The egg section at the grocery store can get pretty confusing. There are white eggs, brown, eggs, organic eggs, grain-fed, pasture-raised, and many more marketing labels designed to convince us that we should buy that particular carton for it’s health benefits or value.
I’ve gone through phases, starting with organic brown eggs, moving on to the organic white high in omega-3 variety (that were grain fed) and finally ending exclusively on the pasture raised variety.
Pasture raised means that the hens have been allowed to roam free foraging for their food. Their diets include insects, grubs, grass, seeds and other natural nutrition sources. The hens soak up plenty of vitamin D from the sun and in general are healthier and happier, which makes a huge difference in the quality and taste of the egg.
- Pasture-raised eggs have 10% less fat, 34% less cholesterol, 40% more vitamin A, and 400% more omega-3 fatty acids. (USDA Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education Program)
- An egg from a pastured hen has 30% more vitamin E (Animal Feed Science and Technology, 1998)
- Pasture-raised eggs produce positive HDL or good cholesterol and lower “bad” triglycerides (Nutrition, 1993)
- More and more top chefs choose pasture raised eggs for their superior taste and freshness.
- Better quality of life for the hens
Yes, these eggs cost more than a regular dozen, but the cost difference isn’t significant when you consider the health benefits. For our family, it’s important because we eat a lot of eggs. We generally go through a carton of 18 in less than a week. If you have access to a local farmers market or farm coop you should be able to get a better price than what you will find at the grocery store.
Have you tried pasture raised eggs? Can you taste the difference?