I’ve always had high egg standards, as I’m a farmers market and local business patron, but when my super cool backyard hen owning friend and neighbor brought eggs as a hostess gift, something clicked inside me. I simply couldn’t get those eggs out of my head. Now I’ve got my own backyard hens (in my front yard), and I can tell you why and how they’re better:
They Look Better ~
We get different colored eggs: 2 white; 3 brown; and 2 blue/green egg layers are currently in residence in our coop. Two of those brown ones are speckled with dark brown. Shell appearance is determined by the breed of hen, and makes little or no other difference to the egg. Size, shape, color, and texture all stay pretty consistent throughout their laying years, so it’s not difficult to know which egg came from which hen. The white and yolk, however, are always the same. I don’t know who’s egg is whose once they’re cracked, but you can see the difference between a backyard hen egg from a factory farmed egg by the yolk color. Our yolks are more golden/orange. Shell appearance is important to me when selecting my breeds, only because the variety is fun. I’m not embarrassed to say that I admire my eggs often, and look forward to eating or sharing each and every one.
They Taste Better ~
Fresh, quality eggs taste delicious. I think my backyard hens make the most wonderful eggs ever, but I realize I could be bias, my friends could just think I’m too cool to disappoint me on this issue, and my daughter may just like boasting. But they really, truly are more delicious than their weeks old super market brethren!
They Are Better For You ~
A varied diet makes these nutrient dense powerhouses practically a superfood. They are a packed source of protein and other essential nutrients vital to good health. According to a study by Mother Earth News, on average, the nutrient content in the pasture raised hens over super market varieties was significantly better; 1/3 less cholesterol 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A; twice the omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene. That’s huge!
They Make You Feel Better ~
The animals in my life bring me so much joy! I love my beasties! I’ve got a dog, a cat, and 7 hens. Spending time with each of them have their own benefits, but time with my hens is fondly referred to as “Hen Therapy” It really has been a great way to wind down. No, we don’t snuggle or anything - they really only get excited to see me because I always come with some sort of food or fun, but they are endlessly entertaining and soothing, and they make terrific eggs!
I feel better on a social level too, because while some steps forward have been made in the poultry industry, I know that the environment my girls are in, creates a better product, and happy pets.
Yes! Backyard Chicken Eggs Are Better ~
All this adds up to a better egg. The planning, the building, the raising, and the caring for them, all makes me appreciate each egg they lay. The varied diet makes them better for me nutritionally, and gives them a richer, and more appealing color. Not to mention that my eggs look enchanting on their egg roller coaster (really it's just egg storage that keeps them in order of freshness)!
Better Eggs In A Basket ~
Eggs in a basket are my absolute favorite way to have eggs. It is such a nice way to highlight a beautiful golden egg! The basket differs from day to day: traditional thick slice of delicious bread; sautéed vegetables; potato hash; roasted vegetables. It’s a great way to use leftover: lomein; crab cake; vegetables; spaghetti; etc. too. I often make mine “over easy” - I really can’t have my whites runny, but the yolk should be the consistency of a nice cheesy sauce. I like the bottom of the egg to be speckled golden brown, which makes the fat and pre-heated pan very important.
My mouth is watering, just thinking of this!
Depending on the size/number of eggs, I use either my 6” cast iron skillet for 1 egg, or 8” ceramic skillet for 2 eggs. Over medium/high heat, cook or place “basket” ingredients in the skillet, once cooked (or immediately if they don’t require cooking), create a circle with those ingredients, leaving the center of the skillet for the butter and eggs. If you’ve cooked breakfast meat, or otherwise already have sufficient fat in the pan, then just add the egg/s, otherwise, put in a pat of butter, then add the egg/s in the center of the basket, in the preheated skillet.
For over easy, cover the skillet for a 60-90 seconds, till the white is pretty well set, then use a large flexible spatula to check that the whole thing isn’t stuck to the bottom, and flip it, leaving on the heat for just 20 seconds, then slide it onto a plate.
For sunny side up, cover the skillet for a 90-120 seconds, till the white is pretty well set, large flexible spatula to check that the whole thing isn’t stuck to the bottom, and slide it onto a plate You can also melt cheese on the eggs... I usually do.