Except during the year’s darkest days and when she is moulting, a hen produces an egg every 24 to 28 hours. She doesn’t need a rooster around to do it. She can’t not do it. Not long after she lays one egg, she begins producing another. Some hens are happier when there’s a rooster around, others simply find him annoying. When it comes to eggs, it doesn’t matter. Day in and day out, a hen produces her eggs, beautifully-shaped spheres of near-perfect protein, with a natural coating that protects and preserves the egg, unless it is washed off. An egg contains all the amino acids essential to human health, along with natural Vitamin D, an impressive array of other essential vitamins and minerals and about 70 calories. Unlike many foods, eggs do not need to be combined with other foods for their nutrients to become available, though they are easier to digest (not to mention more delicious) when they are cooked.
For the best eggs, you need find happy hens, hens who get to do what they like to do, which is run around, peck for grubs and such, enforce their pecking order, take dirt baths (which helps keep them free of mites) and soak up a bit of sun. What a hen eats determines the flavor, color and nutritional value of her eggs, so an organic diet with plenty of greens is a good thing. When yolks are deeply colored, it means the hen has been eating kale and other dark leafy greens.
As promised in today’s Seasonal Pantry, here are links to several of my favorite Spring egg recipes. If you have a minute, share some of your favorite ways to enjoy eggs at this time of year.