permits. You can add things like cheese, fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables and meats or meat substitute and even smoked fish. Need some ideas? Here are a few egg muffin recipes we really like:

Do Eggs Need to Be Refrigerated?

Do eggs need to be refrigerated? It’s a question we get all the time. On the heels of last week’s post regarding Eggzy’s new ‘Last updated‘ feature, it seems like a relevant topic to revisit.

Yes, eggs are best when kept refrigerated – at or below 45°F is the standard and safe recommendation.

That said, we’ve all seen images of eggs sitting out on a counter, be it at a farmers market, the local diner or in a catalog or a magazine of a beautifully rustic kitchen setting. Additionally, I have made recipes that call for eggs to be at room temperature, which is typically much warmer than 45°F. It would seem only reasonable to assume that those eggs need to be out of the refrigerator to achieve the recommended room temperature right – so what is the threshold for safekeeping?

According to www.eggsafety.org, after eggs are refrigerated, it is important that they stay that way. “A cold egg left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria. Refrigerated eggs should not be left out more than two hours.” But the Egg Safety Council is an industry organization sponsored by large-scale egg producers in large-scale facilities.

Perhaps that’s the key; perhaps fresh eggs, which have never been refrigerated, are less vulnerable than their already refrigerated, store bought counter parts. Let’s face it, long before there were refrigerators, people have been gathering eggs, storing, cooking and eating them. I’ve scoured the web with this question and have read similar commentary time and time again; farm fresh eggs (that have not been washed) seem to keep at room temperature for longer periods of time, without issue.

Maybe we need to rely on some best practices and good judgment here:

  • Do not keep eggs out for a prolonged period of time. If you know you aren’t going to use all dozen eggs, why not store them in the refrigerator, just for safekeeping?
  • Do not wash eggs under water due to the porous nature of the shells; eggshells actually have a protective coating that works to keep bacteria from seeping into the egg.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly to an internal temperature of 160°F (killing any Salmonella bacteria)
  • Don’t eat eggs from strangers! Know your flock owner and how they raise their birds; healthy birds eating healthy feed will typically lay healthy eggs.

 

Links & References:
http://www.fsis.usda.gov
http://www.chow.com/
http://www.mothering.com

The End-Of-Summer Eggstravaganza

As summer draws to a close, there is at least one thing to look forward to; fresh eggs. After all, it’s probably been about 20 weeks since you got those really cute little baby chicks, and depending on which breed(s) made up that Spring flock, they should be getting ready to begin laying any day now, if they haven’t already.

Soon, you’ll have more eggs than you know what to do with, so we’ve decided to celebrate the bounty of those delicious eggs with a roll-up of our last years’ 12 recipes. Enjoy!

Pickled Beet Eggs


Decoding Egg Labels

The other day I drove past a roadside sign selling ‘Farm Fresh Brown Eggs’. Well heck, who doesn’t like farm fresh eggs? Especially brown farm fresh eggs. But what does the color brown have to do with anything? Is it more nutritious? Does it mean that the eggs are organic? Turns out there are a bunch of possible labels for eggs, so today we’re going to try to make some sense of them with the help of these definitions from Sustainable Table.

Hormone Free
The USDA has prohibited use of the term “Hormone Free,” but meats can be labeled “No Hormones Administered.”

Cage-Free
Birds are raised without cages. What this doesn’t explain is if the birds were raised outdoors on pasture, if they had access to outside, or if they were raised indoors in overcrowded conditions. If you are looking to buy eggs, poultry or meat that was raised outdoors, look for a label that says “Pastured” or “Pasture-raised”.

GMO-Free or No GMOs
The product was produced without the use of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms). For more information, visit the Genetic Engineering page in the Issues section.

Natural
Currently, no standards exist for this label except when used on meat and poultry products. USDA guidelines state that “Natural” meat and poultry products can only undergo minimal processing and cannot contain artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients. However, “natural” foods are not necessarily sustainable, organic, humanely raised, or free of hormones and antibiotics. The label “natural” is virtually meaningless.

No antibiotics administered, raised without antibiotics or antibiotic-free
No antibiotics were administered to the animal during its lifetime. If an animal becomes sick, it will be taken out of the herd and treated but it will not be sold with this label.

Organic
In order to be labeled “organic,” a product, its producer, and the farmer must meet the USDA’s organic standards and must be certified by a USDA-approved food-certifying agency. Organic foods cannot be grown using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or sewage sludge, cannot be genetically modified, and cannot be irradiated. Organic meat and poultry must be fed only organically-grown feed (without any animal byproducts) and cannot be treated with hormones or antibiotics. Furthermore, the animals must have access to the outdoors, and ruminants must have access to pasture (which doesn’t mean they actually have to go outdoors and graze on pasture to be considered organic.

Pastured or Pasture-Raised
Indicates the animal was raised on a pasture and that it ate grasses and food found in a pasture, rather than being fattened on grain in a feedlot or barn. Pasturing livestock and poultry is a traditional farming technique that allows animals to be raised in a humane, ecologically sustainable manner. This is basically the same as grass-fed, though the term pasture-raised indicates more clearly that the animal was raised outdoors on pasture.

How we label our eggs
Although we raise our birds on pasture with organic feed, we aren’t certified organic, so we don’t label them so. We also don’t grade or classify our eggs so we label them “ungraded” and “unclassified”. In PA, if you label your cartons with a particular grade, they have to be inspected to confirm they meet that grade. Since we’re selling our eggs to friends and neighbors, they know how we raise them, and we want them to see it for themselves. Isn’t that the best label of all?

* This post was originally published on August 23, 2011.