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Posts from the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Are Pasture Raised Eggs Better For You?

Yes, and a number of studies can prove it.

A recent study from the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems found that hens raised on pasture, meaning they eat a small amount of grain but get most of their diet by foraging in the grass for bugs, have 2.5 times more omega-3 fatty acids and 2 times as much vitamin E than chickens raised in concentrated, industrial hen houses.

Another 1998 study found that the omega-3 content of pastured eggs was as much as 10 times higher than conventional eggs (i.e. the store-bought kind). And, although not a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the magazine Mother Earth News conducted its own nutrient analysis of pastured eggs and found that they contained a third less cholesterol, one-fourth less saturated fat, and seven times more beta carotene than what the USDA estimates is found in conventional, factory-farmed eggs.

What’s more, they found that pastured eggs contained up to six times more vitamin D, which nearly all Americans are deficient in and which can ward off multiple forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression while also boosting your immunity. Eggs from hens raised on pasture are far more nutritious than eggs from confined hens in factory farms.

Click here to download Mother Earth News full article on Better Eggs

* This post was originally published on June 28, 2011.

 

Recipe No. 12: Poached Eggs

Poaching eggs is one of the easiest and healthiest ways of preparing eggs, as you don’t need butter or oil to cook with. And poached eggs make great additions to everything from salads and steamed vegetables, to breakfast, soups or simply served with toast and a little salt and pepper.

When poaching eggs, it’s best to start with farm fresh eggs; in fact, the fresher the egg the better it will poach because its albumen (aka white) is thicker. According to WikiHow, “an egg straight from the chicken will poach without any need for vinegar as it will coagulate immediately.”

Of course there are varying opinions and our methods for how to best poach an egg, I found this WikiHow tutorial to be the most comprehensive and filled with great photos.

Also consider using milk, broth, tomato juice, wine, or even a pot of simmering soup as an alternative for poaching water, as eggs can absorb the color and flavor from other liquids used. Listed below are several classic recipes that use poached eggs in them, fell free to send us a note if you have any other suggestions.

Eggs in Purgatory Image source; http://www.macheesmo.com

Recipes:
Classic Eggs Benedict from pioneerwoman.com
Poached Eggs on Toasted Baguette with Goat Cheese and Black-Pepper Vinaigrette from allthatsplatters.blogspot.com
Simply Recipes’ Salad Lyonnaise (Poached egg and bacon salad)
Tomato soup with poached eggs, aka Eggs in Purgatory over at www.macheesmo.com
Fried Potatoes with Poached Eggs served up at the Cooking Channel

Recipe No. 11: Pickled Eggs

Simply put, pickled eggs are hard boiled eggs preserved in a pickling solution. And while often considered ‘bar food’, pickled eggs are actually a tasty method of storing and preserving the bounty of eggs today for the eating enjoyment of eggs tomorrow – or in this case, a couple of weeks.

“Pickling is, of course, a centuries-old method of preserving a wide range of foods. Eggs are pickled the world round, but they seem to have first become a barroom staple in pubs in the industrial north of England as part of the 19th-century ploughman’s (or peasant’s) lunch. They caught on because they were cheap (and) they did not spoil …”  www.esquire.com

There are hundreds of different recipes out there and I’ve provided links to a few below. Recipes vary from the traditional brine solution used for pickles to other more exotic and international solutions, which can impart a sweet or spicy taste. The final egg taste is largely determined by the pickling solution and the amount of time the eggs are left to pickle.

Pickled Beet Eggs

One of the most popular recipes originates from the Pennsylvania Dutch, pickled beet eggs or red beet eggs, includes whole beets in the pickling solution to impart a pink or red color to the eggs.

Recipe for Beet pickled eggs taken from simplyrecipes.com
1 beet, peeled and roughly chopped into 1 to 2-inch sized pieces, cooked*
1 cup beet juice*
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 onion, sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cardamom pods
1 star anise
6 hard cooked eggs peeled

*Simmer the chopped beets in a cup of water, covered, until tender, 30-40 minutes, or used canned beets. Use the beet juice from the cooking water, or the juice from canned beets.

Hard-boil the eggs, let them cool then remove the shells and place in quart sized glass jar. (Tip; It’s best to use a tall jar as it takes less liquid to cover them than when using a wide bowl.)

Combine beet juice, vinegar, sugar and spices in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Pour mixture over eggs in the jar, place some or all of the cooked beets in the jar (optional). Cover tightly. Let eggs sit for two days before eating, the longer the eggs marinate in the liquid, the darker the color and stronger the flavor will be. (Tip; Prolonged exposure to the pickling solution may result in a rubbery egg texture.)

 

Links and Resources:
English Pub Style Pickled Eggs at Food.com
Jalapeno pickled eggs at Simplyrecipes.com
Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipe found at Yankee Magazine online
Quebec Pickled Eggs at Yummly.com

Storing Cackleberries

Last week we explored the age-old question of whether or not to refrigerate (backyard) eggs. As common as that question is, it’s actually part of a larger conversation regarding best practices for long-term storage of eggs – say 3 to 6 months.

But why would anyone want to store eggs for that long you ask? Well you see, egg production really is a seasonal thing, and many of us look for ways to store the bounty of peak egg production (late spring to mid fall) to offset slower months when the hens produce fewer eggs.

Mother Earth News has a great article entitled How To Store Fresh Eggs. It documents a series of experiments they conducted to test various guaranteed and “gen-u-wine egg preservation methods”, methods that were found in “old farm magazines, ancient Department of Agriculture pamphlets, and other sources”. These methods include things like liquid glass (sodium silicate) – which is used for a variety of things including food preservation – as well as sawdust, wet sand and lard for packing!

It’s an interesting read and the article is both entertaining and informative. It introduced me to the terms ‘cackleberries’ and ‘hen fruit’, both of which I plan to use often – however this article focuses only on the storage of uncooked eggs.

Popular alternative methods for long-term storage include boiling, pickling and freezing. The USDA has a great list of recommended egg preparation and storage practices that’s worth a thorough read. Interestingly, it turns out that hard-cooked eggs spoil faster than fresh eggs! Yup, it’s true. When eggs are hard cooked, the protective coating (known as the bloom) is washed away, leaving the pores in the shell unprotected and vulnerable to bacteria and contamination. Hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and used within a week.

Egg Storage Chart
Product Refrigerator Freezer
Raw eggs in shell 3 to 5 weeks Do not freeze.
Raw egg whites 2 to 4 days 12 months
Raw egg yolks 2 to 4 days Yolks do not freeze well.
Raw egg accidentally frozen in shell Use immediately after thawing. Keep frozen; then refrigerate to thaw.
Hard-cooked eggs 1 week Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, liquid
Unopened
10 days Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, liquid
Opened
3 days Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, frozen
Unopened
After thawing, 7 days, or refer to “Use-By” date on carton. 12 months
Egg substitutes, frozen
Opened
After thawing, 3 days, or refer to “Use-By” date on carton. Do not freeze.
Casseroles made with eggs 3 to 4 days After baking, 2 to 3 months.
Eggnog, commercial 3 to 5 days 6 months
Eggnog, homemade 2 to 4 days Do not freeze.
Pies, pumpkin or pecan 3 to 4 days After baking, 1 to 2 months.
Pies, custard and chiffon 3 to 4 days Do not freeze.
Quiche with any kind of filling 3 to 4 days After baking, 1 to 2 months.

Egg Storage Chart taken from USDA

 

Links & Resources:
Knowledge & Wisdom: Storing Excess Fresh Eggs
Egg Products Preparation: Shell Eggs from Farm to Table