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Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Real eggs should also have different colored yolks depending on the season, because of differences in the chickens' diets. (I'm intentionally using the word real here).

We eat fresh eggs at home, bought from local farms. I've seen kids, young kids, who "don't eat eggs" devour them when we make them at our house.

And to the freshness point, there's a decent supermarket brand raised here in Massachusetts that we buy when we're in a fix. On a visit to Florida once we found the same brand, and the difference in color and taste, even without a side by side comparison, was enormous. Same eggs, just 1,500 miles and maybe a few weeks...

The orange egg looks the older in your photo!* The yellow egg has a firm circle of albumen whereas the orange one seems watery. It may be the lighting has made it look that way as we are dealing with translucent liquids.
I keep poultry (Indian Runner Ducks for eggs currently) free ranging in my garden and the darker colour of the yolk is typically what you see from feeding on grass and invertebrates though the yolk colour can vary with the breed too.
Commercial eggs can be raised using a diet containing colour to darken the yolk.
*It may still have the better flavour.

The Mennonite eggs are called "pasture raised" or "pastured" eggs. "Free range" and "cage free" come from factory farms where the hens are debeaked and kept indoors in giant, crowded sheds for their entire lives. (There may be a little trap door that leads to a little outdoor cage, but the door will be locked most if not all of the time). The hens live in their own waste, and the ammonia from that waste burns their eyes and lungs for their entire lives. They are killed when they are quite young, as their egg production slows down, and their transportation to the slaughterhouse and deaths are both horrific.

Even with pastured eggs, at the hatchery half of the chicks are born males and they are killed cruelty as babies, as males of the egg-laying variety are not worth money.

See here, for example:

Chickens are intelligent beings, each with its own unique personality. They can recognize up to 100 of their friends. They are viciously abused by the billions every year. I choose to boycott all bird products. Luckily, humans have no need to eat bird menstrual discharge.


I'm terrible at attaching the correct year to otherwise accurate memories , but back in the first digital revolution, the one that digitized sound my son and I were building a recording studio.
We started with the then wiz-bang fast Mac SE 30 with 4 mb of RAM
then onto a Mac Pro tower so we could install a ProTools 3 PCI Card system . I don't remember the year, but I do remember paying something like $1200 bucks for the first 'Micropolis 1.2 GB Hard drives with garden hose size SCSI cables
So the 1 TB fingernail sized SD card is truly amazing to me..

Mike, you may be interested in the work of the Longnow Foundation, "…established in 01996* to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide a counterpoint to today's accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common."

"I don't actually know the correct term for the building where they keep all the laying hens."


A few years ago I read an article about egg consumption. In Holland we prefer dark yolks, in Germany they want them light. The average German also thinks that eggs with a white shell are better. We love the brown ones. In reality the color doesn’t matter. It is just like the chickens themselves, that can have all kinds of colors. You can’t say that black ones taste better than a brown ones (as the Batak people on Sumatra do when they are referring to dogs). So the poultry farming industry just designs the eggs that we want, including the colors of the yolks. It does not have a great reputation when it comes to producing healthy food. My favorite chickens however are of a French ‘brand.’ They had a good life but within a controlled process. They even come with a certificate. In other words: you don’t know what your Mennonite hens had to eat. Could be anything, and that surely makes a difference for the taste. My grandfather had a pig during World War Two and he couldn’t find any other food for it than fish meal. So its meat tasted fishy.

A lot of people get up in arms about chickens and eggs.

The colour of eggs has a lot (if not everything) to do with what they've been fed. Ontario eggs are much more yellow than British Columbia eggs because they get fed corn.

If you observed what free range chickens get into/up to and what sometimes appears in their eggs you might change your mind about them.

When I visit my in-laws (who are chicken farmers) I routinely eat eggs taken from the barn. These eggs, in some cases, would have been laid maybe not even an hour earlier. There is no taste difference between them and what I buy at the store at home.

In a blind test I would be willing to bet a significant sum that 100% of people would not be able to discern a difference in taste between a free-range and a caged egg. It is entirely about perception.

There is tremendous misinformation on the topic of eggs and chickens.

Oh, and you can save some money buy buying white eggs. They are identical to their brown counterparts on the inside. Only the shell cover is different.

Now back to photos!

Get accustomed to "pasture raised" eggs and "cage free" eggs start to look downright sickly. In my experience, the former taste a lot more "eggy", the whites cook up thicker and "meatier", and their shells are harder. I strongly suspect that at least one important factor is that out in the open, chickens are allowed to be omnivores and eat what they need.

Here in NZ, egg yolk have darker color because that's what people here expect and love. Once can achieve this simply by feeding the hens corn or just simply turmeric or paprika.

Fresh eggs do taste better than older ones and almost anyone can tell the difference. An easy way to find out, fresh eggs sink and lie horizontally on the bottom of a water filled pot, older ones sit vertically...

Darker yolk and albumen from free range chickens do not mean age differences. They are primarily due to diet differences with farmed chickens eating feed. Free range chickens get to eat insects, lots of insects which changes the flavor and the color profile of the eggs from more carotenoids and xanthophyls.

While I did not take a picture of it, about 6 months ago I saw the same thing between "cage free" and free range eggs. It converted me to buying the more expensive free range for good. They are so much brighter and orange and I do believe they taste better. They are most certainly also better for you.


New print offer idea: Prints made using albumen process!


I buy eggbeaters. Tastes the same, to me, a restaurant eggs.

All eyes are different. Many men are colorblind to one degree or another. There isn't one chart on the color vision test that I can read. But I can see contrast much better than most.

Before light meters, motion picture Directors of Photography, would read the stop off of the palm of their hand. Unlike stills, there can't be any variance between shots, or they won't cut together seamlessly.

I've worked with two DPs who read their hands—amazing to see, just as accurate as a Spectra or Gossen light meter.

I never learned to set stops off my hand. But I can walk across a set while looking at my palm, and see where I need add or subtract light, accurately.

Now-a-days the movie biz uses digital imaging techs who monitor everything live (SOOC). If you have a mirrorless camera, you can do the same thing.

I have read that the only advantage to older eggs is that for some reason they are easier to peel if hard boiled.

(Reflecting on a recent topic here). Don't ya just gaze at a picture like that and wonder who the hell first thought of using that stuff to print a photograph?!

When I visited upstate New York from Asia recently, I was reminded of the pale-yellow yolks of American supermarket eggs. They don't have as yolk-y a taste, as the fancy organic eggs you can buy there, or the eggs I eat here, on the other side of the world.

Since eggs in Singapore, where I live, are also from factory farms, there's no special virtue, I think, in terms of taste, at least, to free-range Mennonite or Amish eggs.

But there is a difference I know about which might account for the difference in color and taste.

Eggs in equatorial Singapore are not washed and are stored unrefrigerated on supermarket shelves, just as in Europe.

EU (and Singapore) regulations forbid the washing-off of the natural protective layer on egg shells, which stops them from going bad at room temperature for a long time— the layer stops bacteria from getting inside the egg that would cause the egg to spoil.

By contrast, the USDA and FDA rules are exactly the opposite back home in the States. Eggs must be washed before they get to a retail shelf to get rid of certain harmful surface bacteria that the egg picks up when it is laid by the hen.

This process washes off a natural layer of protectant, and consequently, the eggs need to be refrigerated. Without that layer, bacteria get inside the eggshell and the egg becomes rotten rapidly.

I should have added. The manager at the supermarket let me in on a little secret. He said most brown eggs are artificially colored brown after they are laid, like Easter eggs. Apparently, hens don't produce brown eggs reliably enough for egg-farms to reliably meet demand, and it removes the need to sort the white eggs from the brown ones.

How to peel an egg:


My mother has some pet chickens that are about 16 years old. They used to run free dining on snails in the garden but then the hawks and owls started killing them. Now the two surviving hens mostly stay in a big covered pen about 20 feet square, unless a human is around and then they will come out but stick close to people.

Chickens are very social animals and get lonely. A few months ago a couple of chickens just wandered in* and without much fuss joined the flock. The two old hens and the two new hens really seem to enjoy each others company. One of the hens even likes being held. Back yard eggs are to store eggs what backyard tomatoes are to store tomatoes. And the nasty short lives of most commercial hens is just awful.

*not particularly unusual. For years we had a flock of peacocks that just moved in. Not as fun as you might imagine. They sound exactly like a screaming woman. They like to sleep in trees but when they are asleep they tend to fall out of the tree. On the roof of the house. They weigh about as much as a large turkey so in the middle of the night you wake up to the sound of what seems to be a screaming woman tumbling across the roof. Eventually you get used to it but it leads to interesting conversations with overnight guests at two in the morning. Oh and peacock poop, pretty much like goose poop, except that geese don't like to stand on things.


Sorry for the late comment - I'm once again traveling. A few weeks ago we were on a home exchange in Sweden. This time the home exchange involved taking care of 6 chickens - 1 older dominant hen and 5 younger ones. All friendly and social. We got 5 fresh eggs regular as clockwork every morning, sometimes so fresh the were still warm. Boy, were they good.

The thing that determines the colour of the egg shell is the variety of the chicken that lays it (e.g. R.I.Reds are one of the varieties that lay brown eggs, Leghorns lay white, etc.). The main determinant of yolk colour is the amount of carotinoids in the chicken's feed.

Tastes in yolk colour do vary regionally within countries and between countries and there is in fact a gizmo called the "DSM Yolk Color Fan" that is used to quantify the colour of the yolk for those whose vision does not have the fine-tuned ability of an Adams or Johnston. The fans are available in hardware stores in farming areas.

My sister-in-law is Italian born and over the years I have been learning bits of Italian vocabulary to add to my French and Spanish. Some time ago we were cooking together and I asked what the words were for egg and yolk and was very surprised to learn that a yolk is a "red" (rosso d’uovo). I have subsequently learned that the yellow yolks we're used to are "giallo dell’uovo" but, in her opinion, no Italian would eat anything other than the deep orange "rosso" yolks.

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