What's the difference?
Free range: Hens are in hen houses but have access to an outdoor range for at least eight hours during the day. They use the houses for roosting, laying, drinking and eating. More than 25 per cent of eggs produced in Australia are free range.
Barn laid: Hens in barn-laid farming systems do not live in cages and are housed in large hen houses that are designed to keep them clean and healthy.
Cage: These eggs come from hens that are housed in crowded cages located within a hen house. Cages typically accommodate between four and 20 hens and range in size from 1800cm to 11,000cm. In Australia, the minimum space allowance for hens in cages is 550cm per hen. Approximately 68 per cent of eggs produced in Australia come from hens housed in cage-farming systems. Choose thoughtfully.
Then there are...
Organic: Produced under a free-range farming system from hens fed a diet at least 95 per cent organically grown. There are a number of bodies in Australia that certify organic egg production.
Omega-3: These are produced by giving hens feed that contains a higher proportion of omega-3 and vitamin E than regular feed.
Vegetarian: These eggs come from hens that are fed a diet that does not contain any ingredient sourced from either meat or fish. Vegetarian eggs can only be sourced from barn or cage systems where the hens are directly fed and do not forage.
The nutritional value of eggs does not differ between cage, barn-laid or free-range egg farming systems, although partially cooked runny eggs are best avoided by infants, elderly and pregnant women. You can keep your eggs fresh by storing them in the fridge in their original carton, just make sure to check the use-by date before cooking them.
- Avoid breaking eggs directly into a mixture or the pan youre cooking in just in case you come across an off egg or pieces of shell accidently broken off.
- When cracking eggs, if a few bits of shell make their way into your bowl, the easiest way to remove them is to use a larger piece of shell to scoop the small pieces out.
Sort and store
- Eggshells are incredibly porous, which means they can take on odours from your fridge. To prevent this, store eggs in their original container. Eggshells also act as a barrier against bacteria and germs, so cracked eggs are best discarded.
- To tell if an egg is cooked or raw, give it a spin on your bench. If it wobbles, its raw. But if it spins smoothly, it is a cooked egg.
Which eggs for when?
- Super fresh are best for poached eggs and fried eggs.
- A few days old are best for boiled eggs.
- Slightly older but still in-date are just right for frittatas or scrambled eggs.
How to test eggs for freshness
The easiest way to check the freshness of an egg is by putting it in a bowl of water. If it floats, it indicates there is a large air bubble inside your egg, meaning it is too old. If it hangs out mid-way, its a few days old, and if it sinks to the bottom, it is super fresh.
Australia does not import fresh eggs, so every single one you find on supermarket shelves has been laid here. Those chooks help feed our average yearly appetite of about 213 eggs per person.
Perfect poached eggs
The elusive perfect poached egg can be tricky to achieve. Use white vinegar in your boiling water for the best results.
Perfect scrambled eggs
Everyone should be able to whip up a batch of perfect scrambled eggs.
Perfect fried eggs
Fried eggs your way- sunny-side up or eggs over easy, runny or hard yolk.
Perfect boiled eggs
Cook boiled eggs exactly how you like them every time with our no-fail method.
- For soft yolk, boil for 2 minutes
- For medium yolk, boil for 3 minutes
- For hard-boiled yolk, boil for 7 minutes