Pullet Eggs: a Chef’s secret weapon

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Pullet eggs? What are those?!? 

If you've been to a farmer's market during the spring, you might have noticed your egg farmer selling 'pullet' or mini/small eggs. There’s a reason for this, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the eggs.

By now, you’re hopefully eating pasture-raised eggs for their superior taste and quality. Since hens are outside eating green grass, seeds, and bugs, their eggs reflect this variety of nutrients. The yolk is a bright yellow, the whites are ‘stiffer,’ and there is a creamy consistency when cooked. You’re able to tell the difference between a pasture-raised and a store-bought, bland tasting egg and there’s no going back.

Pullet eggs are even better! These are are the first few eggs a new hen will lay, and because of their small size, the ratio between yolk and white is increased, making the yolk increase the flavor of your meal. Pullet eggs, or farmer’s eggs, are prized by chefs because of the creamy taste when cooked. Also, pullet eggs hold together better, making it easier to cook the perfect ‘over easy’ egg.

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Unfortunately, these little powerhouse eggs don’t last long! The age of the hen determines the size of the egg, so the older she gets, the bigger the egg. Depending on the breed, most hens only lay small, or pullet, eggs for about four weeks.

There are approximately 55 million egg-laying chickens hatched every month, so where do all the pullet eggs go? Large producers either throw eggs away that are too small or ship them out to powdered egg factories since it’s more labor intensive to sort, package, and then market the smaller eggs.

The main reason you can’t find these ‘avian caviar’ eggs in the store is due to consumer demand for large and extra large eggs. Think about this – recipes only call for large eggs, and most people want to get the most ‘bang for their buck’, so they reach for the largest egg out there.

Pullet eggs can be used in recipes though! A good rule of thumb is to add 1 additional pullet egg for up to 4 eggs called for in the recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 eggs, add 3 pullet eggs and if the recipe calls for 5 eggs, add 7 pullet eggs.

So, the next time you see pullet eggs for sale, make sure you snatch them up before the chefs beat you to it!