Farm fresh eggs don’t look like conventional grocery store eggs. And sometimes the change can make us question things. Don’t let them! Here are a few of the differences explained.
Ever since we started raising our chickens in 2020, I hear from friends and family alike that farm fresh eggs are just better than store-bought eggs. But why is that? Could it be they taste better than store-bought eggs? Could it be the confidence we have in knowing where they come from and how they were raised? I decided to dig a bit deeper to see if farm fresh eggs are truly better than store-bought eggs. I don’t think the results are going to shock anyone – they are!
What’s a farm fresh egg?
A farm fresh egg is produced by a hen outside of a large-scale farm. Sometimes industrial farms confine their hens to cages. Sometimes large-scale farms let their hens roam in a barn so they can call their eggs “cage free.” Our hens live in a run and are allowed to free range when we know it’s safe for them to do so (have you read about our crazy winter with predators? Here’s the post).
What makes farm fresh eggs different from store-bought eggs?
The biggest difference in the eggs we’re talking about is probably pasteurization. According to the Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pasteurization is the process in which eggs are “rapidly heated and held at a minimum required temperature for a specific time to destroy bacteria.”
We don’t pasteurize our eggs.
Our eggs are also richer in color because of the diversity of our hens’ diets. They’re able to eat the way God intended them to. On grass, eating grit and bugs, when they want. They also have something called a “bloom.”
A bloom? Like a flower?
The bloom is the natural, protective coating that protects the egg and sort of seals the pores in the egg. It’s produced by the hen when she lays her eggs. Because it’s present, and the pores are sealed, farm fresh eggs can be kept at room temperature for a number of weeks.
You can’t see it. You can’t feel it. But you know it’s there. So how do you remove it? Some say simply run the egg under warm water to swell the pores shut. Gently rub the egg with a paper towel to remove any stubborn dirt and debris. Washed eggs should be refridgerated. Others say use soap. The only con we’ve been able to find to using soap to clean our eggs is that some say it flavors your egg because they’re so porous. We haven’t found this to be the case – we’ve decided to use soap to clean our eggs.
Can the bloom do anything else?
This bloom is part of what allows for shelf-stable egg storage. When you submerge eggs in a pickling lime solution in a glass jar like this one, you seal the egg and it becomes shelf stable. What’s even cooler? History alludes to older homesteaders keeping eggs for up to two years! There are several ways to ensure an older egg is still safe for consumption, including a sniff test or the sink test (in a cup of water, very fresh eggs will sink and lay on their sides).
Other preservation methods
Waterglassing eggs may be the most cost effective method we have found. However, you can also freeze eggs. Frozen eggs are a great option for baking. You can also freeze dry eggs. In the same vein, dehydrating is a preservation option, too.
How do I know which farm fresh eggs to preserve?
In waterglassing eggs, you want to create a good seal. So what does this mean? No deformities. The smallest crack or piece of dirt will spoil your eggs. So when waterglassing eggs, you’re truly searching for quality. The best ways to achieve this are to clean your coop regularly and collect eggs regularly.
This is where I think farm fresh eggs are better than store bought eggs. Not only do you have daily run-ins with the bloom, the coolest protection against bacteria ever, but you have a direct line of communication between you and your chickens – egg deformities. Based on the kind of deformity you’re dealing with will tell you what exactly your chickens need.
Too much calcium
Too much calcium presents itself as bumps on your eggs. In our flock, I have a few hens notoriously prone to over calcification in their eggs. But because it isn’t a daily occurrence, I know that I don’t have to worry about the overall health of my chicken. It also isn’t happening to every single one of my eggs, another good indicator there’s nothing bigger I need to be concerned about.
Over calcification has never affected the quality of my eggs.
Blood in the egg/egg yolk
This one is a little more off putting. But again, it’s a message you’re getting from your chickens. Blood in the yolk can be a few things. Sometimes, it’s a misfire in your hen’s reproductive system. There’s so much that goes into forming eggs and sometimes they just don’t form properly. Blood in the yolk can also be a sign of a hen in distress.
Further research says blood in an egg is safe to consume. Because it isn’t aesthetically pleasing, we choose not to eat it. In the three years we’ve been raising chickens, this has only ever happened to me once.
Different colored hues
The breed of your bird is what determines the egg color. However, diet, stress and environment can determine the hue of the egg. For instance, these Easter Egger eggs. Can you tell the difference? Dark olive, light green and an almost baby blue. The cool part? I only have three Easter Egger breed birds! And we collected the eggs in the same week!
One of the coolest finds on the homestead is probably a fairy egg. Fairy eggs are incredibly small. Legend has it people though fairy eggs were good luck, and in some cases, attempted to preserve them. Our fairy eggs are always produced by the same hen and we’ve been fortunate to have several. Our fairy eggs have no yolk, which is directly linked to a misfire in this hen’s reproductive system.
OTHER GREAT POSTS
I’ve dedicated this month to talking about chickens. I’ve got other great posts already published. Check out –