Eggs are a commodity that most of us store, some in refrigerators, others on room temperature. They supply all essential amino acids for humans, and provide several vitamins and minerals as significant amounts of the Daily Value, including retinol (vitamin A), riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B12, choline and phosphorus (table per 100 gram serving). Since more than half the calories found in eggs come from the fat in the yolk, there is debate over whether egg yolk presents a health risk. Some research suggests dietary cholesterol increases the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol and, therefore, adversely affects the body’s cholesterol profile, whereas other studies show that moderate consumption of eggs, up to one a day, does not appear to increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals. Either way, chicken eggs are a nutritious and tasty meal.
Careful storage of edible eggs is extremely important, as an improperly handled egg can contain elevated levels of Salmonella bacteria that can cause severe food poisoning. In the US, eggs are washed, and while this cleans the shell it also erodes the cuticle. The USDA thus recommends refrigerating eggs to prevent the growth of Salmonella. Refrigeration will also preserve the taste and texture of the egg. However, uncracked eggs can be left unrefrigerated for several months without spoiling. In Europe, eggs are usually not washed, which leaves the shells dirtier and the cuticle undamaged, so they do not require refrigeration. In the UK, for example, hens are immunized against Salmonella, so the eggs are generally safe for 21 days outside the refrigerator.
Still, whenever you buy eggs, it’s a good practice to check just how old they really are.
And for this little trick, which can save your digestive system from serious poisoning, you’ll need just a few seconds. All you need to do is fill a bowl with water, place the egg in it and watch:
Freshest of eggs
When put inside the bowl, the freshest of eggs immediately sink to the bottom and remain motionless. If that is the case, you now know that the eggs you got are no more than a few days old.
A week old eggs
If once you put the egg in the bowl it touches the bottom, but not with the entire surface (for example, one end is slightly raised), you can safely assume that the egg is approximately a week old.
Three weeks old eggs
If the egg in the water balances its midsection and easily rises from the bottom of the bowl, you have a pretty good indication that the egg is roughly three weeks old.
There you go folks, now you know your eggs and can eat with a piece of mind. If you found this article useful, don’t forget to share with your friends.