Eggs Is eggs Is Eggs Right?

fresh egg test

The egg in the foreground has sunk to the bottom of the jar and lies horizontal which shows that it is very fresh.
On the other hand, the one in the second jar has floated to the top and is in a vertical position. This egg would not fry or poach very well and may even be bad!

Wrong!  All eggs may look the same apart that is for a little variation in colour, but there is a huge difference in taste and how they perform when cooked.  A really fresh egg is a totally different product from that which is three weeks down the line so here’s how you tell how old your eggs are.

It’s all to do with the air cavity which is in the widest part of the egg.  A newly laid egg will have a very tiny pocket, but this gradually gets bigger as the days pass and it fills with air.  There is also moisture evaporation which causes some drying out and will be reflected in how you see the white.

It’s really very simple to test how fresh your egg is so you don’t need to suffer the selective information pasted on the side of shop bought egg boxes!

Just get a glass of cold water and drop your egg in, (carefully!) and observe!

Very freshsinks and remains horizontal

Tilts up slightlyegg is up to a week old

Floats in a vertical positionegg is stale

Now you might think, so what! Eggs are useable up to two or even three weeks at a stretch so why worry about freshness as long as you know they are not really stale or rotten.

My advice is to take the taste test and find out for yourself!  A really fresh egg is a delight to fry or poach as it has a nice compact, double ringed white with the yellow part placed firmly on the top.

The older the egg, the more the white spreads out until it looks like a very thin pancake and at this stage it is very difficult to poach.

poached egg, salmon and bagel

Poached egg with a semi-firm yolk served with smoked salmon and bagel. The white is nicely compact which shows the egg is very fresh!

Talking of poaching, it’s just about lunch time so here’s what I’m having, a well poached egg and smoked salmon on a bagel.  Notice how compact the white part is, that’s because I collected the egg this morning!


About SueK

Author, freelance writer and small scale farmer.
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