Supermarket vs Pastured Eggs: What You Need To Know

Pastured Eggs are considered by top experts to be one of the all time best SuperFoods. Easy to get at almost any farmers market, pastured eggs are an inexpensive way to add a lot of nourishment to your family’s meals.

Supermarkets would like you to think you’re getting the same eggs at a lower price.

This couldn’t be further from the truth…

Pastured Eggs vs Supermarket Eggs (There’s a REALLY big difference)

organic eggs

Eggs from hens raised on pasture are far more nutritious than eggs from confined hens in factory farms.

Test results show that pastured egg producers are kicking the commercial industry’s derriere when it comes to vitamin D! Eggs from hens raised on pasture show 4 to 6 times as much vitamin D as typical supermarket eggs.

Eggs from hens allowed to peck on pasture are a heck of a lot better than those from chickens raised in cages! Most of the eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture. That’s the conclusion we have reached following completion of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

  • 1⁄3 less cholesterol
  • 1⁄4 less saturated fat
  • 2⁄3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene

These amazing results come from 14 flocks around the country that range freely on pasture or are housed in moveable pens that are rotated frequently to maximize access to fresh pasture and protect the birds from predators.*

It’s important to note that “free range” supermarket eggs are nutritionally similar to conventional eggs. The reason pastured eggs are so nutritious is that the chickens get to supplement their diets with abundant fresh plants and insects. (Having little doors on the side of a giant smelly barn just doesn’t replicate that.)

*

Don’t be fooled by the labels at your local grocery store!


Watch Dr. Jeremy Wiseman of Wiseman Family Practice explain how “free range” chicken eggs are legitimately produced.

Don’t be fooled by the labels at your local grocery store!

Cage-free: Cage-free eggs come from chickens that weren’t kept inside cages and can freely roam around the building they are in. They have unlimited access to food and fresh water, but not access to the outdoors.

Farm Fresh/Farm Raised: This label is a marketing term. All chickens are raised on farms, even if they’re factory farms. The marketers hope you picture the chickens roaming freely outside a red barn on a sunny afternoon, but the word “farm,” when it comes to egg labeling, means nothing specific.

Free-range/Free-roaming: Free-range or free-roaming chickens have the ability to move around inside their building and have unlimited access to food and fresh water, like cage-free birds do. They also must have access to the outdoors “during their production cycle.” However, there is no regulation for how easy that access needs to be for the chickens, the conditions or the size of the outdoor area is, or how much time (if at all) chickens must spend outdoors.

Humanely-raised: A generic “humanely raised” label doesn’t mean anything!

Natural: The USDA states that “egg products labeled as ‘natural’ must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients.” Beyond that, there is no regulation regarding farming practices, how the chickens are kept, or what they’re fed.

No hormones: This one is strictly a marketing term. The FDA prohibits the use of hormones in chickens. All eggs and all chicken products are always hormone-free.

Label information via Mother Nature Network. Read more here.

Learn first hand what the labels really mean by watching this tour of Rock Barn Ranch in Lampasas, Tx.

Egg Selection and Storage

The most important factors to consider when selecting your eggs is who cared for the chickens that laid them and how those chickens are raised. This is why knowing your food suppliers is so important. Shake the hand the feeds you! Go to your local farmers market and start asking questions. Most of the vendors there are proud of their work and are very happy to explain how they raise their animals. If one vendor doesn’t give supply the answers you like, find another one! (Scroll to the top of this page and enter your zip code to find a list of farmers markets near you.)

Store your eggs in the refrigerator. You don’t have to store eggs in the refrigerator, but they will last longer this way. Eggs are good for one month after the date of collection when stored in the fridge.

egg float test

Use the float test to check egg freshness:

Fill a bowl with water and place eggs in it. An egg that floats has too big an air pocket inside the shell; the contents have evaporated too much and it’s likely spoiled.

10 Fun and Easy Egg Recipes

egg-in-a-hole Eggs in a Hole
This classic is very simple to prepare. I eat these all the time and I’m surprised that more people have not seen them. I just figured everyone knew what they were! Also called Egg in a Basket, Bird’s Nest Eggs, and Toad Holes!

Creamy Baked Eggs with Aspraragus and Pecorino
Serve these smooth, rich-tasting eggs as soon as they come out of the oven, with toast is even better. You’ll want a set of ramekins for these but in pinch you can susbstitute with small ceramic coffee cups.

egg-baked-in-avocado Baked Egg in Avocado
Combine two amazing SuperFoods in one meal! We came across this delicious recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked so yummy!  Here’s how you can combine these super foods into a delicious meal to start your day. Hope you like!
egg-bread-buns Egg Bread Buns
Here’s the perfect recipe for kids who want to learn to cook. If you tell me otherwise, I simply won’t believe you. Unless you don’t know how to break eggs? It’s really something fun to do with your kids. Put all your ingredients on the table and you will see your little darlings coming to see what’s happening.
maple-bacon-mini-frittatas Maple Bacon Mini Frittatas
This recipe makes 12 muffin sized individual frittatas. Great for a brunch or to take with you to work. The combination of maple and bacon make these sweet and savory.
eggs-florentine Easy Eggs Florentinesque
Swapping the hollandaise sauce for a sour cream mixture and cooking the eggs in spinach makes for an easier, updated take on the classic. Takes much less time but still tastes amazing!
eggs-in-pepper-rings Eggs in Pepper Rings
This is a modification of the Eggs in a Hole recipe above. Of course, without the bread. A great choice for those on a gluten-free or Paleo diet. Super easy and fast. Plus, only one pan to clean!
Egg-Biscuits Egg Biscuits
These little egg-stuffed biscuits are also great for feeding a group, which can be challenging at breakfast. Although they aren’t exactly health-food, they do have plenty of protein and a lot less sugar than some of those jumbo coffee shop pastries you might be tempted to grab when you’re short on time.
spinach-mozzarella-egg-bake Spinach Mozzarella Egg Bake
This is a similar to a breakfast casserole, but with lots of vegetables, meat, or cheese, and just enough egg to barely hold it together.  This particular version features spinach and a generous amount of mozzarella. Easy to adapt to what you have on hand!
muffin-tin-egg-cups Bacon and Egg in Toast Cups
These toast cups are so easy to make! And delicious too. Your kids will love them. Total cooking time is about 15 minutes, perfect for busy households! Picture on the left shows Toast cup made with two quail eggs.


I hope you enjoy this list of easy egg recipes! If you like this then please check out our Top 10 Ways to Prepare Kale article!

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