Thursday, August 29, 2013

Costco Eggs, Brown or White, and Backyard Chickens

I know that you can't judge an egg by the outside color.  When I lived in the country outside Chapel Hill, NC, I had chickens, and had plenty of experiences that taught me, whether brown or white or speckled, the outside of an egg doesn't predict the inside.

But I forgot. The lovely brown eggshells made them seem healthier, so I bought brown eggs at Costco.

Purely by accident, I cracked a brown egg into two white eggs from my previous carton. The color of the brown egg yolk was completely different, pale yellow compared to the rich orange of the white-shelled egg yolks. The brown egg yolk looked sick beside the others.

I think deeper food colors are generally better for you (spinach, kale, beets). The pale egg yolk convinced me to go back to the white-shelled eggs that I've been buying for years. The darker yolk makes them look healthier to me.

But, but, but: I've also learned that chicken feed can contain chemicals such as lutein and zeaxanthin that make egg yolks darker. 

I'll stick with white-shelled eggs, but food chemicals and food science is complicated; I don't understand It. A helpless feeling makes me want to feel in control and "grow my own", but I won't revert to backyard chickens. When the hens get too old to lay, or if the chicks turn out to be roosters, keeping backyard chickens can be sad.

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