Sunday, June 7, 2009

Eggs, Glorious Eggs

Having free range chickens is great. They're easy to take care of, keep the fire ant population down and produce copious quantities of eggs! We have 13 hens, 2 roosters, and get anywhere from 10-13 eggs a day. Our Wyandotte chickens free range on our land and use approximately 5 of our 20 acres. We've read that chickens will only range about 500 feet from the coop, but our birds regularly explore further.

The eggs are incredibly delicious and very different from commercially produced eggs. According to Mother Earth News, free range, pasture fed chicken eggs have 1/3rd the cholestrol, 1/4th the saturated fat, 2/3's more vitamin A, 2 times the omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times the vitamin E, and 7 times the beta carotene of eggs produced by cage raised hens. They also come in a variety of sizes and colors, which is one of my favorite parts. We get "cone-head" eggs, round eggs, and giant eggs to name a few. The giant one in the group below was a double yoke. All of our hens produce brown eggs, and while the darkness of the shell varies, all yokes are bright orange. This comes from eating lots of bugs and other good stuff that you don't find in chicken feed.

When you have as many eggs as we do, you have to get creative about what you do with them. Today we're having deviled eggs for lunch, and we had scrambled eggs for breakfast yesterday. (I do hope that cholesterol statistic is correct!) Last week Scott made a beautiful fritatta with our eggs, home grown broccolli, onions, & garlic and store bought bacon (we're looking forward to home grown bacon as well). A fritatta is an italian dish that is sort of a cross between an omelet and a quiche. You start the frittata in a frying pan much like an omelet (saute your vegtables, add meat and eggs) and cook it on medium until it will slide loose in the pan, then move everything (pan included) into the oven and cook at 375 degrees until a toothpick will come out clean (30-45 minutes).

We have eggs for sale as well, but for now they're in a strange location. I'm working in Holden Beach for the summer so we're selling them at the place I work - Hopefully by next year we'll have more chickens and enough eggs that a booth at the Wilmington Farmer's Market will be warranted. That's the goal!

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