One of the great things about eggs is that there are so many different ways to cook them. But have you ever wondered about the most basic difference of all - brown eggs vs white? Some people will tell you that brown eggs are richer and more nutritious, while others believe that white eggs are cleaner. But is one really any better than the other? We took a look at the key features of both to answer the question once and for all.
Difference between brown and white eggs
In fact, the main difference between brown eggs and white eggs is the breed of chicken that laid them. As a general rule, white chickens with white earlobes, like the White Leghorn, lay white eggs, while brown chickens with brown earlobes, like the Rhode Island Red, lay brown eggs. There are some exceptions, however, and some chickens even lay blue or speckled eggs.
When an egg first forms inside the chicken, it starts out white, but in some breeds, brown (or sometimes blue) pigment is added as it passes through the oviduct. The pigment doesn’t pass through the shell, so the egg inside is unaffected. Analysis shows that white and brown eggs are virtually the same in terms of taste and nutritional content.
Many people believe that brown eggs are better because they are more expensive than white eggs, but the real reason for this is that brown-egg chickens tend to be larger than white-egg chickens, so they cost more for the farmer to feed.
Another reason some people may think brown eggs are better is that brown-egg chicken breeds are more commonly kept as pets, or on small holdings. These eggs may well be both tastier and healthier than supermarket eggs, but it has nothing to do with the colour of the shell, and everything to do with the way the chickens are kept.
If you want to buy good quality eggs, your best bet is eggs laid by home-raised chickens. Chickens that have been allowed to roam in the sunlight have been found to produce eggs with 3 to 4 times more Vitamin D than factory farmed chickens, and they are also given better quality feed, which means both healthier and tastier eggs. Chickens that are fed grass as well as regular feed have been shown to produce eggs that have higher levels of both omega-3 fats and vitamin E.
The next best option would be Free Range eggs from the store. Free Range chickens must have at least some access to the outdoors, and should not be confused with Cage-Free, which cannot be kept in tiny cages, but still don’t have outdoor access.
Are white eggs bleached?
Many people believe that white eggs are bleached, but this is not the case. White eggs are laid by chickens that don’t produce any pigment as the egg passes through their oviduct - they just come out like that.
Eggs sold in the USA - both brown and white - are washed prior to packaging, but the process does not involve bleach. Instead, they are cleaned with warm water and mild detergent before being thoroughly dried to avoid attracting bacteria.
Whether you choose brown or white eggs, or even blue, make sure you cook them right every time with this handy guide to the science behind perfect fried eggs.