Eggs are among the top kitchen products, and they feature in numerous pre-prepared food items in today’s stores and supermarkets. The fact that they are extremely versatile makes them an essential ingredient in many meals. Eggs can be boiled, poached, fried, scrambled, baked, or even being used in omelettes. In addition to that, they can also be used to make glazes for baked items, meringue, and soufflé as well as pancake batter. They are also important ingredients in sweet or savory dishes.
All these purposes heighten the demand for eggs. Initially, purchasing eggs was as simple as choosing the color of the shell; either brown or white. However, with the rising concern on how animals are reared, different types of eggs have been created. These types are based on the conditions in which the hens live. Here is a simple guide on the top 5 different egg types from which you can choose.
The Basic Types of Eggs And Why You Need To Know The Difference
The following are the basic types of eggs, classified according to the living conditions of the hens, as well as the type of feed they consume.
1). Free range eggs
These are eggs laid by free range hens. Free range hens are those that have daily, unrestricted access to the outdoors. Also referred to as free roaming, these hens roam around feeding on any edible material on their path, usually plenty of vegetables and bugs. The free range eggs have gained popularity, and their demand is hard to satisfy. Since their supply is always short of the demand, they tend to be more expensive compared to other egg types.
2). Cage free eggs
These are eggs produced by hens living under cage free conditions. Sometimes, the term cage free is used synonymously with free range, though they have totally different meanings. Cage free hens are usually free roaming, just like the free range birds. However, they are usually in an enclosed space. The space in which the hens are raised is sometimes spacious and the hens can access sunlight.
Most cage free hens are reared in enclosures such as barns or hen pens. This allows them to enjoy a little free space, while protecting them against any dangers. This also helps to control their diet. For example, when the hens are fed on a diet abundant in flax seeds and fish oils, the resulting eggs are omega 3 enhanced. The yolks of omega 3 enhanced eggs contain up to 6 times the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in standard eggs.
With the overly publicized benefits of omega 3 oils, the demand for these omega enhanced eggs is increasing. If you are among the people who find taking fatty fish or supplements a bit odd, including these eggs in your diet can boost the level of omega 3 oils in the body. It questionable though if this is a good way to get more omega 3 oils.
The thing you need to watch out for with cage free eggs is what does cage free actually mean for this brand. If it is like a lot of company farms it is not a health environment. That is why I always try to get organic free range eggs.
This video shows you why you need to be careful when you buy your eggs.
The Best Choice For Eggs In My Opinion Is Organic Free Range Eggs
3). Organic free range eggs
These eggs are laid by free range hens, whose diet is strictly organic. Since free range hens are allowed to roam all over the place without restrictions, the diet can be controlled easily by keeping the space in which they roam free of all inorganic matters.
More often than not, free range organic eggs come from hens that feed freely on a certified diet of pure, organically grown wheat. Therefore, the hens do not access any feed containing animal products. The yolks of organic free range eggs are quite pale owing to their wheat based diet.
The organic free range hens have no access to inorganic feeds, most of which contain growth accelerating compounds and hormones. They are also antibiotic free. This means that no antibiotics are administered on the hens, unless confirmed to be suffering from infections or diseases. Generally, organic free range eggs are laid by hens on an exclusively organic diet.
This is the kind of eggs I personally prefer to get. I always try to get organic free range eggs because the are the closest thing you can get to the way thing were before factory farming took over. You will also want to make sure you get these eggs from a reputable company. There are a lot of companies that are trying to take advantage of health conscious people by labeling their eggs natural, cage free, or even free range when they get little to no access to the outdoors. The Cornucopia Institute has created a scorecard that will help you choose a good brand of eggs. You can find it here.
4). Organic cage free eggs
These are eggs laid by cage free hens on an exclusively organic diet. Mostly, the cage free hens are left to freely roam in a spacious enclosure, and fed a vegetarian diet containing grains and pulses. The feed is particularly inspected to ascertain that no animal products or by products, including fish meal, are contained in the feed.
Organic cage free hens are usually reared free of any hormones, whether in the diet or through injections. Antibiotics are strictly prohibited, unless there is undoubted evidence of disease or infection. These conditions keep the hens unchallenged by artificial hormones, making them a healthier option when compared to the standard eggs. If you would like to purchase organic cage free eggs, you have to part with a little more cash since they are a tad more expensive.
5). Store brand eggs
These are eggs that have acquired the private labels of top companies. They can be any type of eggs, from organic cage free hens, organic free range hens, cage free hens or free range hens. Store brand eggs are well packaged and bear the name and logo of the packaging company. It is up to the packaging company to reveal the type of eggs they have labeled.
The most popular store brand eggs are from cage free hens. There are numerous stores offering cage free eggs. Restaurants have also taken up to endorsing cage free eggs, and there have been reports of top restaurants using branded eggs.
Alternatively, a store may own a farm on which chicken are reared. The Humane Society of United States, commonly called HSUS demands reports and makes confirmation that the said eggs are laid by the hens identified on the egg pack. This ensures that hens are reared in a spacious enclosure, thereby getting rid of the traditional battery cage confinement egg laying. The eggs collected from the supervised farm are then branded with the store’s logo and sold to the public.
With these five, simple egg types in mind, you can now easily make an informed choice. Previously, people purchased eggs without any thought on the living conditions of the hen that laid the eggs. However, with the rising concern for humane living conditions of animals, the different types of eggs have emerged, making their popularity rise above that of standard eggs. This not only promotes health animal living, it also promotes human consumption of nutrient enhanced eggs.
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