Do you know why eggs are brown? Those who aren’t raised on a farm or homestead might not know.
I know brown eggs tend to cost more at the grocery store. But why is that? What makes eggs brown, and ‘are they better for you’?
I will answer all these questions and more, so you will be informed next time you buy eggs.
Why Eggs Are Brown?
Here is the lowdown on what makes eggs brown. Prepare to have your mind blown.
The color of an egg is determined by the pigment in the hen’s skin, which is deposited in the shell as it is formed.
Hens with brown skin lay brown eggs, while hens with white skin lay white eggs. This does not have to do with the color of their feathers, just their skin.
The color of the eggs is due to the presence of the pigment protoporphyrin IX, which is a byproduct of hemoglobin.
This pigment is deposited on the outside of the egg as it moves through the oviduct. Think of it as a spray tan for eggs.
Why Are Brown Eggs Better Than White Eggs?
No, there is no difference in taste, nutritional value, or quality between brown and white eggs.
The only difference is the color of the shell, which is determined by the breed of the hen that laid the egg, as I just mentioned.
Are Brown Eggs Better Quality?
There is no evidence that brown eggs are better quality than white. The color of an egg is not an indicator of its nutritional value or quality.
Both are equally healthy and nutritious foods (see more under ‘which eggs are healthiest’.
They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Eggs can be eaten cooked or raw (for the adventurous), and they can be used in a variety of dishes.
Why Do Brown Eggs Taste Different Than White Eggs?
Think of this as the placebo effect. You’ve been told and sold, for many years, that brown eggs are better to justify the increased costs.
There is no difference in taste between colored and white eggs. The taste of eggs is determined by the diet of the hen that laid them, the freshness of the egg, and the cooking method.
Are Brown Eggs More Expensive?
Unfortunately, they are typically more expensive than white eggs.
Why? Genius marketing.
Another factor that may play a role in costs increase is production.
Some of the best breeds for high egg production happen to lay white eggs. While brown egg-layers tend to lay less eggs per year.
Thus making it more of a supply and demand issue with the price increase.
However, the price difference has no reflection on the quality or taste.
Why Are My Brown Eggs Turning White?
In the world of conspiracy theorists, there was a ‘theory’ that the large food manufactures were spray painting the eggs brown.
This theory evolved because of the lack of education on why eggs are different colors.
They experienced the color coming off their eggs when they boiled them in water and vinegar and BAM!
Conspiracy theory was born that they were spray painting our eggs to make them brown.
The truth is, because the pigment is added to the egg during the passing through the oviduct, the brown color ‘can’ come off.
The brown color of an egg can be washed off by soaking it in vinegar. Vinegar is an acid that dissolves the pigment that gives eggs their color. The longer you soak the egg in vinegar, the lighter the color will become.
Some people use vinegar to lighten the color before dyeing them for Easter (see below).
If you soak an egg in vinegar for too long, the shell will become thin and fragile. It is important to remove the egg from the vinegar as soon as the desired color is reached.
Can Brown Eggs Be Dyed?
Yes, all eggs can be dyed. In fact, they can be dyed just as well as white eggs. The only difference is that you may need to use a little more dye to get the desired color.
There are a few different ways to dye eggs. One way is to use store-bought egg dye. Another way is to use natural dyes, such as beet juice, turmeric, or onion skins.
If you’re using store-bought egg dye, simply follow the instructions on the package.
If you’re using natural dyes, you’ll need to experiment a bit to find the right amount of dye, and the right amount of time to soak the eggs.
Once your eggs are dyed, you can decorate them with stickers, markers, or whatever else you like. And then, of course, you can eat them!
What Chickens Lay Brown Eggs?
There are many breeds of chickens that lay brown eggs. Some of the most popular breeds include:
- Rhode Island Red
- Black Australorp
- Barred Plymouth Rock
- Buff Orpington
- New Hampshire Red
They are also relatively easy to care for, making them a good choice for backyard chicken keepers.
In addition to these breeds, there are also many crossbred chickens that lay brown eggs.
These crosses can be made between any two breeds of chickens that lay brown eggs.
The color of the eggs that are produced will depend on the specific breeds of chickens that are used in the cross.
Brown Eggs vs White Eggs
Not to be redundant, but brown and white eggs are the same in terms of nutritional value and taste. The only difference between them is the color of the shell, and what the chicken was fed.
As I mentioned earlier, the shell color is determined by the breed of the hen. White-feathered hens lay white eggs, while brown-feathered hens lay brown eggs.
There is no evidence that one is healthier than the other.
In fact, the nutritional value of eggs is largely determined by the diet of the hen (see below).
Hens that are fed a healthy diet will lay eggs that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
So, if you’re looking for the healthiest egg, focus on the diet of the hen that laid it, not the color of the shell.
Which Eggs Are The Healthiest?
The healthiest eggs are pasture-raised eggs. Pasture-raised eggs come from hens that are allowed to roam freely and eat a natural diet.
They are higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol than eggs from hens that are raised in cages.
Here are some of the health benefits of pasture-raised eggs:
- They are higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.
- They are lower in cholesterol, which can help lower your risk of heart disease.
- They are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
- They are a versatile food that can be eaten cooked or raw.
If you are looking for the healthiest eggs, look for pasture-raised eggs at your local grocery store.
The 411 On Why Eggs Are Brown
So there you have it. You’re now equipped with the knowledge about why eggs are different colors.
Not only does this knowledge apply to brown eggs, but to green, blue, and all of the other beautiful colored eggs.
As a farmsteader (homesteader/farmer), it has become a hobby to raise chickens that produce a variety of egg colors simply for the aesthetics.
It’s even more fun to hatch out a bunch of different colored eggs in the incubator and see what surprises you get!