One of the more interesting aspects of living in Brazil is the different approaches to food. We are connected to local farms from friends and family, spoiling us with organic homegrown everything. Regarding chicken eggs, the sizes vary, the colors of the shells vary but if the egg comes from the family farm, the yolk almost always a darker color. It is also thicker than the typical yellow yolk you find at the store.
In the United States all the eggs that can be bought at our local supermarket are yellow. Organic, vegetarian or cheap; they are all yellow and the yolk is not as thick. What is the reason for this? Could it be that myself and almost everyone I know has been eating eggs from unhealthy chickens? Have you ever even seen an orange egg? It took me 30 years to discover an egg from a healthy chicken. That’s crazy.
Having returned to the states, Craigslist is the go-to route to accommodate my urban life with homestead flare in search of the dankest foods.
Here is what I understand after talking to farmers:
Chickens that eat insects and the proper diet of a free-range chicken tend to producer darker yolks.
These yolks tend to be thicker
The eggshells are thicker and harder to crack
The eggs are higher in omega-3 fatty acids
Xanthophyll’s (a class of carotenoids) are prevalent in orange yolks and provide nutritional value. Xanthophyll’s can be found in dark leafy greens like kale.
Chickens are not vegetarian. They are omnivores. Don’t buy eggs with “vegetarian” label even if it says organic…it is not a healthy chicken!
Egg colors can be altered through diet and synthetic formulas so try to know where your eggs are really coming from.
A healthy chicken equals a healthy egg.
Here is a bit more of an explanation by food and nutrition.
When it comes to yolks, the color is determined by a hen’s diet, not its breed (artificial color additives are not permitted in eggs) or the freshness of the egg. Hen diets heavy in green plants, yellow corn, alfalfa and other plant material with xanthophylls pigment (a yellow-orange hue) will produce a darker yellow-orange yolk. Diets of wheat or barley produce pale yellow yolks; hens fed white cornmeal produce almost colorless yolks.
Free-range hens may have access to more heavily pigmented food so they may produce eggs with darker yolks. According to the American Egg Board, consumer preference in the U.S. is typically for light gold- or lemon-colored yolks.
At the end of the day, know your farmer and the diet of the chickens producing the eggs to be eaten.