The Frugal Egg

by Susan Bauer

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Eggs are an incredibly versatile and delicious budget stretcher for any household. For approximately $2, one can purchase one dozen large eggs that can be scrambled, deviled, fried, poached, or used in batters, coatings, meringues, or glazes. In most households, eggs are used for at least one meal every day. Eggs are high in protein and low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.

An average shopper has eggs on his weekly grocery list. He decides if he wants one-half dozen or a dozen and considers four things: the condition of the carton, the condition of the eggs inside, the coloring of the outer shells of the eggs in the carton, and the price. All things checked out at Walgreens when I purchased my last carton of a dozen eggs for $1.50. Here are some facts that you may want to consider before your next egg purchase:

  • Standard eggs have the highest output because the birds receive minimum care. Therefore, production of the standard egg is the highest and the cheapest for consumers.

  • When freezing eggs, take them out of their shells, place them in small resealable freezer bags, and put in the freezer. Defrost the eggs in the refrigerator overnight.

  • Brown-shelled eggs are equally as healthy as white-shelled eggs.

  • If caged hens are fed a vegetarian diet, they lay vegetarian eggs.

  • Hens that exercise outside their cages produce "free-range" eggs.

  • A happier, healthier hen lays better quality eggs.

  • Feeding hens bright-colored chicken feed produces bright colored egg yolks.

  • Organic eggs come from hens that are fed organic grain feed with only natural ingredients.

  • Eggs can be stored in their original carton at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for up to five weeks before the onset of bacteria.

  • Grade AA eggs are slightly fresher than Grade A eggs.

  • Eggs are rich in vitamins and iron, but low in sugar and carbohydrates.

  • Egg Beaters® are the smarter, more expensive choice for consumers. They are real eggs with a delicious flavor and they are more nutritious than standard eggs, having less fat and cholesterol. In restaurants, expect to pay $.50 an egg more for Egg Beaters®.

  • In the U.S., the egg carton is stamped with the date on which the eggs were packed. For example, the "1" in 1-365 means January 1 while "365" represents December 31st.
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