How to know your eggs are fresh…
…and does eggshell color really matter?
It’s your most burning question. You open a carton of eggs to make breakfast. But do you know if those eggs are good enough for your family? How fresh are they? How healthy were the chickens who laid them? How far did they have to travel to get to your plate? Should you have bought the more expensive brown eggs over the white ones? Does egg color really matter?
Who’d have thought that making breakfast would be so hard?
Well, we have the answers!
And we’re going to make your breakfast making a lot easier.
Does color matter?
Have you ever wondered why some eggs are white, some are brown and some even come in shades of green and blue?
The color of the eggshell is determined by the breed of the chicken. You can often tell the color of the shell by the color of a chicken’s ears. Did you know that chickens had ears? The ears of chickens are covered by a small tuft of feather. Dark feathers equal dark eggs. White feathers, white eggs.
There was a campaign many years ago about brown eggs being fresher eggs. The truth is we have both brown and white egg laying chickens (and many shades in between) on our farm. Chickens who lay brown eggs tend to be heavier breeds that tolerate winters better making them a heartier breed for the cold Northeast winters. But the color of the egg in no way determines its freshness.
So, why do brown eggs cost more than white eggs? The bigger breeds of chickens that can handle the cold weather also eat more. Farmers need to recoup the cost of the feed (which has risen astronomically over the last few years, by the way) in order to continue to make selling eggs profitable.
How old are my eggs?
If you have eggs that have been sitting in your fridge and you are not sure if they are still good, you can float them.
Place the eggs in a bowl of ordinary tap water. If the egg sits at the bottom of the bowl, it’s good. If it floats, throw it out.
Why do my locally bought farm eggs look different than store bought eggs?
Have you ever cracked open an egg and found the “white” of the egg to be cloudy? If so, then you know you have some pretty darn fresh eggs. Cloudy whites are a sign of extremely fresh eggs.
Does a red spot in a yolk mean the egg is bad? Not at all. Typically, small red spots in yolks are due to a broken blood vessel when the chicken was laying the egg. It’s quite common and causes no issue with the taste or freshness of the egg.
Is there a connection between the color of the egg yolk and the nutrition of the egg?
Pasture raised, free-range chickens will eat a more diverse and nutrient dense diet that contains certain antioxidant carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene. This makes the egg yolks more orange. Chickens fed only a grain diet will have pale yellow yolks. Studies have indicated that the same healthy diet that produces richer-colored yolks results in eggs with higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3s and less cholesterol.
Oh…and one more bonus about eating eggs…they contain Vitamin D. In fact, eggs are one of the handful of foods that contain an edible source of this important vitamin.
So, there you have it. The facts about eggs. When shopping for your eggs, ask your local farmer if their chickens free-range and how much of their food comes from eating bugs, seeds, etc. Better yet, visit your local farm and see for yourself. There is a bit of comfort that comes from seeing where your food comes from. We want to ensure that when you buy our eggs, you do so with the knowledge that they come from healthy happy hens.