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Getting the most out of fresh pastured eggs

I just bought some eggs from Grazin' Angus Acres and they were definitely a splurge in comparison to regular eggs you get at the supermarket. At $10 a dozen, I dont want to waste it. What would you recommend to best appreciate their flavor? Seeing as they're fresh, boiled is probably out of the question. I can see eggs benedict and oeufs en cocotte as a good option. I suspect brioche would also be a good idea as would anything with a custard like an apricot flan tart. Maybe even fresh pasta. Or would fresh eggs be wasted on things like these?

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  1. Soft boiled, three minute eggs. Serve with a slice of the best bread you can find, lightly toasted.

    1. Simpler the better, I say. Sunnyside-up on toast, to appreciate the deep color of the yolk, and--I'm not sure what the names are--but fresh fried eggs have two distinct levels of egg white, with a higher kind of "shoulder" surrounding the yolk, and then a flatter part of white. Fresher eggs have great definition between the whites, whereas older eggs have the whites more broken down into oneness.

      My personal favorite is over-easy on toast.

      I think their freshness will be less apparent, the more they are worked into other forms and elements. That said, I could be wrong about some things I've never tried, like souffles.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Bada Bing

        We find the texture of the whites 'firmer.' And the yolks are just so darned perky :) A Serious Eats test showed that no one could tell a difference in taste and I don't think I can.

        Here's a link from our local co-op re pastured eggs. If you go to the bottom of page three you'll see the nutritional data which is what sold me on the notion of paying (only)$9/dz.

        http://www.greatbasinfood.coop/wp-con...

        My fave is soft poached or over very easy.

        1. re: c oliver

          The linked article contains at least one glaring piece of misinformation: It is illegal to feed chickens hormones in the U.S. Still buy local, though.

          1. re: pikawicca

            I missed that, pika. I'm somewhat associated with the co-op and will point this out to them. Thanks.

            1. re: c oliver

              however, i think a lot of consumers aren't aware of that. i see no-hormones on all sorts of egg cartons.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                I actually read something about that.

        2. re: Bada Bing

          +1 on keeping it simple. Over easy or poached on toast. Or, if it were still in season, with asparagus. Or on top of a salad of mixed lettuce greens.

        3. The less cooking the better. Eggs Benedict is a great idea. I don't think you'd notice any difference in things like custard or brioche.

          I get eggs from my farmer's market all the time (but they are much less than yours ... $5/dozen). Compared to grocery store, what I notice:
          1) Yolks are more orange
          2) Whites are thicker - They are noticeably thicker right around the yolk.
          3) They keep a lot longer.

          I took a soufflé class a few months ago and the instructor said that older egg whites are better for soufflés, so don't use these fresh eggs in something like that.

          3 Replies
          1. re: stockholm28

            Thanks for the pointer on souffle.

            I do know that fresh eggs are positively to be avoided for hard-boiling. For that, you want eggs on their last (l)eggs... Couldn't resist....

            1. re: Bada Bing

              Not so if you steam, rather than poach them. Steam for 18 minutes, immediately cool under cold running water, and peel. Works even with a just-laid egg. I like to crack it, then roll it around on the counter; the peel usually comes off in a single spiral.

              1. re: Bada Bing

                because most eggs are sold washed in the states, you can "age" the eggs, by leaving them at room temp. i think i read that 24 hours at room temp is equivalent to one week in the fridge. i do this often.

            2. Salad Lyonnaise

              Yes, I know, that it's basically a salad with a poached egg draped over it. But for me, for some odd reason, the combination of fresh greens (usu. some frisée or arugula), crisp bacon, a carefully, and lightly poached egg and some warm vinaigrette is just magical.

              And the crown jewel of the dish really is a fresh poached egg, the fabric that brings the entire dish together.

              1. $10 a dozen!! Holy Cow!!! $3 a dozen is max around here. I get $2.50 for mine and make money! ~ At $10 a dozen I wouldn't include them in anything...just eat the eggs your way.

                36 Replies
                1. re: Uncle Bob

                  There's a difference between pastured eggs and what a lot of people get from roadside stands or farmers markets. Pastured eggs are from chickens that are out in the pasture with cows, sheep, etc. They're eating grubs and other yummy things. The ones I'm getting are from hens that go into their portable coop at night (mounted on a little flatbed trailer). When the livestock is moved, so are the chickens.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Trust me, I understand. I also understand that anyone that pays $10 a dozen for eggs, be they pastured, free range or whatever else you wanna call it is getting taken advantage of. To put it nicely!

                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                      So are your hens out with the other animals every day eating all those yummy bugs and plants? I'm getting what I pay for, a super nutritious food.

                      • 1/3 less cholesterol
                      • 1/4 less saturated fat
                      • 2/3more vitamin A
                      • 5 timesmore vitamin D
                      • 3 timesmore vitamin E
                      • 2 timesmore omega-3
                      fatty acids
                      • 7 timesmore beta carotene

                      As well as 4-5 time more calcium. The list goes on.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        No other animals. (Like this makes any difference) They do eat bugs and plants but no cow dung to peck in. They have their on 15 acre pasture to roam in. How about yours???

                        Sorry you are paying so much! I really am!

                        1. re: Uncle Bob

                          Actually I'm glad I'm paying that much. They come from a family farm and it's insanely hard to make a living farming. I can afford it. I want small farms and ranches to succeed. You might enjoy this link:

                          http://www.holleyfamilyfarms.com/

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I am with you on that one.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Obviously the CoL is higher in your area, but I don't care if you're Bill Gates, $10/doz. is absurd. It's one thing to support your local ag., it's another to be exploited.

                              1. re: Scoutmaster

                                In your humble opinion, of course. sedimental below mentioned that her hobby costs $5/dz. There's a difference between having chickens in your yard and giving them what they need to produce the kinds of eggs we're discussing.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I have several local sources for pastured eggs from hobbyists ranging from $1.25-$3.50. Even the FM has them for $3.

                                  1. re: Scoutmaster

                                    Just repeating what sedimental reported. Cost of feed = $5/dz. She may be feeding higher quality feed. Like "organic," "natural," etc. people can call chickens pastured when they're not really. You know, like free range. My neighbor who used to give me eggs had hers in a pen and they got feed and that was it.

                                    1. re: Scoutmaster

                                      The cost of a small flock is very individual. I pay 30 bucks per month for their store bought feed alone. Then I supliment that too. I could pay just buy the GMO layer chow but it shows in the eggs, IMO. I also have a heated hen house for the cold months. I change the bedding frequently for cleanliness and pests. I use vet services if I am worried about a disease or illness. All this costs money. So, 5 bucks a dozen at least pays for my hobby.

                                      Some people just set the chickens out in the pasture, feed them scaps and collect the eggs. They survive and give eggs either way. So, costs can really be different for each situation.

                                      1. re: sedimental

                                        Thanks for explaining it as an insider in a way I never could.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          But prices will vary. The people I bought eggs from for 10 years are farmers. With a business. I trust their business ability. When I moved from that town I was paying 4.50/dozen. I have no reason to believe that they were selling them at a loss.

                                          It's just going to vary from place to place. And I suspect because this is not a hobby for them but part of their farm business, they might have more knowledge and ability to keep prices lower than a hobbyist would have.

                                          1. re: debbiel

                                            If you looked at the site I linked, you'll see it's a multi-generation farm/ranch, not a hobby.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I was referring to sedimental's chickens, described below as a hobby.

                            2. re: c oliver

                              Amen, sista.

                          2. re: c oliver

                            I am confused why being pastured with other livestock makes them better?

                            I have 14 hens and 1 rooster eating fermented organic Scratch and Peck feed and completely free ranging on about 1/2-3/4 of an acre. They also get quality table scraps and black oil sunflower seeds, plus the occasional dried mealworms.

                            When they finally start laying in the next couple of weeks, I expect the best possible eggs.

                            1. re: Becca Porter

                              Cause of the goodies in the poop :) And when one DOES have cows, etc. the hens keep the mosquito population lower. Another thing I learned from that article is that the eggs you see labeled "vegetarian" really aren't what you want since chickens are omnivores. Never thought about that before.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                those "vegetarian" hens are most often being fed soy and corn. not a chicken's first choice.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  Kinda like cows.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    I don't know about soy, but our chickens LOVE corn. I understand it's not the healthiest for them - somebody once told me that feeding nothing but cracked corn to chickens is akin to feeding your teenagers an exclusive diet of Snickers bars and Pepsi.

                            2. re: Uncle Bob

                              It would be interesting to see what the range of price is around the country. I pay $4.50-$4.75/dozen, for eggs as described by c oliver.

                              1. re: debbiel

                                OP pays $10, I pay $9 and could probably get them for a dollar or more less from the farm. The cost of living in the area where the farm is isn't high. It's rural, away from even a small city.

                                1. re: debbiel

                                  $3.50 to $4 at my FM for pastured eggs grown by farmers who sell at the FM. I've visited two of the farms - the chickens are out there during the day eating bugs amidst the veggies and mingling with cows, sheep, and pigs. DC area.

                                  1. re: tcamp

                                    I pay $2/doz for true pastured eggs,in SW Ontario; grass and grubs supplemented by laying mash, which has vitamins, GMO soy, GMO corn, and calcium. The gov't restricts farmgate ungraded eggs, so they do run out sometimes because of high demand.

                                    1. re: jayt90

                                      Somehow GMO feed and pastured seem odd in the same sentence!

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I am just being honest in my description.

                                        Most pastured chickens have access to a GMO feed bin. Ask and you will find out. The reason is cost. Organic feed with a similar nutritional analysis is available at the feed stores, but at double the cost.

                                        Since the chickens are picking up nutrients and vitamins off the ground, most farmgate growers opt for a low cost supplement.

                                        One other point: When I had backyard chickens, I was puzzled by the tags on the feed bags, showing nutritional analysis but never showing ingredients. I called, and the list was sent to me, but never published, organic or otherwise.

                                        1. re: jayt90

                                          I think you must be referring to your area. There is non-GMO feed available and, yes, it's expensive. That's probably why I'm paying quadruple what you pay. Just saying.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I am lucky to get a 40 lb bag of organic soy/corn feed for $30 through an Azure Standard drop (which is also great for lots of other organic food). I ferment my feed. It has a ton of benefits, including the fact that it cuts the amount needed way down and virtually eliminates waste.

                                            I feed 15 chickens on about 45 lbs a month.

                                            1. re: Becca Porter

                                              Thanks for that. Does organic mean non-GMO?

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Yes. Though you can also have non-gmo without the organic designation.

                                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                                  Thanks. Yeah, I understand that the organic designation can just be too expensive for some ranchers and farmers to go for.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Regular layer feed, with calcium for shells costs $15 a bag in my town. I'd be hard pressed to pay $30, and looking at the excellent quality of soy and corn grown in my county, I wouldn't even ask about GMO.

                                                    Organic feed is super expensive and the public is not on board.
                                                    Too many regulations and not enough benefit, plus lots of wiggle room for unscrupulous operators.

                                              2. re: Becca Porter

                                                So Becca you are saying your feed cost runs about $1 per dozen? Assuming you pick up about a dozen per day off of 15 hens.

                                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                  Yeah. My chickens are being stubborn though. They still haven't laid at 19 1/2 weeks. I guess it would be more if you count in the 5-6 months you're feeding them, but not getting eggs.

                                                  Plus, the cost of pine shavings, grit, and the occasional mealworms. Organic/free-range eggs go for about $3 a dozen in my area.

                                                  1. re: Becca Porter

                                                    I always figured somewhere around 26 weeks (+or-) as the onset of lay. ~~ Yep there's always incidentals...grit, oyster shell, shavings, scratch, etc. but those cost are so minimal over all.

                                                    Just sold 4 dozen, and I mean JUST while I was typing this a phone call for 4 more. First lady gave me 14 cartons. I never buy cartons.

                                                    Funny story. My mother born in 1917 as a young girl was well acquainted with chickens, milk cows and the like. Really late in her life she had the opportunity to visit with a family out of New Orleans who had bought the "Old Place" and remodeled it. After lunch they toured the house and ask her many, many questions about the house and her living there. One question was why there were two small holes in the kitchen floor. The answer was.. that is where the 'ice box' sat. The holes allowed the water from the melting ice to drip under the house.....where my grandfather had placed an old dish pan for the chickens to drink. He claimed that his chickens were the only chickens in the county that had ice water to drink!! Hahahahaha!!

                                                    When it is brutally hot here (most of the summer) I place two liter coke bottles filled with water and frozen into the waterers...So my chickens have ice water to drink too :)

                                2. A hard-cooked pastured egg is a true delight, plain or deviled.
                                  I wait a week before hard-cooking them. I've read those SeriousEats claims and don't believe they are correct.

                                  I save the poultry farm's eggs for scrambling, frying, and the other traditional egg dishes. Popovers and brioche would be good choices for baking with them, but for most baking, custards, and the like, the supermarket eggs not only will do, but are probably preferable. I find that pastured eggs taste a lot eggier than supermarket ones and I do not want my custard pie to taste like scrambled eggs. I have not made pasta with pastured eggs but I think that would be good if the taste of egg noodle
                                  goes well with the rest of the dish, such as in lasagne or carbonara. With marinara sauce, maybe not so much.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    Poached

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      I've tried to talk myself into thinking the flavor is better but I just can't in honesty say I notice a difference. But definitely the textures. And with the HUGE nutritional benefit it makes it worth it for us anyway.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        There's also the possibility of eggs in the dish itself and not the pasta. Pasta carbonara with pastured eggs would be YUM!

                                      2. I recently bought a dozen of pastured eggs and have never looked back. I used to not really enjoy eggs, but now I can't get enough of them. I know the evidence is that I can't taste the difference, but either way they are good eggs. I'm shocked you're paying $10 a dozen which is crazy, I pay $4.50 but live in a place with a pretty reasonable cost of living and the farm is close by. I have enjoyed them in all forms, but I think they are great poached or sunny side up, over easy with the bright yellow runny yolk.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          I could probably pay somewhat less if I went to their farm but #1 I want to support our local co-op and #2 driving there and back would eat up any savings. I'm like you. After some months of having them, I really don't want any other kind of egg. I'm fixing a kale salad tonight that always has a soft poached egg on it. Leaving it out.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Here is a nice write up about the nutritional differences in eggs:
                                            http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-f...

                                            I have a small flock of around 12 to 15 chickens at any given time. I get about a dozen a day. Like other small scale folks like me (that sell to others by word of mouth or at the local FM), feed quality is really important and supplementing their diet with flax,quality supplements and allowing for them to eat bugs,slugs and weeds are important and cannot be duplicated in large scale operations. All small chicken owners that I know take pride in what they feed their girls, the happiness and healthiness of their flock and the cleanliness of the hen house.

                                            They taste different, rich. I know ATC did a blind tasting, but I can taste a difference easily in the yolks. Whites taste the same.

                                            I sell mine for 5 dollars a dozen. It pays for the cost of the feed. I am not going to quit my day job....it is a hobby that is fun and rewarding. I think buying from the small flock owners and promoting this level of stewardship, is a wonderful thing to do :)

                                            1. re: sedimental

                                              :) That's the article that MY article sourced from! I made the switch based on that. Pretty hard to argue with, isn't it? Bob and I really like eggs and now we get lots more benefit from them. I congratulate you for what you do.

                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                I agree 100% about the yolks. It is, perhaps, not a matter of taste so much, but of "mouth feel" (apologies to those who despise the term). I liken it to the difference between skim milk and cream. I know it when I taste it.

                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  I agree. I actually think the yolk has much more flavor when fully cooked and often when I'm eating a runny yolk I ponder what I taste as a pretty mild flavor and wonder why I'm so drawn to them but I think it's the creamy mouth feel

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    pika, sometimes "mouth feel" is the only word that works. And I agree with you. There's just more texture to these eggs.

                                            2. I've had their eggs as well and they are truly spectacular. I do think the may be the most expensive eggs at the market though!

                                              I love using the yolks to make a sauce for pasta along with pepper and a bit of parmesan cheese. I think the pastured eggs make that dish a near perfect dish. As others have said though, you'd probably want to eat some of them simply poached or sauteed. Enjoy and report back!
                                              JeremyEG
                                              HomeCookLocavore.com

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: JeremyEG

                                                And the color in carbonara etc. is so wonderful.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Carbonara, with a raw egg yolk put on top of each serving as it goes to the table--rich but who cares.

                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                    Everything in moderation including moderation!

                                              2. I tried pastured eggs for the first time a while back. Yes, the yolks are beautiful, and the eggs _seem_ to taste better, although not markedly. The main thing I noticed, though, is a distinct gamy smell when cooking them (usually scrambled or fried over medium). I was concerned when I first caught that odor, because if they tasted like they smelled, I was sure I wouldn't like them. Turns out that the flavor isn't much different that regular eggs, to me at least.

                                                $7 per dozen for small eggs at the farmers market here in Las Vegas - the eggs come from the nearby Moapa Valley.

                                                Having never seen pastured eggs before, and since I was buying them around Easter, this city boy assumed that someone was getting creative with the pastel tints. GF, who grew up in a rural area, assured me that those colors occurred naturally and were due to the varied diet of the chickens. :o)

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Steve Green

                                                  The color of the yolk depends on diet; the color of the shell is determined by the breed of hen that laid the egg.

                                                  1. re: Steve Green

                                                    I love opening the carton and seeing all the great colors and sizes. Got one recently that was brown/beige speckled with texture on it.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Same here. They are delivered to my local whole foods and I'm the weirdo who will browse a few cartons not only for cracks but also the most unique variety. The first time I ever bought them I was shocked when I realizes they were all different colors and sizes.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        i get a happy face when i get a few blue eggs in the box.

                                                  2. I do as little as possible to them; over easy or sunny side up in lots of local butter.

                                                    I usually buy Jumbos at my FM for $4.50 dz. I don't know if they are pastured but they are the best eggs I have ever eaten. Huge golden yolks and a creamy texture. They come from a small farm whose primary business is apples (Zestars and my current favorite Sweet Tangos). Until apple harvest time they sell dried apples and eggs. The grandmother/father work one FM; the daughter and her adult daughter work another. They sell out shortly after the opening bell so I think their output is relatively small.

                                                    I never ate eggs until I tried local farm fresh eggs for the first time - what a revelation!