With Easter nearly upon us, we’re doubling down on the egg recipes, buying up all the egg-shaped candies, and deciding on which egg-dyeing technique most speaks to us this year. If you’re an egg-decorating minimalist, it might delight you to know that nature has already created some beautiful, naturally blue eggs. Some of you may even know of these eggs first-hand, if you raise chickens yourself or have seen them at a farmers’ market. We’re talking about the eggs from Araucana chickens!
This breed of chicken originated in Chile, resulting from a cross between a “Quetro,” a tailed (as in, has a tail, like most chickens you’ve seen) and tufted (as in, has ear tufts) layer of brown eggs, and a “Collonca,” a rumpless (tail-less) layer of blue eggs.
The resulting “Collonca de Arêtes,” or “Collonca of Earrings,” was a tufted, rumpless chicken that laid blue eggs, and eventually became the officially-designated Araucana breed in 1976.
Sharing the same ancestors as the Araucana, the Ameraucana started out as a type of bearded (meaning feathered below the beak), muffed (think mutton chops feathers), and tailed layer of blue eggs. Related to, but officially excluded from, the Araucana breed class because chicken experts said so (where would we be without rules?), these chickens eventually got their own breed classification in 1980. Both chickens consistently lay bright blue eggs, but differ in those main features: the tailless Araucana is shaped like a pear with tufts on top, and the Ameraucana looks more like a typical chicken but with a feather beard in the style of Abe Lincoln.
The hue of these blue eggs might throw you for a loop, and in fact Araucana eggs have been featured on several episodes of “Chopped” in an attempt to perplex contestants. You might be surprised to find out, however, that blue eggs do not taste any different than white or brown eggs! The old “Chopped” double-bluff! The interiors of blue eggs look and taste the same as their more common grocery store counterparts (despite what some people say to the contrary), so if you come across these eggs, feel free to prepare them as you would any other eggs. Since they’re so pretty, though, you might opt for classic boiling methods to keep that blue shell on display until it’s time to eat.
This Easter, if you’re lucky enough to have access to Araucana or Ameraucana eggs, nature has already done most of the heavy-lifting for you! Hard-boil and place in some natural-colored nesting for a simple and elegant basket, or experiment with dye to see how the blue interacts with cool shades like purple and green. And if you just can’t bring yourself to keep it classy, even with eggs like these, add some stickers, Sharpie doodles, or even googly eyes to maintain your traditional yearly output of kitschy Easter eggs (you have a reputation to maintain!). But do so knowing a bit more about where such brilliantly blue eggs come from!
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Now brush up on the differences between cage free, free range, and pasture raised eggs, find out how long eggs last, and get some egg drink recipes to mix things up. If you’d still rather eat them, though, try some international egg recipes.
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.