- What’s inside: Consumer Reports finds most shoppers are misled by “natural” labels on food. Read more here.
- Gimme land, lotsa land: The USDA expanded the popular microloan program to help new farmers buy land. Read more here.
- Don’t fence me in: Civil Eats reports on the corporate shift to cage-free egg production. Read more here.
- Local Foods, Local Places: High Point, NC, has been named one of 27 town awarded federal assistance to build local food systems. Read more here.
- Chart the course: The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association reminds farmers to spend the winter months planning ahead using the Veggie Compass to chart profitability. Read more here.
Food of the week: eggs
Good news for eggs and the chickens who lay them. Earlier this month, new federal eating guidelines rolled back recommendations to restrict egg consumption. That’s because researchers now say there’s not a clear link between consuming dietary cholesterol and developing heart disease.
Also, a slew of major food companies including Nestle, Target, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and others recently pledged to switch to cage-free eggs in the next decade. This comes largely in response to consumer demand based on concerns about inhumane conditions in large scale factory farms. While “cage-free” is an improvement, it’s not the same as “free-range” or pastured flocks, which are allowed to roam outdoors and forage for food. EatWild offers a directory of North Carolina farms that offer eggs from poultry raised outdoors, as well as these tips on how to measure egg freshness:
It seems that all the eggs on the market are guaranteed to be “farm fresh,” whether you’ve paid a dollar a dozen at a discount grocers or five times that much at a farmer’s market. How can you tell if an egg is truly fresh?
The quickest test is to crack an egg into a pan of slowly simmering water. The egg is fresh if the white is thick and clings to the yolk. The egg is old if the white is thin and spreads out into the water. A poached fresh egg presents a very tidy package.
Boiling an egg gives you more clues. Fresh eggs lay flat on the bottom of the pan. Older eggs tend to tilt upward. That’s because air has had time to infiltrate the shell and form an internal bubble. The bubble levitates one end of the egg. The older the egg, the steeper the incline.
Once your boiled eggs are done, peel one of them. The egg is very fresh if it’s difficult to peel and some of the cooked white pulls away with the shell. An older egg peels like a breeze. Fresh eggs make raggedy looking deviled eggs.
You can read more here.