Eggs are the story of my quarantine so far. Poached eggs, souffles, baked goods, scrambled, fried, omelets and so much more. My mom, dad, and I all really enjoy eggs, but in very different ways. I generally prefer a softer, more French style of cooking eggs. Think: fluffy omelets, soft-boiled eggs, and soft scrambled eggs. My mom has similar preferences but she likes her eggs to have a little firmer texture. On the other end of the spectrum is my dad. He only enjoys hard-boiled eggs, diner-style scrambled eggs. He refuses to eat poached eggs. Weirdly enough, our egg-dependency transcends our household. In some ways it mirrors the nation-wide craving for eggs, and the chickens that lay the eggs. This New York Times article outlines how people are buying baby chicks in masses so they can have a stable supply of food. Even celebrities like Spiderman actor, Tom Holland are participating. This egg epidemic has led to a dilemma my family and I are sure other households are having: which eggs to buy. You have your pasture-raised, cage-free, grain-fed, no-antibiotic eggs that go for a dollar each, and on the other side of the spectrum, you have your chemical-filled, disregard of animal life, non-organic cheap eggs for a dollar a dozen. When looking for eggs, there are multiple categories to consider.
What to look for on an egg carton:
- Standard White Eggs
- These are your classic eggs that are harvested in conventional farms with chickens raised in small cages stacked on top of each other with nothing but tubes for food and water. These eggs are the cheapest eggs you can find because of the inhumane conditions the chickens face.
- Standard Brown Eggs
- While many people think there is a difference between white and brown eggs, they are similar except for the pigmentation on the feather of the chicken. These are generally more expensive than white eggs but this price increase is unjustified.
- Free Run Eggs
- With a little more space than the chickens that lay regular egg, these chickens are able to roam around an enclosed barn space and have some additional resources such as nesting boxes and perches.
- Free-Range Eggs
- While free-range and free-run chickens share many similarities, free-range chickens are allowed to roam outside for some parts of the day and when the weather is right.
- Organic Eggs
- Organic eggs are always free-range with the addition of the chicken feed being certified organic. This means that the chicken feed has no pesticides, fertilizer, or any other chemical components.
Now let’s get down to it. Mark this day down because today is when you will finally realize what egg is right for you.
The Three Eggs I Chose:
- O Organic Brown Grade A Eggs – Antibiotic-free, cage-free, certified humane raised.
- Lucerne Farms Grade AA White Eggs – Fresh, CA SEFS compliant.
- Clover Grade AA Organic Brown Eggs – Cage-free, Antibiotic-free, humane certified, locally raised.
At first glance, the ranking of the eggs seems obvious, but remember to never judge an egg by its shell.
Three Ways to Cook Eggs:
- Soft Scramble
- In a small bowl, crack an egg and whisk it with salt and pepper. Start off by adding a teaspoon of olive oil or a ¼ tablespoon of butter to a non-stick pan at medium-low heat. When the oil begins flowing like water or the butter is melted, pour in your whisked egg into the pan, making sure that the egg is spread around the pan evenly. When the egg begins to set and harden at the bottom, began mixing your egg vigorously in the pan. If you like your eggs soft-scrambled, let the eggs cool with no heat, and if you like diner-style scrambled eggs, cook them on medium-low heat for another 30 seconds.
- Boiled Egg
- In a small pot, begin heating up water at high-heat until water begins to boil. Turn the heat down to low and gingerly place in the eggs, making sure not to crack the shell. Turn the heat up to medium-low heat and cook for 6 minutes. Right here, the water should be simmering and lightly bubbling but not boiling. While the eggs are cooking, prepare an ice bath in a small bowl for the egg and place the egg in this bowl once the 6 minutes are over. Once the egg has cooled in the ice bath, crack the egg on a counter in multiple places and peel while running under cold water.
- Fried Egg: Over Easy
- Preheat a pan to medium heat with either oil or butter. Once the pan is preheated, carefully crack an egg into the middle of the pan, making sure the yolk does not break. Fry the egg, yolk side up for 1-2 minutes or until whites golden brown and crispy on the edges. Scrape up the whites off the pan and flip your egg carefully. By flipping it, you are making an over easy egg, but if you like, you can make a sunny side up egg and not flip it. Cook the egg for another 30 seconds until all the whites are crispy and fully cooked, but the yolk is runny but warm.
- Organic Grade AA Brown Eggs
- Across all categories, methods of cooking, and textures, the depth, and layers of flavors always hit home for me. The yolk was always the star in the dish with a rich and creamy texture, and a slightly sweet and earthy flavor while the whites acted as a perfect foundation for the yolk. When scrambled these eggs were soft and fluffy with a complex flavor and a strong yolk flavor that was not overbearing or underwhelming. With the boiled eggs, the whites had a nice give and a runny creamy yolk that coated your mouth. When fried, the yolk was perfect even though the whites stayed firm and were reluctant to crisp up.
- Regular Grade AA White Eggs
- While not as good as the Clover Farm eggs, they had many of the same characteristics and textures but their flavor profiles were different. In this egg, the yolk was not as sweet as the Grade AA Brown eggs, and the whites were quite sulfury, overpowering the delicacy of the yolk. While scrambling, they were very soft but quite pale in color, not as vibrant as the Lucerne Farm eggs. The flaws of the egg were highlighted when it was boiled. It had a strong sulfur flavor reminiscent of boiled chicken. When fried, this egg was perfect because of the crispiness of the white, and the meaty undertones complemented the overall flavor of a fried egg.
- Organic Grade A Brown Eggs
- This egg in general was hugely disappointing. With the boiled egg, the texture of the yolk was almost chalk-like, ruining the feel of a runny soft-boiled egg. In all the forms of cooking, the yolk was quite muddled as the complex flavors of an egg yolk combined into one murky taste. The one bright spot for this egg was that the whites had a neutral taste and acted perfectly as a foundation for the yolk. Across all formats of cooking, the yolk consistency came out chalky and unappealing, and the flavors very muddled instead of layered and complex. The one bright spot of the egg was the whites. When boiled, the whites had a nice springy texture and when fried, the whites crisped up very nicely for a welcomed texture addition.