Labels on eggs in the grocery store can be pretty confusing. First, you can buy the standard eggs. Grocery stores also have what they are labeling “free range” and “organic.” You need to start by asking, what access do the chickens have to scratch and eat bugs and green stuff?
Do you remember that golden glow on the mini pound cakes I made a few days ago? That’s not a trick of the camera. (I’m not that good with the camera.) Compare it with the egg yolk from my cast iron basics (fry pan) piece. That egg yolk has good color but not quite as striking as the one from the pound cake. Although both of these eggs came from pastured chickens, at this time of year they don’t get as many bugs and as much green stuff as they will as spring comes on, so neither one of them is as dramatic as the eggs you can get in late spring and early fall from pastured eggs. Now compare them to the eggs in your refrigerator. Are the yolks pale yellow?
That bright golden yolk indicates higher nutrition. Pastured chickens produce eggs with much higher levels of the good oils you find in fish, and they have much lower levels of cholesterol. Pasturing makes them less vulnerable to disease, so chances are pastured chickens never needed drugs to keep them healthy.
Do you want to find pastured eggs? You can look for eggs through a source like Locally Grown or Local Harvest, ask around, or call your county extension agent. I’ve heard some people think pastured eggs just taste better, but my palate isn’t that subtle. Instead, I like pastured eggs because they are better for me and my family. (That said, pastured chicken is like a taste of heaven! Surely their eggs taste better too.)