bigstockphoto_Raw_broken_egg_822808.jpgI suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that there is so much behind the color differences between cow’s milk and goat’s milk (see the comments following yesterday’s post), One other item that stands out in reviewing the nutrient comparison Jean linked to: could the whiteness of goat’s milk have something to do with its high calcium content?

The discussion got me thinking about the fine points of eggs. I’ve become something of an egg aficionado over the last few years, since I’ve come to realize that there is a huge difference in egg quality, depending on where you obtain them (and as I’ve overcome my fear of eggs as dangerous because of their cholesterol). One of the first stops I make when traveling to our condo in New Hampshire is to stop at a nearby ranch-style house with a small sign outside, “Eggs, $2.00”. I’ve only met the owner, Clair, briefly a couple times, because she sells her eggs via the honor system—you take a package of a dozen from a cooler outside her front door and leave your money in the cooler.

The first time I met her, a year ago, she was apologizing because she frequently ran short of eggs; seems her chickens were getting old and their production had declined. She’s since rectified that problem, presumably with some spring chickens.

She has a small hen house out back where the chickens do their thing. I’d love to get a tour of the hen house and engage Clair in the fine points of her chickens’ egg production, since her eggs are the best I’ve ever had. The yolks are a deep orange, and stand up high when you fry them.

Actually, my preferred way of eating eggs, and assessing their flavor and freshness, is to soft-boil them (remove them two minutes, 15 seconds after the water boils), slice off a small piece of the top, and eat them right out of the shell, sitting in an egg cup. (If you boil them too long, usually over two-and-a-half minutes, the yolks become too hard.) This is more European style, stemming from my parents’ German roots. (One thing I haven’t gotten myself to do is eat eggs raw, even mixed with milk in a smoothie; when I researched the story of my aunt’s experiences living with a group of children in southern France during the Holocaust, I learned that the adults in charge insisted that on the rare occasions when they obtained eggs, that the children eat them raw, supposedly to capture all the nutrients.)

A close runner up to Clair’s eggs are some I bought last week from Beth, the farmer I purchased my goat’s milk from. She has a neighbor with chickens, and those eggs were excellent—very delicate and tasty whites. They were also a combination of brown and white eggs, and widely varying sizes, and even some poop on a few of the eggs—which you never see at the supermarket.

Sometimes when I buy eggs at farmer’s markets, I’m disappointed. They don’t seem quite as fresh or the yolks as rich as they should be. Maybe they’re left sitting around too long.

I suspect that’s the big problem with eggs we buy at the grocery store. I once read where these eggs go through so many channels before getting to the store that they’re often weeks from having been laid. And, of course, if the chickens have been fed antibiotics and crammed together for months and months, the egg quality has to suffer–those pale yellow yolks are the result. And maybe that’s also behind the occasional reports of salmonella in eggs that we see from time to time.

When I was visiting in Florida last month, I bought some of the organic eggs with the high omega 3 content at Whole Foods. They were okay…but just not the same as Clair’s eggs. Nothing new there, I suppose—being spoiled by the real thing.