I have had eggs on my mind these past few days. With our older hens in full swing and giving us an average of 4 eggs per day I have a basket full of eggs at all times. Over the winter when the eggs were far and few between we craved our good eggs.Now not so much,we have had plenty of egg breakfasts and dinners. I can now start baking some of the goodies we like that call for many eggs.Over the weekend I made Challah Bread for Memorial Day and in the memory of Chance's Grandparents. Challah uses 5 eggs to give it a nice flake and tender loaf.
It was a good thing I was baking Memorial Day,just as I was putting the bread into bake we were invited to a last minute neighborhood BBQ. We brought one loaf of the Challah,a jar of home canned pickles and apple butter.(Both of which I will be doing again this summer so I will be posting about these again) Having easy to bring food is a great perk to putting up your own canned goods and being able to cook too.
While at the BBQ we had a talk about about chickens,while watching the neighbors brood, and egg safety. Out of the 4 families there 3 have chickens and we have all had our girls hide a clutch of eggs in some strange spot.The question came up how do you know how long the eggs have been there and are they safe to eat.Last summer we found a nest of at least 10 eggs under our canoe,we had not noticed because we still had eggs in the coop. We opted to throw out theses eggs because of the summer heat.But how do you know?
We typically use this methoid to check for freshness.We fill the kitchen sink about half way with cool water and carefully place the egss in. There are 4 things the eggs should do:
1- Not float.This means these eggs are the freshest
2- Try to tip up on its pointed end. These eggs are about a week old and still ok.
3- Standing up on its pointed end.Getting stale and 2-3 weeks old.Use these eggs up soon. Refrigerated eggs in a carton are good for 5 weeks.
4- Floating.Very old get rid of it.
We don't use this test for every round of eggs.If you check for eggs a couple times a day and put them away you are good to go.We only do this when we are thinking that the newly found hidden clutch may be more than a day old.
Keeping your eggs fresh and safe to eat is pretty simple.Like I said collect them a couple times a day,this keeps the eggs from getting dirty or stepped upon.Also keeping the litter in the nest boxes clean keeps the eggs clean too.When an egg gets most likely poo on it gently brush the egg off. By washing an egg you interfer with the bloom of the egg.This bloom seals the many microscoptic pores of the shell,it keeps bacterias out.If an egg is covered in mess and needs scrubbing to get off the dirt off it is best to toss this egg.
Right now I don't have any problems keeping track of which eggs in the fridge are freshest.We use the "first in first out" rule for all foods here. Once I have more than 8 eggs in the carton I plan on using them up to keep things rotating.This will have to be re thought once the Wynadotts start to lay in July,then I will at some point have 8 eggs per day ( I hope).
There are lots of articles out there on the wide web about the nutrition of eggs.Store VS Home Grown.Eggs are a good source of cheap protien that point wins hands down.The issues of which eggs have more vitamins,less cholesterol is a wide ranging debate. Eggs only lack vitamin C otherwise it is ,no matter which kind,the perfect food.The amount of cholesterol is based (from what I understand) on the size of the yolk.The yolk of an egg has all of the fat and cholesterol,bigger yolk means more fat and cholesterol.Worried about those 2? Don't use the yolks.
The color of the shell has nothing to do with the eggs nutrition.None,Nada,Zip and Zilch.Don't let someone charge you extra for blue eggs because the farmer says they are better for you.The colored eggs are a pleasure to look at.I miss my rainbow colored eggs from our old flock.And how fun to give someone a carton and see the look on their face as they see all of the colors,all in one box.Almost as nice as a new box of Crayons.
I LOVE my girls,they give me so much and only ask for some basic things.I get endless hours of pleasure watching my hens and all of their antics.Each one has her own personality,never let anyone tell you chickens are dumb,they are not.Each hen is like a mini ecosystem,They eat my kitchen scraps and bugs in the yard natural recycling and no need for toxic bug sprays.When we clean out the coop we get nice compost for the yard.I give them a safe place to live with plenty of fresh water,some feed and a cosey coop, I get eggs to feed my family.Eggs from my own hens,whom I know personally, I know their diet and how fresh those eggs are. Perfection at its best. I know where my eggs come from do you?