Do Fresh Eggs Taste Better?
Forget which came first the chicken or the egg. The real question is, Do fresh eggs taste better than store purchased eggs?
Anyone who keeps chickens, or spends up to $15 a dozen on free-range organic eggs at the farmers market, will swear that fresh eggs are better all round. Not only do they taste better and last longer they are also better for you than store-bought eggs. But then, anyone who keeps chickens or spends $15 on eggs is already a convert. So, let’s look at nutrition, taste, as well as the keeping qualities. Let's find the answer to the question once and for all: are backyard eggs better than store eggs?
Are Fresh eggs more nutritious?
Yes, fresh eggs are more nutritious than store eggs, for two reasons:
- Nutrients in food often degrade over time, so the fresher something is the higher in nutrients. So really, backyard chicken eggs are unbeatable in this category.
- The nutrient content of an egg depends on the diet of the hen. So if you have free-ranging chickens with access to pasture and the best chicken feed for laying hens, this natural diet will produce much healthier eggs. A study from Mother Earth News found that fresh, free-range eggs had less cholesterol and saturated fat, and more vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and beta-carotene than store-bought eggs.
Do fresh eggs taste better than store bought eggs?
Here at Dine a Chook, we enjoy eggs that we know come from chickens raised in a happy, healthy and natural way. There is no comparison to store eggs that could have been on the shelf for six weeks or more. You can't compare store eggs to your backyard chicken eggs, or any farm-fresh eggs.
Fresh eggs have a better texture
Chefs will tell you that fresh eggs make the best poached eggs. Why? Because the yolk in a fresh egg is firmer, and the white also sits up and holds together more. Older eggs tend to have runny whites and yolks that are more likely to break, Making them not the best choice for poaching. It is this difference in texture that makes fresh eggs preferable for most cooking; except when making meringues where the looser whites incorporate air more effectively.
Fresh eggs have better colour
The colour of a yolk depends on the diet of the hen. Because most free-range and backyard chickens eat a more varied diet, rich in greens, fruit, vegetables and insects, the yolks from their eggs tend to be yellower. However, there are all sorts of additives in commercial chicken feeds that help to “brighten” the yolk, so it is not always the case that the brighter yolks come from fresh eggs.
The colour of egg yolks will vary naturally over the seasons depending on the food available. Even the best egg laying chickens will lay different coloured eggs depending on the season and their breed. We’ve met at least one local free-range egg farmer who has remarkably pale yolks through the winter, but he explains to his customers that this is part of the natural progression of the seasons and trying to change it with colourants in the diet goes against his philosophy of natural chicken keeping.
Taste is more than what happens on the tongue
When we eat, taste is about more than what happens on the tongue. Texture, colour, smell and emotional factors, not to mention our own preferences and experience, also contribute to our perception of taste. Try eating chocolate while holding your nose and you’ll get an idea of what that means.
Blind tastings and studies, such as this one from The Washington Post and another from The Food Lab at Serious Eats, suggests that if we eat with just our tongue, then there is no consistently discernible difference between store-bought eggs and fresh eggs. But, when we use all of the senses that make up taste, such as texture, colour and even the knowledge that the chicken who laid the egg is living a happy chicken life, it does make a difference, and in that case, fresh eggs do taste better. And they have some other benefits too!
Do fresh farm eggs last longer?
Farm fresh eggs keep longer than store eggs. Why? Fresh eggs might reach you a week after they are laid. Backyard chicken eggs are even fresher. Of course, these eggs will keep longer than store eggs which may have already been in storage for six weeks or longer when they reach you!
So, are backyard eggs better than store eggs?
So here at Dine a Chook, we can conclude that while fresh eggs may not strictly taste different from store eggs, they have a better texture, keep longer and are also more nutritious. And these other benefits make them far tastier in our eyes!