E is for Eggs

You know the slogan, The Incredible, Edible Egg. I completely agree. And as long as you are not allergic to eggs, they are a workhorse ingredient in the gluten free diet.

Gluten free baked goods benefit from the flavor, protein, nutrition and moisture eggs provide. Breads, muffins and cakes rise higher, taste better, are less crumbly and stay fresh longer when eggs are added.

Eggs are also a budget friendly source of high quality protein. They offer great nutrition in a neat, naturally gluten free package.

In only 75 calories, one delicious whole egg has 13 essential nutrients including choline, folate, riboflavin, iron, zinc, and the antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin.

But what about that cholesterol bugaboo?

There are about 200 milligrams of cholesterol in the yolk. Some people recommend eating only the whites to avoid the cholesterol. But many of the egg’s incredible nutrients are found in the egg yolk, including choline, folate, easily absorbed iron, zinc, vitamins E, A and a bit of D. The yolk also includes healthy fats and almost half of the protein found in eggs.

I am not afraid of a little (or more) cholesterol. And I do not want to miss out the great flavor or the full range of nutrients in the yolk. I eat the whole egg, including the fat and cholesterol. I do not feel guilty, not one bit.

What kind of eggs are available?

The usual white or brown eggs that come from big producers fill refrigerated shelves at every US grocery store. And organic, free range, cage free, vegetarian and combinations there of are available.

I love, love, love truly free range eggs purchased at a local farm. It is fun to wait for the colorful hens to bob out of the road when I drive in. These hens are not vegetarian, they scarf up lots of bugs. Their beautiful eggs are hues of the palest blue or green, and brown. The yolks are almost orange.

These free range eggs are about four times more expensive than grocery store eggs though. In reality, I use both. Eggs are not available at this farm in the icy Wisconsin winter.  Since there are fewer bugs to eat, the hens lay fewer eggs when it is very cold.  And I cannot always get to the farm, alas, the grocery store is convenient.

 A word about egg safety

Eggs can be contaminated with salmonella, a bacteria that causes diarrhea. Who needs more of that? Salmonella can be on the shell and even inside the egg. You cannot count on simply washing the eggshell to get rid of it.

Salmonella is killed with heat. People who are immune compromised should eat only fully cooked eggs. My immune system is pretty good though, and I enjoy a slightly runny fried egg. I do not even consider this living dangerously.

May 27, 2009 I am adding a link to a blog post from Trautman Family Farms, where we buy free range eggs. Scott talks about buying and raising the hens. Trautmans “rescue” hens from a local organic laying supplier. Very interesting. http://www.localharvest.org/blog/15556/