And I thought choosing between over easy and scrambled was hard. How about what kind of eggs to buy? Have you noticed all the labels on those cartons? What do they all mean? In other words, not egg –xact – ly so straightforward. Well, perhaps I can illuminate a bit on this quintessential breakfast ingredient and help you make the healthiest choice for you and your family. And, don’t miss the delicious easy recipe (great for a crowd for brunch!) and an egg cracking trick at the end, too!
1. COMMERCIAL EGGS
2. COLORED EGGS (BROWN, GREEN, ETC.)
3. ORGANIC EGGS
4. FREE RANGE EGGS
Hens are able to move about freely, not caged, indoors and out but outside can be just as crowded as inside. This term can be a loose one and mean many things. Try to clarify if possible so that you know what you are buying.
5. CAGE-FREE EGGS
The chickens are not caged but not outside either.
6. OMEGA 3 EGGS
7. PASTEURIZED EGGS
8. PASTURED EGGS
These eggs are not to be confused with pasteurized eggs in the above definition. The hens are “out to pasture” moving freely indoors and out and eating what they want, bugs and the like. It is important to note that you must not assume favorable hen living conditions with the labeling. For example, even though the label of the eggs may say certified organic or from uncaged or free-range hens, this does not equate with access to the outdoors or to pasture with lots of room to move about.
WHICH ARE THE HEALTHIEST EGGS TO EAT?
The short answer: pastured eggs. But why?
Other than showing concern for the well-being of our feathered friends, why is eating eggs from hens that are free to roam in pasture make such a difference in the value of the egg or make it healthier to
eat? A 2007 Mother Earth study that compared store brand supermarket eggs to pastured eggs said the pastured eggs may have the following benefits:
- 5 times more vitamin D
- 2/3 more vitamin A
- 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
- 3 times more vitamin E
- 7 times more beta-carotene
WHERE TO FIND PASTURED EGGS
Even a year ago, pastured eggs could not be found in most large grocery store chains, making it inconvenient for some to purchase them. However, many stores are carrying them because of demand. Farmers’ markets almost always have sellers as well that carry them, but they may cost more. How much more depends on where you live. Besides perusing your local farmers’ markets, you can check out the Eat Wild and Local Harvest websites to look for pastured eggs in your area that you can easily order from or pick up regularly.
HEALTHY & EASY RECIPE: EGGS FOR ONE . . . OR A CROWD
This method of cooking eggs is so easy, filling and delicious! Treat yourself one morning (or treat others, too, by multiplying the recipe) and share for a brunch or even a light dinner.
BAKED EGGS IN TOMATO SAUCE WITH OREGANO PITA CRISPS
One Serving (or multiply as needed)
- 1 pastured egg
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon Parmesan Reggiano
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced
- smidgen of olive oil
- 1 small whole wheat pita bread cut into quarters
- 1 teaspoon butter with a drizzle of olive oil over it
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced or dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon of fresh garlic, minced
Now do this
For eggs . . .
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat ramekin with olive oil.
- Pour tomato sauce into a ramekin,
- Crack an egg and gently slide the egg on top of tomato sauce.
- Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan Reggiano.
- Sprinkle with fresh herbs of choice.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until egg white is firm but yolk is soft. Do not overcook.
- Mash butter, olive oil and garlic together.
- Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt.
- Sprinkle with oregano.
- Spread mixture over whole wheat pita bread and place on foil or small cookie sheet.
- Bake while egg ramekin is baking until golden brown and bubbly.
- Serve with egg ramekin.
MAKE A CRACK AT IT: HOW TO CRACK AN EGG LIKE A PRO
If you cook a lot with eggs or just want to look like you do . . . you may want to master this: cracking an egg with one hand. Watch this for some great tips.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/bitzcelt/2388261888/”>bitzcelt</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
Video source: YouTube, foodwishes.com, Chef John