Egg-straspecial Week

By Dawnie April 18, 2011

Finding the Right Egg

Organic: Chickens must be fed organic feed without animal byproducts, be “free range” and the use of antibiotics is prohibited. The feed may or may not be processed organically. Read the label.

Cage-free: Instead of the cage system, chickens are kept in large poultry barns. The floor is open and the chickens can sometimes walk around the barn. There is no standard, however, for how much open space is required per bird or what types of antibiotics are administered. The hens are often de-beaked to prevent pecking. Oftentimes the temperature and light in the barnm is manipulated to mimic the seasons and force the birds into irregular production cycles.

Free-range: Chickens must have access to an outdoor space, which might include a dirt, sand or concrete. Producers who practice this method often have small doors in the coop that open out to a fenced yard.

Vegetarian-fed: Chickens are kept indoors as foraging for food outside might include bugs, which is not considered a vegetarian diet.

Omega-3 enhanced: The chickens are fed ground flaxseed, algae or fish oil in combination with their feed to enhance the levels of omega-3s.

Day range pastured poultry and pasture pens: Chickens have a fenced pasture where they range during the day. At night they are housed inside a permanent, or semi-permanent, coop with open floors. Pasture pens are outdoor movable shelters. They have no floors, so the chickens live right on the ground, and a cover protects them from too much sun and rain. The feed is a combination of pasture and commercial, organic or other feed. Read the label. —CL

How to Hard-Boil an Egg

When cracked open, a farm-fresh egg will reveal the yolk practically standing up as a result of its strong “muscle tone.” While there are many delicious ways to prepare fresh eggs, hard-boiling them is not recommended. Due to its freshness, the shell sticks to the white of an egg like a second skin and you’ll find it difficult to remove it without also removing parts of the egg white. The benefit of farm-fresh eggs is that they have a longer shelf life than commercial eggs, so hold onto them for a couple weeks.

The perfect hard-boiled egg is easy to prepare. Here are some tips for making sure your hard-boiled, farm-fresh eggs come out just the way you want them.

For large eggs, boil the water before submerging the eggs directly from the fridge into the pot. The water should cover the tops of the eggs by about 1 inch. Cook the eggs for:

  • 6 minutes—for the perfect soft-boiled egg
  • 9 minutes—for a hard-boiled egg with a soft yolk
  • 10 minutes—for the perfect hard-boiled egg
  • 11 minutes—for a hard-boiled egg with a firm yolk To cool the eggs, drain them and then add cold water to the pot. Let them sit before draining the eggs again once they are cool to the touch. To peel, gently tap each egg on your kitchen counter and pull off the shell, starting with the wide end of the egg (where the air sac is). Eat whole, make deviled eggs or store them in the fridge if you don’t plan to use them within four hours.