What started as a hobby farm back in 2005 and then became a “farm stay” bed and breakfast grew into a major egg business — sort of by accident. “Our customers at the B&B kept raving about how incredible our eggs tasted, so we decided to figure out what we were doing differently that made them so good,” says Betsy Babcock, who started Handsome Brook Farm with her husband, Brian. Turns out, what they were doing was just letting chickens be chickens and allowing them to forage in pastures (instead of keeping them confined in cages or barns). And according to a 2010 study at Penn State, those pasture-raised chickens produce eggs that not only taste better, but they’re better for you. The researchers found that eggs from pasture hens had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain Omega-3 fats than conventional eggs, plus there were higher concentrations of vitamin A — a difference attributed to the hens’ diet. Read more
The Great Egg Crisis of 2015
Worried about the commercial egg supply crisis brought on by the rapid spread of deadly bird flu across U.S. farms? Rightly so. The H5N2 virus has stricken and in many cases killed nearly 47 million birds, most of them hens who provided eggs for processed foods or bakeries. In only weeks, a third of the commercial egg supply has vanished, leaving bakers scrambling. The good news is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has approved the importation of egg products from the Netherlands to help relieve the pressure, and seven countries are now approved to import shell eggs for use by bakeries and food processors: Chile, Argentina, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. Even though the flu will likely abate when temperatures rise, the effects on egg supply may linger for years. Meanwhile, the price of eggs for consumers has skyrocketed more than 120 percent, prompting some shoppers to buy less-affected cage-free and organic eggs, which haven’t seen as great a price surge. Read more
All Vegans Are Not Equal
Which kind of vegan do you think is more likely to stick to the diet: those who eschew animal products for ethical reasons or those who do it for health reasons? Ticktock … ticktock … Time’s up! The answer is ethical vegans. According to a study recently published in the journal Appetite and cited by Time, people who are vegans for ethical reasons follow the diet for about eight years, on average, and are also more likely to eat soy and vitamin supplements. Those who go vegan for health reasons, by contrast, stick to the diet for about five-and-a-half years, but they do eat more fruits and fewer sweets than ethical vegans.
Handsome fresh spears of asparagus are now in markets everywhere, promising effortless meals that sum up spring perfectly. This simple braise of leeks and asparagus is exactly that: an easy-to-assemble bowl of spring flavors. The addition of a poached egg completes the meal, enveloping the vegetables in a creamy yolk.
You’ll want to get out your best grassy olive oil here, as it doesn’t get cooked but instead cloaks the vegetables and brings all of the flavors together. If ramps grow in your area, you might try swapping them in place of the leeks. (You will want to cut their stems thin, as ramps need longer to cook than leeks.) This braise is also the perfect vehicle for other spring vegetables, like peas, pea shoots, watercress and spinach.
In this week’s news: Scientists say that fiber is (still) good for heart health; nutrition experts explain why you might want to give your kids a whisk; and the CDC finds that Americans just can’t quit salt.
More Reasons to Go with the (Whole) Grains
In a study published this month in BMJ, researchers observed a lower risk of heart disease for every additional 7 grams of fiber consumed per day. The review of 22 previous studies, conducted at the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, in England, also looked at types and sources of fiber. Those who ate a combination of fiber sources from whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables had the lowest risk of heart disease.
There are so many egg varieties at the market these days, it’s easy to crack under pressure if you don’t know what labels mean. That said, no matter what the carton says or the type of eggs you buy, the most important thing to remember is this: The better the hens eat, the better the eggs.
Eggs are more than just a breakfast staple and Easter must-have: These protein-packed bites also contain vitamins A, D, E, potassium, calcium and iron. Whether you like them hard-boiled, soft-cooked or want to make dyeing them a family affair, Eggland’s Best wants to give you a free carton to try (plus a few extras).
You can buy your own Eggland’s Best Products or enter in the comments for a chance to win some. Just let us know, in the comments, your favorite egg dish. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, March 22 at 5 p.m. EST.
We’re giving away an Eggland’s Best Prize Pack which includes one coupon for a dozen eggs, whisk, egg shaped cutting board, coffee mug, mixing bowl, bowl scraper and tote bag to one randomly-selected commenter. You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate with you if you’re a winner.
You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. EST on March 20 and 5 p.m. EST on March 22, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $50. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.
So tell us, what is your favorite egg dish?
By now you’ve probably heard about the study claiming eating egg yolks is as bad for your heart as smoking. We just had to weigh in on this!
We Heart Eggs
We’ve already discussed the benefits of eggs. Eating them (yolks and all) offers protein, heart healthy omega-3 fats, plus cell-protecting antioxidants like lutein. Read up on these previous posts:
Most folks are hip to the fact that they need more omega-3 fats in their diet, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually eating enough. Here’s a refresher on why omega-3s do the body good and some delish recipes to boost your intake.
There are 3 main types of omega-3 fats that are typically referred to by their abbreviated names DHA, EPA and ALA. The DHA and EPA types are plentiful in fish and help fight inflammation. They also contribute to heart health, brain function and immunity. If that’s not enough, they also help with healthy joints, skin, eyes and skin. The ALA type of omega-3 is found mostly in plant-based foods. Once eaten, the body converts ALA to a small amount of DHA and EPA. ALA-rich foods are good for you for a variety of reasons but to really reap the benefits of omega-3, you want to make sure to get most of them from EPA and DHA.
Experts recommend getting about 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s per day, mostly from DHA and EPA.
Salmon is one of the best fish choices for healthy fats. A 4-ounce (raw) portion will serve up more than 1600 milligrams of DHA and EPA.
Your kids have talked you into coloring dozens of Easter eggs, but once the egg hunt is over, what should you do with all of those pretty eggs? Think beyond the egg salad sandwich and try one of these 5 recipes.
Food Safety Tip
I’m all for Easter egg hunts, but if you’re going to eat the leftovers just make sure they haven’t sit been sitting out too long. If they’ve been sitting out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if outside in the heat) then trash them.