The only difference between a brown and white egg is the color of the shell. Despite what you may have heard, one isn't healthier, more "natural," or more eco-friendly than the other. And there aren't any differences in nutritional quality, flavor, or cooking characteristics.
The color of the shell is merely a reflection of the breed of the hen. In general, but not always, hens with white feathers and earlobes lay white eggs and those with dark feathers and red earlobes lay brown eggs.
It may be surprising to learn that not all eggs are brown or white. For example, some rare chicken breeds, such as the Araucana and Ameraucana, lay blue and blue-green eggs.
There's one difference between brown and white eggs that you may notice at the grocery store. Chicken breeds that produce brown eggs, such as the Rhode Island Red, are larger and cost more to feed than hens that produce white eggs. So brown eggs may be a little more expensive than white, according to the Egg Nutrition Center.
You can get a better idea of how nutritious and fresh an egg is after you crack it open. You'll see more white ropey strands (called chalazae) in fresher eggs, which will also have well-formed round yolks surrounded by thick whites. The color of the yolk depends on the hen's diet, according to the Egg Nutrition Center. If feed contains wheat or barley, yolks will be lighter colored. Yellow corn or alfalfa produces medium yellow yolks.
Environmental journalist Lori Bongiorno shares green-living tips and product reviews with Yahoo! Green's users. Send Lori a question or suggestion for potential use in a future column. Her book, Green Greener Greenest: A Practical Guide to Making Eco-smart Choices a Part of Your Life is available on Yahoo! Shopping and Amazon.com.