The Ladies and Their Eggs
The way hens are raised directly relates to the quality and freshness of the eggs you buy and consume. Happy, healthy girls produce good eggs!
“A study from Mother Earth News showed that pastured eggs are significantly more nutrient dense than conventional supermarket eggs:
• 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”
As with so many things, commercial raising and handling of chickens and eggs can be detrimental to the animals and to us. CAFO operations are despicable and I am an advocate for buying local, and from reputable (respectful) animal handlers.
“A concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an animal feeding operation (AFO) – a farm in which animals are raised in confinement – that has over 1000 “animal units” confined for over 45 days a year.” Wikipedia
According to Dr. Mercola: “The salmonella risk is increased when hens are raised in unsanitary conditions, which is extremely rare for small organic farms where the chickens are raised in clean, spacious coops, have access to sunlight, and forage for natural food. Conventional eggs, making up the vast majority of eggs in typical grocery stores, have an increased risk for salmonella, which is why I advise against eating conventional eggs raw. One study by the British government found that 23 percent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella, compared to just over 4 percent in organic flocks and 6.5 percent in free-range flocks.”
“As it stands, the excessive use of antibiotics among CAFO animals has turned them into veritable ‘disease factories.’” Mercola.
Years ago, while raising my children in Northern Vermont, I bought odd-sized eggs from a local (CAFO) egg farm in New Hampshire. The odd-sized eggs (seconds) seemed to be a great blessing because they were collected more quickly and the farm just wanted to get rid of them! Woo Hoo! I found out later that the “right” sized eggs were stored for a year or more and then sold in grocery stores.
The most disturbing thing I saw at the NH farm was that the sweet hens were kept in wire cages not much larger than their bodies, with feet suspended below them. AND I was told that the lights were left on 24 hours a day so the hens would lay more eggs. Despicable! I learned recently that this same NH farm was sold and now raises free-range chickens and organic eggs – there is hope and I am grateful to the new owners!
Someone mentioned to me recently they just paid 29 cents a dozen for eggs. Can you guess why they are so cheap! It may be a “pay now, or pay later” situation.
Of course, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet! But I tend to believe that eggs do not need to be refrigerated or washed as I use this method every day. Do you know why eggs are refrigerated when you buy them? Probably because they are already old and perhaps because they have been washed after unsanitary conditions. If we give the producers the benefit of the doubt, refrigeration is perhaps a preventative measure because they know the eggs will be old by the time you buy them (Buy Local, Buy Fresh). Eggs stay fresh for 5-6 weeks without washing or refrigeration. The US, Japan, and Australia are supposedly the only three countries that ever refrigerate eggs.
And beyond the egg offering, hens are charming, friendly beings. I am choosing to only raise hens this time. I sure don’t want to leave the guys out, but my experience with roosters is that they are good looking, noisy, and often aggressive while doing their job of protecting the ladies! Contrary to what some believe, hens do not need roosters to lay eggs; roosters are needed for fertile eggs only.
I would love to hear your chicken stories, so write
[Foodie Tip: Eggs are NOT dairy – they are just stored with the dairy in the grocery store. “Dairy is… milk and anything made from milk, like cheese, butter andm yogurt.” -Huffington Post]
Try this 15 minute Chicken Egg Drop Soup.
Chicken Egg Drop Soup
2 Cups cooked chicken meat
4 c chicken broth
1 T arrowroot
1/4 C water
1 T tamari
2 eggs, whisked
Sesame Oil (drizzle on top of each bowl)
Garnish: scallions and smoked paprika
Put broth in saucepan and add chicken pieces. Mix arrowroot with water and add to broth. Add tamari. Bring broth to a boil to thicken slightly. Then drizzle whisked eggs into broth slowly. Garnish with scallions and smoked paprika and drizzle with Sesame oil.
[Foodie Tip: Try Over Easy Cafe at 32 Broadway St in Asheville. They serve Local, Free-Range Organic Eggs!!!]
These Maple Meringue Cookies are easy to make, are grain/gluten and sugar free and have 2 basic ingredients!!!
Maple Air Cookies
2 egg whites
1/8 cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 200 degrees
In a medium pot, whisk together the egg whites and the maple syrup. Turn stove eye to lowest setting possible. Use a hand mixer to beat until meringue holds a stiff glossy peak. Turn heat off after first minute. Takes 3 or 4 minutes total.
Line cookie sheet with parchment and lightly oil with coconut oil. Use a disher (small ice cream scoop) to scoop each cookie onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Cookies are great just as they are, but you can also add nuts, cinnamon or nutmeg if desired.
Bake cookies at 200°F for 2 hours. Allow to cool for 1 hour. Enjoy!
[Foodie Tip: crack eggs on a flat surface, not on the edge of bowl. This keeps shell in tact instead of making shards that might get into food.]
Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not being the “mad scientist” in the kitchen or loving-up her cat, dogs and hens, she enjoys being the Food Editor for WNC Woman Magazine and volunteering in the community.