I heard a nutritionist say that eggs are the perfect food source; he added if you don’t believe it, leave it alone and watch it turn into a chicken.  I remember well when eggs became taboo.  I was raised eating eggs often for breakfast, and then all of a sudden if you ate an egg, you were going to have a heart attack.  It took years for the USDA to finally say that eggs are so nutritious, everyone should eat two to three eggs per week.  Now most say eat as many as you want.

We raised our own chickens for eggs when we lived in Jackson.  You cannot beat fresh home-grown eggs.  But here are some facts you may not know. 

Chickens have earlobes, and the color of the earlobe often predicts the color of the eggs that a hen will produce.  Those with white earlobes usually lay white eggs, while those with brown or red earlobes usually produce brown eggs.  Brown eggs are more expensive than white eggs, because the hens that lay brown eggs are bigger, and more expensive to feed.  The nutrition values are the same as white eggs.

All eggs start off white, but change color before laying due to the pigments which cause the color change.  Cage-free eggs may come from chickens that live in cages.  Cage-free by definition is a cage with more than 120 square inches per bird.  Free-range chickens are better, but still the label is very misleading; they only have an option of going outside, but in reality, the doors are small and closed most of the time, and most never go outside.

Not every egg in the carton is the same size, in fact they are all a little different in size.  So, the eggs are classified by the weight of a dozen. A small dozen is 18 ounces (about 1.5 ounces per egg). A medium dozen is 21 ounces (about 2 ounces per egg). A large dozen is 24 ounces (about 2 ounces per egg). An extra-large dozen is 27 ounces (about 2.25 ounces per egg). A jumbo dozen is 30 ounces (about 2.5 ounces per egg). Egg size is determined by age; the older the hen, the larger the egg.

Egg yolks range in color from pale yellow to deep, rich orange.  This is determined by diet, and is the most obvious difference between home-grown, and store-bought eggs.  If the hen’s diet is filled with insects and grasses, these eggs will have that beautiful dark orange color which can result in up to a 100-fold increase in micronutrient value.  We recently pickled some eggs in banana pepper and jalapeno juice; they are incredible. I am going to get a couple as soon as I finish this column.

God bless you all,

RHM