Do you know the difference in your eggs?
Do you know what the difference in shell color means or how to store fresh eggs in your home?
Knowing the difference in the eggs you buy can be confusing.
First off, there is no difference in the nutritional value of the egg as it appears on the outside. Egg shells can be brown, white, blue, olive green, even pink. Some unscrupulous people at farmer’s markets will sell the different colored eggs at a higher price, claiming them to have less cholesterol, or higher nutritional value, but this is not true.
What color shell the egg has is solely dependent on the chicken breed.
If the chicken has red earlobes,the eggs will be brown. If they are white, the eggs will be white. Easer Egger and Olive Egger chickens may have red earlobes, but their eggs range in color from light green to a deep olive color. Egyptian Fayoumis have brown earlobes, but their eggs are almost a light pink. Amerucana chickens lay eggs with a blue shell. Copper Marans have a shell that is nearly chocolatey brown in color.
The yolk itself can be a light yellow, to a deep orangey color.
This will depend on the amount of sunshine the bird is getting, the quality of feed, and amount of bugs/worms/grubs a hen is getting at. A free ranging bird in the summer time will usually yield deep orangey color yolks, and a penned up bird in the winter will usually yield a lighter yellow yolk.
Getting fresh eggs daily can be easy, or it can be a lot of work.
You will need to keep the nesting boxes clean, and train the birds to not sleep in there. They can easily fill a box with droppings in a couple of nights, and the eggs will be covered with them. What we did was take a big piece of cardboard and cover the boxes at night when the chickens were going to roost. After an hour or so, we would take the cardboard down so that the boxes were available to them in the morning. Eggs came out much cleaner for us, and we didn’t need to wash them nearly so often.
When a chicken lays an egg, there is a coating that dries quickly on there that seals and protects the egg from bacteria entering.
This is called the “bloom”. When you wash the egg, you can remove that coating, leaving it open for bacteria to enter, which is why people refrigerate their eggs. Actually, eggs can last up to 9 months in the fridge, and 2 weeks on the counter. (personally, I have never had an egg last that long in my house) Yes, you “can” store them on the counter, but they age every day at the same rate eggs age in the fridge every week. If you are going to store them on the counter, I would suggest not washing them until just ready to use.
You can also freeze your eggs for longer term storage. Just crack the eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt for every dozen, whip gently to mix and pour into an ice mold. When frozen, remove from ice tray and place in a container. The freezer eggs will be good for baking up to a year.
Another way to long term store your eggs is by coating them with mineral oil to mimic the bloom.
Place a couple drops in your hands, and rub gently all over the egg. Place in a cool, dry, dark place for up to three months. We have also dehydrated our eggs for pantry and long term storage.
If you don’t know if an egg is still good to eat, place it in a bowl of cold water to submerge the egg.
If it rests on the bottom, it’s fresh. If it tilts slightly, it’s still good but you may want to use it only for baking or cooking thoroughly. If it floats, it’s not good and should be composted.