Eggs have been a staple of our diets throughout human history, and it's hardly surprising considering their fantastic nutritional profile. So World Egg Day, the annual global celebration of the egg on 14th October, is a brilliant opportunity to show your appreciation for this superfood.
The humble egg is often taken for granted, despite the fact that in 2015 we consumed 12.2 billion eggs – that's 33 million eggs per day, or 189 per person over the year. An excellent source of high-quality protein as well as numerous essential vitamins, eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition in 100% biodegradable packaging.
But not all eggs are created equal – which is why we at Local Food Britain always advocate buying local, free-range eggs to ensure freshness and welfare of the laying hens. And don't forget that it's not just hens who lay delicious eggs: ducks, geese, quails, pheasants and even ostriches and emus all produce eggs suitable for eating.
How do you like your eggs?
We Brits love an egg for breakfast, so much so that in the 1950s, the British Egg Marketing Board produced a series of TV adverts encouraging viewers to 'go to work on an egg'. Boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, or coating a thick slice of French toast, everyone has their favourite eggy breakfast.
But eggs are a great storecupboard standby to create a meal at any time of the day. From hard-boiled eggs chopped into a salad for lunch to a quick omelette supper or Italian-style frittata for dinner, eggs are a versatile ingredient that can play both the hero and the sidekick.
And of course, eggs are a vital ingredient in many cakes and desserts as well as savoury dishes. Some of our favourite desserts elevate a simple egg to a whole new gourmet status – just look at a spectacular pavlova, magnificent soufflé or classic zabaglione.
In the UK, more than 10 billion eggs are produced every single year – but we still import more than 2 billion eggs annually. The time it takes to transport eggs from overseas to the UK will have an impact on their freshness, and although there's no suggestion that older eggs are less nutritious, they are definitely not as tasty.
But with a little knowledge, it's not hard to find truly fresh, high-welfare eggs produced near to you. Many farms and smallholdings sell fresh eggs from the gate, and your local farm shop will often source its eggs from its neighbours. Here's a selection of our members that produce eggs on their own farms:
Simon's Free Range Eggs, Horley
Glebe House, Godstone
Shabden Park Farm, Chipstead
Nanny Sue's Best Eggs, Findon
But don't worry if you can't reach any of these producers - search here to find your nearest retailer of locally-laid eggs.
Then try some of our delicious egg recipes!
World Egg Day