Factory v. Pastured? No Contest. But a Recipe.

The normal supermarket eggs coming from mass factory farms simply do not compare nutritionally to organic pastured eggs from healthy chickens that are allowed to roam freely and eat a more natural, nutritious diet.  Typical grocery store eggs will have lower nutrient levels and a higher omega-6 level and lower omega-3 level.  A pastured hen allowed to roam on plenty of land, however, will eat a variety of greens, insects, and grubs, transferring much higher levels of nutrients to the eggs compared to an unhealthy hen that is trapped inside a dark factory farm hen house and fed nothing but piles of corn and soy. For chickens, as well as for humans, ‘you are what you eat.’

Most people do not realize the major difference between factory and pastured eggs because they have never bought real eggs from healthy chickens. I did not know the difference either, until a few years ago, when the first chickens on the family farm started laying. Now I will never go back. Eggs from the grocery store have pale yellow yolks and thin, weak shells. On the other hand, our pastured eggs had strong thick shells and deep orange yolks indicating much higher nutrition levels and carotenoids, and just a healthier egg in general. Not to mention, they taste a whole lot better, with a rich and almost buttery texture. So, even if you cannot care for your own chickens and collect your own eggs, I would highly suggest getting in touch with a farmer near you.

For those of you interested in the numbers, here are some comparisons of factory and pastured eggs. Compared to conventional, pastured eggs have 1.6 times the Vitamin A, 3 times the Omega-3, 6 times the Vitamin D, and 8 times the beta-carotene.

And as an addition to today’s post, I am including one of my favorite quick and easy breakfasts: the frittata. Just be sure to scramble really well: those rich, deep orange pastured yolks do not break apart nearly as easily as weak factory-farmed egg yolks.

My favorite fast and easy eggy breakfast is hands-down the frittata. I would describe it as somewhere between an un-folded omelet and a quiche without a crust. It is easy and simple, just requires a few minutes of preparation, can be endlessly modified so I never get bored, and can help me to use up whatever leftovers I have in the fridge.

Today I had some fresh spinach (baby needs that folic acid!) and cheddar in the fridge, so that is what went in to my frittata. (I experiment endlessly with leftover meats, veggies, and cheeses. Another personal favorite is turkey carrot Swiss. Spinach and bacon is also a winner.) I turned on the broiler in my oven, mixed up two eggs (pastured on the family farm, of course) in a bowl and added some salt and pepper, then I melted a nice think pad of bright yellow grass-fed butter in my cast-iron skillet. To the skillet I added my spinach until it wilted, then poured in my eggs and covered, cooking on low for a few minutes, until the eggs were almost cooked through. Then I sprinkled on some cheddar and placed the whole skillet under the broiler for a few more minutes, until I achieved my desired, bubbly, slightly browned result. And then I dug in.

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One Response to Factory v. Pastured? No Contest. But a Recipe.

  1. Shu Han Lee says:

    I agree there’s just no contest! You can tell just by the colour of the yolk! http://mummyicancook.blogspot.com/2011/04/soft-boiled-egg-with-sesame-roasted.html

    That frittata looks yummy btw, that’s also one of my favourite breakfast recipes with eggs (:

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