Tuesday, April 5, 2011

One Bad Egg Can Rot The Whole Barrel*

After watching Food, Inc. and reading In Defense of Food, etc., Mr. F. and I upped the ante on our food choices.  We tried a bit harder to find local sources for produce, meats, etc.  There are a number of Mennonite and Amish farmers in our region who sell either at their farms or farmer's markets.  While they don't sell meat, they do sell farm eggs and occasionally butter. The eggs are nothing short of awesome.  You crack them open, and the yolk is the color of molten gold--a stark contrast to the pale butter yellow of the store bought eggs, even the organic cage-free ones.  You can tell that these chickens are out in the woods eating what chickens were designed to eat: bugs, plants, whatever they can get a hold of.  They are not fed a diet of anemic, organic feed.  The price for these magical, golden eggs is a steal--about half price of the organic, cage-free, store bought eggs.  Sounds perfect, right?

Well, there is a bit of a hitch.  Sometimes, you get a bad egg.  Not a huge deal, unless you are cracking open a number of eggs, and that one bag egg ruins the others that you have already cracked.  And while you can get bad eggs from the store, it seamed like there was more of a chance with the farm eggs.  The whole "cracking a bad egg and ruining a batch" happened enough times that we got a bit gun shy.  We started opting out of the farm eggs and instead settling for the inferior, but a bit more reliable, store eggs.

But those farm eggs.  They were a siren call.  They tasted better.  They looked better.  I knew they were better for me.  If only I cracking them open didn't have to turn into a game of Russian roulette. 

When faced with a dilemma and needing answers, I turn to my trusty friend, Google.  As luck would have it, there IS a way to tell if an egg is bad prior to cracking it open.  You place it in a container of water.  If it sinks to the bottom and lays on its side--you have a good egg.  If the egg is a floater--toss it.  It is foul and will stink.  If it bounces a little and then stands on its end--it is still good, but heading south.  This phenomenon is due to gas exchange as the eggs age. 

At first Mr. F. was skeptical of this "supposed test."  (Granted the first pages were Wikihow, etc. which he didn't deem credible.)  But soon he was persuaded.  Especially after he saw these convincing videos:


This is Mr. F's personal favorite video explaining the phenomenon:

And if the white is cloudy you ask?  It means the egg is super fresh.  This was also quite relieving as we encountered a number of those in our farm eggs and were unsure of their status.

So we are now again purchasers of farm eggs.  No longer need we fear the uncracked egg.  Because a "life lived in fear, is a life half-lived."*

*Quotes from one of the greatest movies of all time, Strictly Ballroom


Janssen said...

Now THAT is a handy trick. Just used it tonight, after reading your post this afternoon. Thanks!

Jaimee said...

As I was reading the first part of your post I was thinking, I'll have to tell Deanna the water trick! But of course you already figured it out. :)

Washington Hills said...

I never knew this! We have four chickens, and I couldn't agree more - farm eggs ROCK. And you can't describe it to people so they understand until they try them. How do you explain, "Store bought eggs taste like toothpaste compared to the dance on your happy tongue that farm eggs give you." No wonder Laura Ingalls Wilder was happy all the time, wink.


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