I’m not one to pay much attention to the various designations for each month, like Women’s History month, June Dairy month, or the like. But it did occur to me a few days ago, when I was scratching my head for some blogging ideas, to see if there was, in fact, a month set aside for eggs or chickens. And indeed there is: May. Rather synergistic timing, if I may say, but I’ve been finding that my intuition has been kicked up a notch lately.
So here we are, on the verge of a month-long celebration of the egg. I don’t promise to blog exclusively on the virtues of the egg all month long, but you can be sure to waltz into June with a handy grab-bag of egg trivia to amaze your friends with. I could use such a grab-bag myself.
Of course when I say “egg” I mean the farm-fresh ones akin to what we raise here, from chickens that forage largely on the grasses, plants, bugs, and worms in their pasture. And there really is a huge difference between farm- and factory-raised eggs, not only in taste, color, and “body” but also in nutrients. I found it rather stunning to learn that eggs from chickens raised on pasture have, on average:
• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
than their factory-raised counterparts. (This data is from Mother Earth News’ Chicken and Egg page.) Why the big difference? Fresh, varied greens, bugs, fresh air, sunlight, exercise…. Corn comprises the bulk of the factory chicken’s feed, which limits the nutritional content of the eggs to that of the corn. Keep this in mind when doing a taste-test. You’re not going to see as dramatic of a difference if you’re tasting farm-raised eggs in the winter. They’re indoors, eating feed just like all of their less-fortunate factory kin. Of course organic feed confers many more benefits than conventional, but the real difference is found in the pasture.
I made a somewhat snarky comment the other day on Elsie Marley’s blog about the “muscle tone” of the plastic egg yolk in her photograph. It’s a phenomenon I haven’t heard much talk about when lauding the virtues of pastured eggs, maybe because we’re too chained down by our Puritan roots? (more snarkiness) The yolks, apart from being far more orange, have a fantastic perkiness to them. Like the disgustingly proud and upright breasts of a young woman versus those of, say, a proud and upright not-so-young woman. I don’t know that that’s really of huge health consequence, but aren’t we as a species programmed to select the freshest-looking, supple food? Meditate on that. Without blushing.
Now on my list of things to do: photograph perky egg yolk to substantiate this seemingly far-fetched claim.
As you go forward into May today, remember:
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.