I raise backyard chickens and collects fresh eggs from them daily. I have to say that it is almost unfair to compare store-bought eggs to the fresh eggs that my lovely hens lay. It is no secret that I much prefer the taste my own organic eggs, that my free range chickens lay, than the eggs I can buy in the store. But taste aside, let's discuss egg quality and what happens to eggs as they age.
Changes in Quality Over Time
Eggs must be stored in the refrigerator to maintain Grade A quality. Eggs kept at room temperature deteriorate as much in a day as they do in a week under refrigeration.
As an egg ages:
- The AIR CELL becomes larger
- The YOLK becomes flatter, larger and breaks more easily
- The THICK WHITE becomes thin and watery
Common Questions About Eggs
Eggs come in many different colors- everything from blue, to white to dark brown. Shell colour may vary depending upon the breed of the hen. There is no difference in nutritive value, flavour or cooking performance between the different colored eggs.
Yolk colour reflects the type of food that the hen is feed. A wheat-based diet yields a lemon yellow yolk colour. A corn or alfalfa-based diet yields a darker yellow yolk colour. Free range chickens will lay yolks that are so yellow they appear orange.
Egg White Colour
Sometimes a raw egg may have a greenish hue due to the presence of riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Sometimes the raw egg white may be cloudy. This is due to the natural presence of carbon dioxide which has not had time to escape through the shell and thus indicates a very fresh egg. In both cases, the egg is perfectly safe to eat.
Blood or "meat" spots are occasionally found on an egg yolk. These tiny red or red-brown spots are not harmful. They are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel during formation of the egg. Blood spots do not indicate that the egg is fertile! The blood spot in the egg can be removed with the tip of a clean knife prior to cooking if you prefer. An egg with a blood spot is perfectly safe to eat.
"White Ropey Things" (Chalaza)
More noticeable the fresher an egg is, the two chalaza in an egg "anchor" or keep the yolk in the centre of the egg. They are safe to eat and generally "disappear" when an egg is cooked. However, they can be removed before cooking with the tip of a fork or knife.