Eggs are a great snack or addition to a lunch box. Hard boiled eggs are particularly good as they’re easy to make ahead and travel with (although make sure you peel them before you pack them to avoid that “hard boiled egg” smell that so easily fills the air!). They carry many flavours so well – our favourites are butter or mayo with black pepper and ham. And they only take 4 – 8 minutes to cook…plus peeling time!
However, one important factor when cooking with eggs is to make sure you know the source of the eggs you are using. Pasture-raised eggs are best. These kinds of eggs are a significantly better source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (check out Why I Love…Eggs). The chickens they come from are also healthier than the conventionally raised chickens as they have access to sunlight, fresh air and are fed on their natural diet of grass and bugs.
But navigating your way through the many categories of eggs in the supermarket can be confusing (not to mention the advertising and marketing tricks companies use)!
The main kinds of eggs we come across are:
- Good old fashion ‘Eggs’
The typical ‘Home brand’ eggs you see in the supermarket. These eggs come from chickens raised in cramped cages, who never see the sun, fed on a grain diet and are generally given antibiotics. These facilities use artificial light to increase egg production and the air the chickens breathe are filled with dust (and in some overseas facilities, can contain ammonia).
- Cage-Free Eggs
Literally, the chickens these eggs come from are not bred in cages…BUT they are still raised indoors in cramped conditions. So really, not much difference to the no brand ‘eggs’. There is no guarantee that these eggs are not given antibiotics or not fed on grains.
- Farm-Fresh, Omega-3 Eggs
Farm-Fresh is a little misleading. This label just means that the chickens were fed grains, with maybe a little added flax to increase the omega-3s. Most of the time, the chickens are cage raised and their welfare is not any different to the chickens who produce the good old fashion ‘eggs’.
- Certified Organic Eggs
Certified Organic means the chickens consumed organic grains. If you don’t have access to pasture-raised eggs, these are the next best choice.
- Pasture-Raised Eggs
These are the kinds of eggs you would get if you were to have chickens in your backyard. Although, given the space needed to own chickens, this is not always an option. But with the increasing presence of farmers market, hopefully there is one near you where you can buy your eggs from.