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Friday, December 23, 2011

Which size to buy? Egg-celent question.


Have you ever stood in the grocery store trying to figure out which of the 15 different eggs are the best based on price and size?  Me too! 

Well I decided that despite having chickens of our own and not really having to worry about the price of eggs, cuz our cost per dozen is way higher than anything from HEB still thanks to our 'free' wire, the rest of the world is still probably standing in the egg section trying to figure out which package is the best purchase. 

In my in-depth research, thanks to a show about chickens on History Channel, I first learned that what makes the color of the egg is the color not of the chicken’s feathers, but of their ear.  Yeah, weird and new information for me too.  I’m all about teaching here.
 

  That little flat brown spot on this chicken’s face is her ear and thanks to the marvels of creation you can see 

that she lays brown eggs. 

Does the brown shell mean these eggs are better for you than the white ones?  No.  Also something I learned on the History Channel.  

What does make the difference is what the chicken eats.  The more bugs and free-range-y the chickens are the higher the concentrations are of lutein (good for the eyes) and choline (not the stuff for swimming pools),  in the eggs they produce.  Choline is good for the brain and it keeps you from gettin more stupider.  Perhaps I should up my egg intake.   You'll recognize a super nutrient rich egg by its dark yolk.

There is the size factor.  

Size Calories Protein Fat oz/Dozen
Small 50 5 3.5 18
Medium 60 6 4.0 21
Large 70 6 5.0 24
Extra Large 80 7 5.0 27
Jumbo 90 8 6.0 30

If you are interested in feeding your family 42g of protein you could serve seven Medium eggs, or six of the Extra Large eggs for the same $0.84.  In this instance large eggs would cost $0.91 for the same amount of protein.  OK, that sounds complicated even to me.  :)

So let's look at it a different way... 
Brand Size Cost # in Package Cost/Egg Cost/Oz oz/doz
Hill Country Fare xlg $2.50 18 $0.14 $0.06 27
HEB large $4.69 36 $0.13 $0.07 24
Hill Country Fare large $1.57 12 $0.13 $0.07 24
Hill Country Fare med $1.48 12 $0.12 $0.07 21

So if you have the opportunity to buy medium eggs for $1.48 you'll pay less per egg and get the same amount of protein as the large eggs.  Or if you are more interested in the cost per ounce and will cook one less (or fewer???) egg for breakfast you should go with the extra large eggs.

If you find a sale like the one at Randall's this Saturday for large eggs at $0.99 then you'll know that's the deal to buy.

Also did you know that eggs keep in the fridge for at least three weeks?  Or that the super fresh ones that I picked up out of the coop this afternoon are VERY difficult to peel as hard boiled eggs?  They slowly dry out and become easier to peel over time.


But wait, there are so many other choices of eggs beyond just size.  So here are a few more things I learned from this site.  
  • Cage-free means that chickens can roam around the indoor facility they live in.  But there is a higher mortality rate and hen-pecking rate in these facilities.
  • Free-range means they have access to outside, but depending on the climate they may or may not go outside and scratch around for bugs.  
  • Organic eggs mean that the feed they are given is also organic (organic in, organic out)
  • Omega 3 means the food has flax seed, marine algae or fish oil in the feed and if you don't eat a lot of fish, but want a higher Omega 3 diet this is apparently a good way to get it.  

If you want eggs with any of these qualities, here's about what you'll pay per egg or ounce of protein.

Brand Size Cost # in Package Cost/Egg Cost/Oz oz/doz
Cntl Mkt cage free omega 3 large $3.25 12 $0.27 $0.14 24
Farmhouse large $3.25 12 $0.27 $0.14 24
Organic omega 3 large $4.10 12 $0.34 $0.17 24



In summary...  
1.  Buy  medium sized eggs if you're buying plain white ones.
2.  Buy omega-3 eggs over any other 'specialty' egg.
3.  Brown eggs are only outwardly different, thanks to the color of their mother's ears.


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