Forget about what you’ve been told about what egg grades mean – unless you know what we’re about to tell you…
The grade of an egg depends on the amount of air in the interior cell of the egg, as well as the density of the albumen and yolk. The smaller the air cell, the rounder the yolk, the firmer the white – the more fresh the egg – the more fresh the egg, the higher grade of “quality”.
Now you’re asking – “So, why are those “cage-free” factory farmed eggs AA, while your pasture-raised eggs are only A? Aren’t your eggs better quality?”
Why, yes they are.
Commercially factory farmed eggs usually have a very small air cell by the time the eggs reach the processing center, because the barn that the chickens lay in is typically on the same property as the processing center.
The air cell is small because the eggs were just laid (then taken next door), so the grade AA is granted to the eggs (even if the quality nutrition isn’t present). In this case, the word “quality” would better be described as “freshness”.
Smaller producers end up with grade A eggs because it takes a bit longer for the eggs to go from farm, hand-held collection, packaging and then being sent to the processing center. The extra days that it takes in our small family farm system allows more air to gather in the cell (from the few days it takes for transport), thus making the grade lower.
As for grade B eggs, those can have abnormal shells and there is no limit for the size of an air cell.
So, you see, grade has nothing to do with the nutrition of the egg, rather the amount of time it took to process those eggs. Good things come to those who wait!
I’d take a few extra days of processing for supremely superior eggs, any day. Let’s just call our eggs A+ and skip all of the confusion.