Written By Julie Paiva, CHHC
Eggs are highly nutritious and are wonderful addition to our diets, but not all eggs are created equal. An egg contains about 6–7 grams of protein as well as choline, biotin, vitamin B12, and even a small amount of vitamin D in its yolk. At typically less than $5 per dozen, eggs offer a lot of nutrition for a fairly low price. Shopping for eggs is not always an easy task. It can be confusing with all the options in the market. Below is a guide to help you understand what each label on your egg carton means.
Cage-free means that hens aren’t crowded in cages like more conventionally raised hens, but they are given access to roam around an enclosed space. However, this does not mean that hens are given outdoor access.
This label refers to eggs that come from hens given access to roam outdoors and forage in a pasture. This label is not totally regulated by the USDA.
Eggs labeled certified organic are from hens fed an organic diet (non-GMO, pesticide-free, etc.) and given outdoor access.
This means that the hens were given a diet of vegetarian feed. Although chickens are omnivores and will eat bugs if given the opportunity to forage, vegetarian-fed hens aren’t given things like oyster shells or fish meal, which is common in conventional poultry feed. This label only refers to diet and doesn’t provide information on living conditions.
This refers to eggs from hens given access to the outdoors. They’re able to forage, but their feed is typically supplemented.
Eggs can usually be consumed for 4–5 weeks after purchase as long as they’re refrigerated properly. If you want to see how fresh your eggs are, try the water test – fresh eggs typically sink when placed in water, while older eggs tend to float. Fresher eggs also have a round yolk that holds its shape once you crack it. Older yolks tend to flatten out and their whites are thinner.
Eggs can be prepared in so many different ways. You can switch up your typical egg dish with all sorts of variations from simple to complex dishes. Enjoy the health benefits all with the variety of this little nutrition powerhouse. Get cracking and add in this versatile, affordable superfood to your diet!