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Are Fresh Eggs Really Better?

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Are fresh eggs really better? Yes they are and I'll show you why.

Lately I've been focusing a lot on store bought eggs and how old they potentially can be by the time you purchase them (45 days old or more, yes really!).

And some people have argued that an egg will still be good to eat for months, well past the 'best by' or 'sell until' date on the egg carton.

While it's true that an egg, correctly handled and stored, will last for up to 6 months, and still be perfectly safe to eat - will it actually be "good"?

I don't believe so.

Here's why fresh really IS best.

Two week old store bought egg on top, two day old egg from my coop on the bottom.

For the purposes of this article, I borrowed a dozen store bought eggs from our neighbor.

According to the  date on the carton, they were at least two weeks old (not bad for store bought actually!), plus however long it took for them to be laid and then ultimately be put into the carton.

The fresh egg used for comparison is from one of my chickens and was two days old.

Fresh from the coop on the left, from the store on the right.
Visual Test

The White (or Albumen)

The white of a fresh egg will be slightly cloudy, very thick and viscous, with a slightly yellow tint.

The yellow color is caused by riboflavin (Vitamin B2) which plays many roles in the body and is important for optimal body growth, red cell production and turning the food we eat into energy for the body to burn.

Riboflavin serves as an anti-oxidant and helps build body tissue, promotes good vision and ensure the various systems in the body are working properly.

As an egg ages, moisture and carbon dioxide are lost through the pores in the shell.

The white becomes clear and gets runny, spreading out in a frying pan instead of staying in one place.

The fresh egg white is cloudy and very thick, while the two week old white is already extremely runny.

The Yolk

The yolk of a fresh egg will be compact and stand up high.

The yolks of fresh eggs don't often break when you crack them into a pan.

As an egg ages, the yolk sort of deflates and flattens out, will break more easily, and even begin to dry out in a very old egg that has lost enough moisture.

The color of the yolk is not determined by the freshness of the egg, but by the diet of the hen.

A diet high in commercial feed, wheat and barley will result in pale yolks, while a varied diet high in corn, alfalfa, marigolds, leafy greens, grasses and weeds high in xanthophylls will result in a vibrant orange egg yolk.

Many commercial farms add marigold and other natural additives to their layer feed to produce orange egg yolks.
Any guesses which is the store bought egg? Hint: check at one o'clock, the rest are from my coop.

Taste Test

You really can't mistake the taste of a fresh egg, I don't think, although science says differently.

Or a fresh tomato, or a fresh piece of bread.

Taste most certainly deteriorates as an egg ages.

Also, an egg laid by a chicken who eats a varied diet and has access to grasses, seeds, weeds, herbs, bugs and kitchen or table scraps will lay a better-tasting egg than one laid by a chicken on a 100% commercial feed diet, in my opinion.

Nutrient Test

A study done by Mother Earth News magazine back in 2007 showed that eggs from chickens allowed access to the outdoors to roam and nibble grass, gobble bugs and enjoy some sunshine are more nutritious than eggs from caged hens.

On average, they contain a third less cholesterol, one quarter less saturated fat, two-thirds more vitamin A, two times more omega-3 fatty acids, three times more vitamin E and seven times more beta carotene. 

While that's solid evidence that raising your own chickens (or at least buying from a local farmer) is best, there is no apparent deterioration in the nutritional value as an egg ages.

So whether that carton of eggs you bought at the grocery store is a week old or six weeks old by the time you buy it probably has no impact on the nutrition you will get out of it.

My fresh eggs cooking in the pan.

So Fresh Eggs ARE Better?

The ONE benefit of old eggs that keeps coming up in the online dialogues about this topic is that they peel more easily when you hard boil them.

That's because air has gotten in through the pores in the eggshell and the membrane has started to move away from the shell, but there's a simple solution to that.

There's no need to buy old eggs, or let them sit and get old. Just steam them.  Eggs will peel perfectly every time - even if they were laid that day.

So yes, fresh eggs really are better. For lots of reasons.

If you missed the first article in this series, be sure to catch it...

Read more about how to crack the "code" the egg industry doesn't want YOU to know, read HERE.

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