On Loving Eggs

November 15, 2013

I have the best intentions when buying eggs. I’ve seen videos and read articles about factory farmed chickens and the awful life they lead to produce eggs in an attempt to keep up with consumer demand and keep prices down. It horrifies me.

I want to make the right choice and only buy eggs that I know come from happy chickens who lead a good life, and I am happy to pay extra for these eggs. The trouble is, it can be so difficult to know what eggs are the most humane choice. Words like “free-range” and “cage-free” and “organic” are thrown around leaving consumers very confused and frustrated. There needs to be more transparency in the industry and better standards, most definitely. But we as consumers do have some power here, we just need to educate ourselves and not reach for factory-farmed eggs out of convenience.

So where do we start? If you’re lucky or have the inclination, you can find a farm near you and visit. Or you might meet with a farmer selling their eggs at your local market market and have a chat. Find out about their practices and find a farm or brand you’re happy with. Support them, even though it may cost a few dollars more. It’s worth it, so worth it.

You can also refuse to support factory farming and spend thirty minutes educating and empowering yourself by reading these next few links. Visit Humane Choice and Animal Welfare Labels for more information on the best products and download a great consumer guide to choosing eggs. And look for products that have the Humane Choice accreditation.

I do really love eggs, you see. I live and grew up in an area where it’s normal for people to have a backyard full of roaming chickens. And I’ve long enjoyed the benefits of this, with ready access to fresh, free-range eggs. Moving to the city to attend University when I was 18 really allowed me to see how confusing it is when shopping for eggs at the Supermarket. As a poor student living on rice and legumes and meals from my mum, I no doubt bought the least expensive option available and learnt that cheap, unhappy eggs produced in terrible conditions taste really bad and…sad. They didn’t even resembled the eggs I grew up with, their bright orange yolks and a rich, creamy taste and texture. When living at home I would grunt in moody teenage angst when having to wash poo or feathers off our fresh eggs. I soon realised it was a privilege. In fact I count fresh, free-range eggs from happy hens to be one of life’s truest joys and truest privledges. At our current home we have room for some chickens of our own, and I’m keenly trying to figure out the best and safest way to make this a reality. For now, I’m once again enjoying egg deliveries from my mum and dad’s hens.

Lately I’ve found a new love – duck eggs. Mum’s friend provides us with a good price for these porcelain parcels, and I’ve had the most lovely time seeing what they can do. They’re different from chook eggs, for sure, almost prehistoric in their gigantic, gloopy glory. I favour the flavour of chicken eggs for boiling, poaching and scrambling, so I save my duck eggs for one special purpose where I can celebrate their fat yolky goodness…ice-cream. Oh, duck egg yolks make the most glorious ice-cream. So rich and smooth and gentle and creamy. So creamy.

And now I’m completely and utterly ruined. Store bought ice-creams do nothing for me, even the good brands. *sigh* I suppose I’ll just have to keep close to my duck friends. Though having said that, you can simply add an extra chicken egg yolk into the mix to make super lovely ice-cream out of chicken eggs. The real key is, of course, using happy eggs from happy birds, whether chickens or ducks. That is really loving eggs.

coffee icecream

Coffee Ice-Cream (recipe link). A stellar recipe by the infallible ice-cream God, David Lebovitz.

My Ice-cream maker (link) – a gift from my gorgeous Aunty Carole, who gets my food brain and supports it so lovingly. I highly recommend this ice-cream maker.

Heidi xo

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28 Comments

  • Reply Merowyn November 15, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I love eggs too, so does Orlando and well, Hamish is obsessed.
    Even if the battery hen egg boxes are the last ones left I’ll drive somewhere else to get my eggs. We can’t wait to have our chicken coop, dad’s promised it when he’s back from the Philippines. Yay!

    That ice cream sounds PHENOM!

    xox

    • Reply Heidi November 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

      That’s so exciting about your coop!! Your dad is amazing. x

  • Reply Gillian November 15, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I hear you on the ice-cream front. Not that I have ever tried duck eggs, but even icecream made with chicken eggs is way above the standards of regular shop bought icecream. Another factor I find, helps in icecream is the quality of milk and cream. The products I buy are from Jersey cows, and not homogenised. I find it makes a huge difference in the quality of the icecream. They also make a far superior cheese as well.

    • Reply Heidi November 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Great tip, Gillian, thank you!! Yes, the quality of the ingredients makes all the difference x

  • Reply Yasmeen November 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Love this post and agree wholeheartedly that eggs (sadly) might be one of the most confusing items in the supermarket. Rather than swear them off from our diets, we as consumers need to support ethical egg producers and farmers to show the mass producers that we know what they’re up to and won’t stand for it.

    Jase grew up eating fresh eggs and I feel lucky to have learned the joys of plucking, washing and cooking them on his family’s farm. The difference is stunning.

    I can only imagine how good that ice cream is!!!

    • Reply Heidi November 16, 2013 at 9:50 am

      word. & yes, must make you some of this ice-cream x

  • Reply Julia @ Chic To Do November 15, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Oh, I have heard such good things about David Lebovitz’s ice cream recipes. Glad to know they really are as good as everyone says!

    • Reply Heidi November 16, 2013 at 9:50 am

      truly they are!! Definitely worth getting his book x

  • Reply InTolerant Chef November 15, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Real, fresh eggs are certainly a revelation indeed Heidi! You’re so lucky to have access to such great duck ones- they’re great for sponges too

    • Reply Heidi November 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

      Thanks for the tip, Rebecca, I can’t wait to make a good sponge! x

  • Reply Natalie November 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    We just dusted on the ice cream maker this week too. I was just explaining the same thing to a friend today when she asked ‘why would you make it when you can buy ice cream?’ ……. She obviously has not tried homemade ice cream made with beautiful fresh egg yolks. Our flavour – chocolate (always a hit with the kids) but that coffee one looks divine and sounds a must 🙂 thanks for sharing

    • Reply Heidi November 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

      You’re so welcome! Good old chocolate ice-cream is wonderful too 🙂 x

  • Reply Hannah November 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    *whimper*

    Could you do something for me? Could you somehow make this ice cream with the addition of David Lebovitz’ caramelised white chocolate, somehow? For me? xoxo

    • Reply Heidi November 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

      I’ll figure something out 😉 x

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