With Easter this weekend this is a excellent time to ask this question if you plan to color real eggs for Easter and then eat them afterwords. Sometimes eggs are decorated, used as decorations, and hunted at Easter. Here are some safety tips for Easter eggs from the USDA.
Dyeing eggs: After hard cooking eggs, dye them and return them to the refrigerator within 2 hours. If eggs are to be eaten, use a food-safe coloring. You can use plant based food dyes also if you do not want to use commercial dyes. As with all foods, persons dyeing the eggs should wash their hands before handling the eggs.
Decorations: One Easter bread recipe is decorated with dyed, cooked eggs in the braided bread. After baking, serve within 2 hours or refrigerate and use within 3 to 4 days.
Blowing out eggshells: Because some raw eggs may contain Salmonella, you must use caution when blowing out the contents to hollow out the shell for decorating, such as for Ukrainian Easter eggs. Use only eggs that have been kept refrigerated and are uncracked. To destroy bacteria that may be present on the surface of the egg, wash the egg in hot water and then rinse in a solution of 1 teaspoon liquid chlorine bleach per half cup of water. After blowing out the egg, refrigerate the contents and use within 2 to 4 days.
Hunting Eggs: We do not recommend using hard cooked eggs that have been lying on the ground, because they can pick up bacteria, especially if the shells are cracked. If the shells crack, bacteria could contaminate the inside. Eggs should be hidden in places that are protected from dirt, moisture, pets, and other sources of bacteria. The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed 2 hours. The “found” eggs must be washed, re-refrigerated and eaten within 7 days of cooking.
Washing Eggs: The reason for using hot water is to keep a vacuum from forming in the egg and pulling bacteria in through the pores of the egg shell.
Have good egg production, in that a hen will lay around 270 eggs a year
Not as aggressive as other breeds
Brief history of the Amberlink
If you farmed in the 1970’s you might remember the Amberlink, as it originated in the USA. But as egg production moved away from small family farms to large corporation-run confinement operations in the 1980’s the Amberlink breed fell out of favor as they do not do well in confinement. They must be given room to forage and move around.
This video from PBS has a number of different perspectives on organic eggs. When you think of Free Range, Cage-Free or Organic Eggs, do you think of chickens out in nature on pasture being able to peck and scratch in dirt? Or do you think of chickens that might never see the outside?
We believe that if you want the best, most nutritious eggs possible then you need to get eggs from pastured chickens. Before we started raising pastured chickens for their eggs, we bought only organic eggs from the store, thinking they were better for us. Once we tried the organic eggs from our pastured chickens, we found that the store-bought organic eggs (which in hindsight probably came from chickens who never saw sunshine or a blade of grass, unfortunately) simply did not compare. The yolk color of our eggs is more vibrant, the egg has more texture, and experts say that the varied diet–they forage in addition to being fed a high quality, non-GMO feed from a mill–and living conditions result in a more nutritious egg.
In 2007 Mother Earth News, a strong advocate of better farming practices, ran the most thorough nutritional comparison of pasture-raised and factory eggs that we know of. The study involved 14 flocks across the United States whose eggs were tested by an accredited Portland, Oregon laboratory.
They found that the benefits of pasture-raised eggs include:
1⁄3 less cholesterol
1⁄4 less saturated fat
2⁄3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
4 to 6 times as much vitamin D
In addition to the Mother Earth News research findings, there have been a number of other studies showing that pasture-raised eggs are healthier than those produced by confinement-raised hens. Findings include the following:
Pasture-raised eggs contain 70% more vitamin B12 and 50% more folic acid (British Journal of Nutrition, 1974).
Pasture-raised eggs are higher in vitamin E and omega-3s than those obtained from battery-cage hens (Animal Feed Science and Technology, 1998).
Pasture-raised eggs are 10% lower in fat, 34% lower in cholesterol, contain 40% more vitamin A, and are 4 times higher in omega-3s than standard U.S. battery-cage eggs, and pasture-raised chicken meat has 21% less fat, 30% less saturated fat, and 50% more vitamin A than that of caged chickens (Gorski, Pennsylvania State University, 1999).
Pasture-raised eggs have three times more omega-3s and are 220% higher in vitamin E and 62% higher in vitamin A than eggs obtained from battery cage hens (Karsten, Pennsylvania State University, 2003).
If you would like to try organic, pastured eggs yourself, inquire about becoming one of our customers. We offer organic eggs from pastured hens for six dollars a dozen in the Clanton and Calera areas. Just contact us via Facebook or email us at SweetGumFarm@SGFHoney.com.
Length 10 min 54 sec
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