- REGULAR EGGS: These chickens are raised tightly together in cages stacked to the ceiling for the duration of their lives. Their wings are clipped and they are debeaked to prevent pecking in such cramped conditions. Don’t support these practices by buying these eggs. (See photo of my debeaked hen, Donette, below. Her upper beak was cut off when she was a tiny chick and now she has trouble picking up food because she has been deprived of her most important tool. She is learning though and now she can RUN 🙂
- CAGE FREE: This only means that the chickens were not in cases. They can still be confined in very close quarters inside a building where they are standing in their own muck and can barely move. They have little or no access to the outdoors.
- FREE RANGE: According to the USDA regulation, “free range” only means that the chickens were allowed “access” to the outside with no specifications as the quality or the duration of that outside exposure. So unfortunately, this term is mostly used where the chickens are crammed in large warehouses that has a small door on one end that opens to a few feet of outside dirt space. Most of the chickens never even know that door exists and couldn’t get there even if they wanted to.
- PASTURE RAISED: Although it does not have any current regulations, it is being used by sustainable farmers to mean chickens raised in the outdoors..in the pasture. Pastured raised eggs are what we think they are. This is what you want to buy if you are shopping for eggs.
For those of you who are less concerned with animal welfare and more interested in nutrition, here is a photo of eggs from my hens who spend all day outside along with the paler yellow eggs from my newer hens who were just starting to eat ‘real’ food. The darker yolks, not only have more flavor, they have a lot higher nutritional value. Regular store bought eggs will be even paler by comparison.
My chickens have their own Facebook Page if you want to follow them. They LOVE getting LIKES! I named their page in honor of my Mom, Mrs V’s Rescue Chickens (just copy and paste into URL).
So, lets get back to making devilled eggs. I have provided a recipe for traditional devilled eggs, followed by a spicy Southwestern version and one with smoked salmon, lemon and capers. Choose one or make them all!
TIPS: Devilled eggs are usually made by slicing the eggs in half the long way but I have a tray that keeps them perched straight up when I cut them in half. I think they look cute, so feel free to break with the norm. You can spoon the filling back into the eggs, or if you want to get fancy, pipe it in. If you don’t have a piping tool, you can put the filling in a small plastic baggie and cut one of the corners off for a homemade tool. Just squeeze gently into whatever pattern or design you prefer.