Have you ever considered how fresh eggs are in the supermarket? We are told that eggs have a shelf life of 5 to 6 weeks – mine never last that long, so I can’t confirm or deny this fact. So, how old are eggs when they land in the supermarket?
I’ve tried to do some research on your behalf but have in fact run into a blank wall for details on Irish eggs.
From what I can gather in the UK, US and Canada eggs can be defined as ‘fresh’ when arriving in supermarkets 10 days after being laid. I am told that if you count back 28 days from the Best Before date it will give you an indication of when the egg was laid.
I remember watching a documentary on TV many years ago about egg producers in Ireland. Did you know they don’t necessarily ‘grow’ all the eggs themselves? They have a number of smaller producers who grow the eggs. The big companies send out their trucks a couple of times a week to collect eggs from growers. The eggs are brought back to base, graded and probably stamped and then shipped out to the supermarket. This, of course, all takes time.
And the whole reason for this research is that I recently had some comments from customers.
Why are eggs ‘cloudy’?
Well, folks, the reason eggs are ‘cloudy’ is because they are so fresh.
The white, or albumen, of a very fresh egg contains dissolved carbon dioxide, which makes it look ‘cloudy’. As the egg ages, the carbon dioxide escapes, so that the white becomes more transparent. This does not mean that there is a problem with transparent white, it is just not as fresh as ‘cloudy’ white.
I am guessing here, but I imagine that carbon dioxide in the white is why truly fresh eggs are so easy to poach and keep their shape without any fussing about with swirls and vinegar etc.
What causes ‘blood’ spots in eggs?
Again this is a sign of the freshness of the egg. Regular readers will know that I have been known to follow hens about to keep a supply of eggs at the Honesty Table!
Blood spots occur when blood or a bit of tissue is released along with a yolk. As an egg ages, the blood spot becomes paler, so a bright blood spot is a sign that the egg is fresh.
Eggs are bad for those with cholesterol?
This has now been proven to be a fallacy! Eggs are one of the super foods – just generally really good for you. Check out Joanna Blythman in yesterday’s Guardian – Why almost everything you’ve been told about unhealthy foods is wrong
“It wasn’t so long ago that we were spoon-fed the unimpeachable “fact” that we should eat no more than two eggs a week because they contained heart-stopping cholesterol, but that gem of nutritional wisdom had to be quietly erased from history when research showing that cholesterol in eggs had almost no effect on blood cholesterol became too glaringly obvious to ignore.“
Or this article from 3 years ago by Alex Renton – Just how Fresh is Fresh – I find this totally scary!
Those who have visited us here at Oldfarm will know that I have a kind of ‘filing’ system for my eggs, and that I pencil the date they were laid on the shell. It leaves my customers in no doubt as to how fresh our eggs are.
I wonder why major egg producers don’t just stamp eggs this way too? It would surely make life much easier for the consumer.