What time of day does a hen lay an egg? Should I wash my eggs? Our egg’sperts have the answers to these questions and more below!
Are eggs good for my health?
— Yes! Eggs are a nutrient-dense food (aka eggs provide a nutrient bang for your calorie buck) according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). The DGAs also include eggs within all recommended healthy eating patterns. One large egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals all for only 70 calories.
What is the difference between brown and white eggs?
— The color of the egg shell or yolk has nothing to do with the egg’s nutritional value, quality or flavor. Hens with white feathers and white ear lobes lay white eggs; hens with red feathers and red ear lobes lay brown eggs.
What do dates on egg cartons mean?
— Dates on egg cartons and all other food packaging reflect food quality, not food safety. A “Sell By” or “Expiration Date” ensures eggs aren’t kept on shelves past a certain date. However, eggs can be safely eaten 2-3 weeks beyond the expiration date or sell by date.
Should I wash my eggs?
— No, even according to the USDA, it is not necessary to wash your eggs because of the increased risk of introducing microbes into the egg. The washing water/solution can be pulled into the egg through the shell’s pores. As the hen lays the eggs, they coat them in a protective coating called a bloom. This bloom essentially seals the egg helping to keep moisture in and germs out. All eggs that are processed in the store are mandated to be washed by the FDA but they have strict regulations and guidelines for washing.
Why are fresher eggs harder to peel?
— In fresh eggs, the albumen (egg white) tends to stick to the inner shell membrane due to the less acidic environment of the egg.
After the eggshell’s protective coat slowly wears off, the egg becomes porous, absorbs more air, and releases some of its carbon dioxide. This makes the albumen more acidic, causing it to stick to the inner membrane less. The egg white also shrinks slightly, so the air space between the eggshell and the membrane grows larger, resulting in boiled eggs that are easier to peel.
Should I toss the yolk?
— No! Most of the eggs’ nutrients and nearly half of the protein (just over 40%) is found in the yolk.
What is the white string-like substance in my egg?
— These are called chalazae. Chalazae are ropey strands of egg white which anchor the yolk in place in the center of the thick white. Chalazae are neither imperfections nor beginning embryos. The more prominent the chalazae, the fresher the egg. Chalazae don’t interfere with the cooking or beating of the white and you don’t need to remove them, although some cooks like to strain them from stirred custard.
My egg has a blood spot. Is it still safe to eat?
— Yes! Blood spots simply indicate rupture in tiny blood vessels in the egg. This can be seen in younger or older hens. It is not harmful, and the egg is still edible.
Do I need a rooster for a hen to lay eggs?
— No, a hen will lay eggs whether there is a rooster present or not. But, if you want chicks, you’ll need a rooster to fertilize the eggs.
How long does it take for a hen to lay an egg?
— A hen requires about 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg. Most eggs are laid between 7a.m. and 11 a.m.
How long can I store eggs?
— Refrigerate eggs at 40°F or less. Store them in their original carton on an inside shelf. The carton keeps the eggs from picking up odors or flavors from other foods and helps prevent moisture loss. Reference this handy chart for more egg storage tips.
|Eggs||Refrigerator (35°F to 40°F)|
|Raw whole eggs (in shell)||4 to 5 weeks beyond the pack date or about 3 weeks after purchase|
|Raw whole eggs (slightly beaten)||Up to 2 days|
|Raw egg whites||Up to 4 days|
|Raw egg yolks||Up to 2 days|
|Hard-cooked eggs (in shell)||Up to 1 week|
|Hard-cooked eggs (peeled)||Use the same day for best quality|
Looking to expand your egg knowledge even more? Check out these great resources:
American Egg Board: www.AEB.org
Egg Nutrition Center: www.eggnutritioncenter.org
Incredible Egg: www.incredibleegg.org