Egg Facts

Yes! According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), eggs are a nutrient-dense food, meaning they provide many nutrients for their amount of calories. 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.

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 earlobes lay white eggs while hens with red feathers and red earlobes lay brown 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.

EggsRefrigerator (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 whitesUp to 4 days
Raw egg yolksUp to 2 days
Hard-cooked eggs (in shell)Up to 1 week
Hard-cooked eggs (peeled)Use the same day for best quality

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 safely be eaten 2-3 weeks beyond either date.

No. According to the USDA, it is not necessary or recommended to wash your eggs because of the increased risk of introducing microbes into the egg. In the United States, egg producers are required to sanitize their eggs before making them available. When the egg producer washes their eggs, they dissolve the protective layer around the egg, called the cuticle. The egg is clean after the washing process, but with the cuticle gone, microbes and bacteria can enter the egg more easily. It is best to keep the eggs in their carton and refrigerated to prevent bacteria from getting into the egg.

In fresh eggs, the albumen (egg white) tends to stick to the inner shell membrane due to the less acidic environment of the egg. As eggs age, however, the eggshell's protective coat starts to become porous and absorbs more air. With more air inside the egg, it releases some of its carbon dioxide. The oxidation in the egg makes the albumen more acidic, causing it to stick to the inner membrane less. The egg white also shrinks slightly as it becomes less fresh, so the air space between fresh eggs is smaller than it is between staler eggs.

No! Most of the eggs’ nutrients and nearly half its the protein (just over 40%) is found in the yolk.

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.

No. Yolk color is based only on the hen’s diet. It does not determine the nutritional value. A deeper yellow or orange yolk comes from eating feed high in marigold extract or outdoor plants.

Yep! Blood spots indicate a rupture in the tiny blood vessels in the egg. It is not harmful and the egg is still edible.

No, a hen will lay eggs whether there is a rooster present or not. If you want chicks, however, you’ll need a rooster to fertilize the eggs.

A hen requires about 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg. Most eggs are laid between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.