Somehow, we have turned into eggophobes regarding the freshness of our eggs. Thank you date on the box for telling us when our eggs will explode. As I also blame Charlotte's Web and the rotten goose egg for this fear. Anyway, most of you know, these dates are "sell by" dates and not consume by dates . . . yet we treat them as the latter. Currently, we at Dandelion Hills take the no wash philosophy to heart. We keep our eggs on the counter and do not wash them. As noted in the prior hyperlink, washing takes their protective coating off. Remember, eggs are not food first, they are reproductive avenues for birds. Therefore, their primary focus is to propagate a species. They are lain with the bloom or protective coating that is more effective in keeping out bacteria than any other organic solution. Yes, there is dirt and some chicken "gold" on them, but you wash them just prior to use. All eggs in stores are refrigerated because they are washed and the refrigeration is necessary to reduce bacterial growth. So far, no Templeton Bombs have been created. If concerned, you can float test your eggs to see their shelf stability. Here are guidelines for float testing.
Back to the date. You see on the box sides a few numbers, one is the sell by date. This is based upon the Julian date, which is the date that the eggs were packaged, usually only 1-2 days after they were gathered from the hens. The Julian date is the three digit number on the side of the box. Our eggs were one day old. Heck, my boys can tell you who laid them and some of these were still warm. For the "standard" eggs, the Julian date of 106 indicates these were packaged on April 16, 2015 - eight days prior to purchase and meaning they have a sell by date of 5/15/15. Not too bad. Free Range Eggs have a Julian Date of 086 indicating packaging on March 27th, 2015 and sell by date of April 25, 2015 - which is the day after they were purchased. I guess I did them a favor. Finally, the Organic Eggs have a Julian Date of 103, indicating packaging on April 13, 2015 and a more gracious May 25, 2015 sell by date.
CONCLUSION #3 - Dandelion Hills eggs are fresher and overall better protected. They can be shelf stable at room temperature and may have up to six or seven weeks of shelf stability at the time you get them. The other eggs have a shorter lifespan due to their washing, have to be refrigerated and have already been around for a week or longer due to shipping and processing. Dandelion Hills Eggs are best in this category.
COMPARISON #4 - Nutritional Value.
So is there a difference between the nutritional value of an egg or is an egg just an egg?
First, lets look at the suggested information on the cases that we purchased.
Now how do we get this for Dandelion Hills Eggs? Well, we could just say ours are the same, but when we get to the pictures you will see that this is not the case. Some farmers decided to give it a try and this analysis from 2007 of fourteen free-range flocks shows interesting information.
First, let's be clear - the free-range they studied are described here and it does fit what we do at Dandelion Hills (and most likely rules out The Wandering Hen eggs from what we know about the industry). Another thing, if they thought that what they did was different, they would pay for a nutritional analysis to show how much better their eggs are. What we can assume, not very scientific though, is that they do not think its worth the analysis, plus they have so many providers with variability.
The study provided this information:
• 1/3 less cholesterol - THIS IS A GOOD THING
• 1/4 less saturated fat - THIS IS A REALLY GOOD THING
• 2/3 more vitamin A - AGAIN, A GOOD THING
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids - BIGGER BRAINS!
• 3 times more vitamin E - GOOD GOOD GOOD
• 7 times more beta carotene - THIS HELPS YOU PROCESS ALL THAT VITAMIN A!
It appears from more research that these findings have been substantiated in other studies. So evidence suggests that eggs from hens that are handled in the manner in which we handle our girls are significantly more nutritious in key areas, including lower cholesterol, lower saturated fat and more omega-3 fatty acids. All in all, I'm giving this one to Dandelion Hills Eggs again. Call me impartial, but the other guys did not do much to fight me on this one.
Part Three comes tomorrow with a visual comparison. Many pictures will follow so clear your internet histories and defragment your hard drives to make tomorrow's blog post run smoothly.
In case you missed the rest of the EGGSperiment series: