Acceptable "supermarket" eggs? Lets rate them

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by MacTech, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. MacTech

    MacTech Chirping

    Thanks to the cold snap here in Maine, my hens have (temporarily) stopped laying, I know they'll start back up when conditions improve, but for now, I need to find a tolerable/acceptable egg to hold me over....

    No supermarket egg can compare to a backyard egg from pastured hens, that's a given, but how close can we get?

    I decided to find out....

    I stopped in at a local organic grocer (golden Harvest in Kittery, ME) that's been in business as long as I've been around 45 years at least), and checked my options.....

    Only one qualified, Carol's pasture raised Marans eggs, at $3.19 a half dozen, they aren't exactly cheap, but I decided to try them anyway...

    Rating system is on a scale of 1-10, 10 being one of my hens eggs, 1 being battery farmed garbage eggs

    Appearance; 10
    Opening the carton I saw six gorgeous chocolate brown eggs, with a freckling of darker spots, one with a little pimple of extra calcium on the shell, each egg differed slightly, each one was unique, no box of identical clones here, and it even looked like the bloom was largely intact, one egg even had a tiny spot of poop on the shell, two pinhead sized spots, it's clear they kept the processing to a minimum

    Size; 10
    A good variety from med-large to jumbo, all with a pleasing heft

    Shell strength; 10
    Admittedly a sample of one, but the shell was nicely solid

    Overall, as close as you can get to backyard eggs...

    Now, onto the cooking....
    The egg was cracked onto a heated Lodge cast iron skillet, well seasoned and with a quick spritz of canola oil, heat set to 5 on an electric range top, egg was somewhat scrambled during cooking

    Yolk; 6.5
    The yolk was dark yellow, but nowhere near as orange as mine, it was high and tight, had a meat spot, and it looked like it may have been fertile, there was a tiny bulls-eye white spot

    Inner albumen; 7
    Light goldish-green, stayed around the yolk with minimal spread, but it did spread some

    Outer albumen; 3
    Runny and watery, very poor, Julian date on the carton was 315

    Cooking performance; 4
    Due to the runny outer albumen, I had to sort of scramble it, my eggs hold together tightly, even the outer albumen

    And now, the important rating...

    Taste (albumen); 5
    Not bad, just bland and nearly flavorless

    Taste (yolk); 5.5
    Mild and inoffensive, crumbly mouthfeel, nowhere near the rich creamy consistency of mine

    Taste (both combined); 7.5
    The combination of yolk and white balance each other out, the flavor is mild and pleasant, but I miss the stronger "egginess" of mine

    Overall, not bad, can't compete with my backyard hens, but light years better than battery farm eggs, these would work great for hard boiling and egg salad, but as a fried or scrambled egg, no comparison, my hens are better

    These are an acceptable substitute for when my hens production drops, and since these might be fertile, I may shove a few under a hen when one goes broody...$3.15 for potentially 6 Marans chicks is a chance worth taking

    Final rating;
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  2. Baymule

    Baymule Songster

    Jul 1, 2010
    Northeast Texas
    Ever since getting my first 2 laying hens 5 years ago, I have planned to not run out of eggs. I add a few pullets or chicks yearly, so they come into production as the others molt or take a seasonal break. I butcher the really old hens and boil their carcass for the meat and can the broth. I wait for my DH to finish eating and raving about how delicious the soup/dumplings/chicken salad is before commenting, "Allison tasted pretty good, huh?"

    That first year, I bought 18 month old layers and they molted and quit laying. For. Three. Months. I bought a dozen eggs and they were so bad, that I still had one left when the girls started laying again. I learned my lesson and started rotating the flock. I keep between 15 to 25 hens, depending on the time of year. Right now I have 18 and am getting 8-10 eggs a day. I butchered 7 in the summer and have 4 new pullets.

    So I am sorry, but I cannot help rate store bought eggs as I simply refuse to buy them and will not eat them. It does sound like you found an acceptable substitute for your own eggs.
  3. MacTech

    MacTech Chirping

    Bear in mind, I just started this summer, like you, I plan to have a large enough flock to never have to buy another supermarket egg, but it'll take time, so this rating was a temporary stopgap measure

    I've even gone so far as to have a pair of roosters, bantam Cochin/Silkie mixes, nest mates and brothers, from my sister's flock, so hopefully they can help make my flock self-replenishing...
  4. Baymule

    Baymule Songster

    Jul 1, 2010
    Northeast Texas
    Store bought just can't compare to your own, can they? [​IMG]
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    I definitely agree. When I do have to buy store bought eggs (which is extremely rare), I buy the organic brown eggs from Costco.
  6. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    I've had to buy eggs recently as mine are molting too. Also have a few "older" hens which probably won't lay much longer, but still have a great home with me until the end. I too, only buy cage free eggs, as I refuse to buy the mass produced ones from abused hens. [​IMG]
  7. I am another chicken owner who refuses to use store bought eggs.

  8. You are aware that cage free does not equate to not being mass produced and not abused, right?

    100 hens stuffed in a chain link dog kennel, or shed could be labeled 'cage free' as long as they could freely roam around that enclosure and had 24/7 access to water and food inside that enclosure, during their production cycle... Outside their production cycle like when they are maturing, they could very well be caged...

    The USDA does not set quantitative standards, just a broad definition...

    Free Range is just as bad...

    Note, again there is no quantitative standards just a broad definition...

    In essence you could have a warehouse packed full of 1000s of chickens, with a little outside 10x10 fenced area on a concrete slab, and legally label your eggs Cage Free and Free Range... Even though there were essentially community caged and never allowed to set foot outside beyond their concrete slabbed fenced area...
  9. Fierlin1182

    Fierlin1182 powered-flight

    Aug 26, 2011

    Is true. We have always had at least 2 chickens laying at any one time (our chooks don't break for winter, I guess it's something to do with warm weather here, or their production breed), and I haven't eaten store eggs at home for many years now. (Obviously on holiday and eating out we can't guarantee that.) Two chickens produce more than enough eggs for my mother and I, and we frequently have to give away whole cartons of eggs to stop them piling up in the fridge! They make a nice unique present for friends.

    My father on the other hand refuses to eat anything except cage eggs in an elaborate and unnecessary protest against "all the fuss" we're making about where our eggs come from. He legitimately told us this. "It doesn't make any difference," he yells. "It makes a difference to the chickens..." I point out truthfully and he gets angry because I think that the quality of life of a chicken should be considered when choosing which eggs to eat. So now we do eggs separately. (Although recently I haven't been noticing him buying any eggs, either he's stopped eating them altogether or he is eating our chooks' eggs again. They do taste pretty good like that :p)

    And yeah, unfortunately most corporations will do their best to exploit any loopholes they can for a profit, because 'free range' on their cartons and a picture of some green grass will net them goodwill buys. It's cool that there exist local businesses who try to give their hens space and good feed (suppose it's easier in a very spacious country like this), and it's best if we try to buy from them as much as possible when we're ever short on eggs.

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  10. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    When I have to buy eggs, which has been recently, I drive 10 minutes up the road to a neighbors house. I stop at the first house with an "eggs for sale" sign and pay them $1.25 for a dozen beautiful eggs from their (actual) free range flock. He even let me go into his coop and pick my own cackle berries. It was a much better experience than picking them off the shelf in the grocery store and his hens were obviously happy little critters.

    Is that an option for you? Backyard poultry raisers are everywhere around here, and they all sell better quality eggs for SO much less than the supermarket...

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