The eggs among the oil

Today’s blog-hopping started on, Fearless Friday, on Home-Ec101.

In the Linky, I “met” the blog Kitchen Stewardship, where I quickly got lost in links about how to use Coconut Oil. *swoon*

I have, recently, switched from EVOO, for sauteing, to Grape Seed Oil. The smoke point is higher, and I don’t have to add butter, to the EVOO, to increase the smoke point. The flavor is amazing, too. I’m really enjoying the Grape Seed Oil.

Being curious about what the smoke point of butter and EVOO, together, might be.. I came upon this handy chart, that references multiple oils smoke points. Fantastic!

But, down in the comments.. real treasure, on my own geeky kind.

On March 06, 2006 at 08:01 AM, an anonymous reader said…
Quote:
Remember when we used to crack eggs and sometimes would find alittle white thing in there along with some blood, not anymore what happened how come? eggs used to go bad in our fridge within 2 weeks, that was fun because we used to get them to have an egg war. Unfortunately not anymore, Im older now but Ive had eggs in the fridge for 3 weeks and after opening them they looked fine why is that?

This is actually all wrong. I (well actually my wife) produce eggs for the local farmer’s market. We don’t do _anything_ to our chickens, just give them food and water and shelter, and steal their children.

The eggs we sell do occasionally have blood or meat spots. Commercial eggs don’t have those because they are “candled”. This originally meant that someone literally held each egg up to a candle, looking for any weird shadows that indicated something not quite right. Modern egg production uses machinery, including a contraption that rolls eggs past some sort of optical electrosensor. This is also the main reason that white eggs are so popular in the US: they’re much easier to candle (which means the producer would rather deal with them) and the candling results are more certain (which means the consumer is happier with them).

We rarely get complaints about blood or meat spots, nor do we often find them in the eggs we eat. I believe this is because our chickens are healthy and active. Meat spots are literally bits of chicken meat — bits of the hen that broke off and got incorporated into the egg while it was being produced. Imagine something similar to the colon polyps we’re all told to watch out for. Blood spots are likewise bits of blood that leaked in during production. These things can happen as part of normal wear and tear in the bird. But imagine birds that live in 1×1 foot cages where they can barely turn around, fed high-energy feed full of hormones and god knows what else (probably not antibiotics — I think that’s actually illegal in the US, even for the big commercial operations). Birds that aren’t healthy or physically fit. I imagine these birds probably make more blood & meat spots than ours. I have no specific facts to back this up, just the observation that we seem to have very few spots in our production. Not enough to warrant the effort of candling.

The only machine we use is a compressor to bubble air into an egg bath. We “wash” our eggs in dilute baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) solution.

Our eggs are fertilized (roosters run with the hens). We label them as such: “fertilized”, not “fertile”. We refrigerate our eggs (ok, I was wrong, that’s a 2nd machine. The car we drive them to market in is as third.) Refrigerated eggs can sometimes be hatched, but they are not reliably fertile. If someone wants eggs for hatching, we make special arrangements to bring them un-refrigerated eggs. We are careful to label “fertilized” because this matters to certain subspecies of vegetarians.

Our eggs never look like embryos because bird eggs do not begin to develop until they have been held consistently warm for about 48 hours. This is a natural mechanism to prevent a nest full of eggs from hatching one by one (which results in mama hen wandering off to care for the first hatchling, and the rest of the eggs dying of cold). Mama bird lays an egg, sits on it for an hour or so, wanders off to eat, has a normal day. That night she sits on the eggs and keeps them warm all night. Repeat the next 6-10 days. Eventually there are enough eggs, she decides to seriously sit. That first egg has been sat on (brought up to body temperature) many times, possibly 10 times for 8-12 hours each time, but it has not progressed any farther in development than the last one laid. All the eggs in this nest will develop at the same rate and hatch within 12-24 hours of each other (21 days later, for chicken eggs).

Eggs do not go bad in 14 days in the fridge. Eggs don’t go bad in 14 days on the counter, even a sunny counter. Before we started selling at the market, we often ate our own eggs that had been refrigerated for five months. By then they were starting to get runny, but still perfectly edible. If your mom gave you the eggs after 14 days, it was because she believed they were too old, not because they were actually going bad.

The USDA currently requires eggs to be labeled with their pack date and an expiration date 30 days later. Note that it is the pack date (which could be arbitrarily later), not their lay date. We label with the lay date, which is technically in violation, but always earlier or the same as the pack date (so at worst we are making our eggs “seem” older than they are, by their standards).

It may be that the USDA (equivalent agency back then?) used to require a 14-day expiration stamp. So your mom believed it and gave you eggs to throw. Now you’re in charge of the fridge and you believe the 30 days stamped by today’s standards.

Note that you cannot reliably expect store-bought eggs to last for 5 months in the fridge. Because the USDA has producers label by pack date, you really have no idea how old your eggs are. There’s actually a reason that producers might deliberately age eggs: truly fresh eggs don’t hard boil well. Well, they boil just fine, but they’re really hard to peel. Bits of egg white stick firmly to the shell; you end up shredding the white pretty badly. If one brand of eggs had that property and the next one didn’t, which one would still be on the market 6 months later? So there’s a strong incentive for egg producers to age their eggs a few weeks, despite the inventory management costs. Once you have the necessary warehouse space to handle this rotating inventory stream, the exact age of eggs making it to store shelves is going to ebb and flow according to how the chickens are producing and how many eggs people are buying.

We don’t do anything specific to combat this. If a customer mentions they intend to hard-boil, we steer them to an older dozen (we go to market every 1-2 weeks, so we have eggs at least a week old). We tell them to save the eggs a couple weeks before using them for that purpose. And we tell about a couple tricks: lightly crack the egg before boiling (it will leak a bit but may be easier to peel); themally shock them after boiling (drop into cold water until cool, drop back into the still-hot boiling pan). We haven’t actually experimented enough with these techniques ourselves, we just use old eggs for hard boiling.

Signed,

Part-time chicken engineer.

I knew there was something up with the dates on the egg cartons!

I’m having a hard time, right now, buying eggs. I really don’t want to buy them, in plastic! It just seems so wrong, to me. Its part of my own conscious thought issues. (Like right up there with how I will never buy/use Hydrogenated Shortening or Canola Oil, again.)

I still want to know why my great grandma’s, chicken’s eggs were blue. I want the Alton Brown/feed speech, approach..

4 Responses to The eggs among the oil
  1. Heather @ Not a DIY Life
    August 14, 2009 | 8:11 pm

    Great post! My mom grew up on a farm and they raised eggs, so thru her, I actually knew a lot of what you quoted. Interesting stuff!

    And to get around the styrofoam egg cartons, we reuse them for crafts. I know, not exactly environmentally sound, but we're having fun with them before they end up in the trash.

  2. CarolinaDreamz
    August 14, 2009 | 9:10 pm

    Hey Heather..

    I knew a lot, of it.. but I was pleased it was all in one place.. so I could pass it on.

    I read that the reason our eggs are packaged in clear plastic, is because under marketing trials, we purchased them, more often, if we could see them! Amazing laziness! :)

    I just feel that the company, trying to market a "better" egg would package it "better" too.

    Thanks for the comment!
    ~Heidi

  3. chucker
    August 15, 2009 | 10:02 am

    Since I live alone, a dozen eggs usually means I boil 6 right away.

    Someone – maybe one of my ex wives – taught me to put a "glug" of olive oil in the pot of boiling water. Said it makes them easier to peel.

    Well, mine ARE easy to peel so I keep adding a little oil.

  4. CarolinaDreamz
    August 15, 2009 | 11:34 am

    Hey Chuck..

    I'm really *bad* about boiling eggs. I always have issues. I've never heard the oil, before.. I'll try it..

    I think I'm too impatient to time them. This is all sad, of course, because I'd like to eat more boiled eggs.

    Thanks for the comment.
    ~Heidi

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The eggs among the oil

Today’s blog-hopping started on, Fearless Friday, on Home-Ec101.

In the Linky, I “met” the blog Kitchen Stewardship, where I quickly got lost in links about how to use Coconut Oil. *swoon*

I have, recently, switched from EVOO, for sauteing, to Grape Seed Oil. The smoke point is higher, and I don’t have to add butter, to the EVOO, to increase the smoke point. The flavor is amazing, too. I’m really enjoying the Grape Seed Oil.

Being curious about what the smoke point of butter and EVOO, together, might be.. I came upon this handy chart, that references multiple oils smoke points. Fantastic!

But, down in the comments.. real treasure, on my own geeky kind.

On March 06, 2006 at 08:01 AM, an anonymous reader said…
Quote:
Remember when we used to crack eggs and sometimes would find alittle white thing in there along with some blood, not anymore what happened how come? eggs used to go bad in our fridge within 2 weeks, that was fun because we used to get them to have an egg war. Unfortunately not anymore, Im older now but Ive had eggs in the fridge for 3 weeks and after opening them they looked fine why is that?

This is actually all wrong. I (well actually my wife) produce eggs for the local farmer’s market. We don’t do _anything_ to our chickens, just give them food and water and shelter, and steal their children.

The eggs we sell do occasionally have blood or meat spots. Commercial eggs don’t have those because they are “candled”. This originally meant that someone literally held each egg up to a candle, looking for any weird shadows that indicated something not quite right. Modern egg production uses machinery, including a contraption that rolls eggs past some sort of optical electrosensor. This is also the main reason that white eggs are so popular in the US: they’re much easier to candle (which means the producer would rather deal with them) and the candling results are more certain (which means the consumer is happier with them).

We rarely get complaints about blood or meat spots, nor do we often find them in the eggs we eat. I believe this is because our chickens are healthy and active. Meat spots are literally bits of chicken meat — bits of the hen that broke off and got incorporated into the egg while it was being produced. Imagine something similar to the colon polyps we’re all told to watch out for. Blood spots are likewise bits of blood that leaked in during production. These things can happen as part of normal wear and tear in the bird. But imagine birds that live in 1×1 foot cages where they can barely turn around, fed high-energy feed full of hormones and god knows what else (probably not antibiotics — I think that’s actually illegal in the US, even for the big commercial operations). Birds that aren’t healthy or physically fit. I imagine these birds probably make more blood & meat spots than ours. I have no specific facts to back this up, just the observation that we seem to have very few spots in our production. Not enough to warrant the effort of candling.

The only machine we use is a compressor to bubble air into an egg bath. We “wash” our eggs in dilute baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) solution.

Our eggs are fertilized (roosters run with the hens). We label them as such: “fertilized”, not “fertile”. We refrigerate our eggs (ok, I was wrong, that’s a 2nd machine. The car we drive them to market in is as third.) Refrigerated eggs can sometimes be hatched, but they are not reliably fertile. If someone wants eggs for hatching, we make special arrangements to bring them un-refrigerated eggs. We are careful to label “fertilized” because this matters to certain subspecies of vegetarians.

Our eggs never look like embryos because bird eggs do not begin to develop until they have been held consistently warm for about 48 hours. This is a natural mechanism to prevent a nest full of eggs from hatching one by one (which results in mama hen wandering off to care for the first hatchling, and the rest of the eggs dying of cold). Mama bird lays an egg, sits on it for an hour or so, wanders off to eat, has a normal day. That night she sits on the eggs and keeps them warm all night. Repeat the next 6-10 days. Eventually there are enough eggs, she decides to seriously sit. That first egg has been sat on (brought up to body temperature) many times, possibly 10 times for 8-12 hours each time, but it has not progressed any farther in development than the last one laid. All the eggs in this nest will develop at the same rate and hatch within 12-24 hours of each other (21 days later, for chicken eggs).

Eggs do not go bad in 14 days in the fridge. Eggs don’t go bad in 14 days on the counter, even a sunny counter. Before we started selling at the market, we often ate our own eggs that had been refrigerated for five months. By then they were starting to get runny, but still perfectly edible. If your mom gave you the eggs after 14 days, it was because she believed they were too old, not because they were actually going bad.

The USDA currently requires eggs to be labeled with their pack date and an expiration date 30 days later. Note that it is the pack date (which could be arbitrarily later), not their lay date. We label with the lay date, which is technically in violation, but always earlier or the same as the pack date (so at worst we are making our eggs “seem” older than they are, by their standards).

It may be that the USDA (equivalent agency back then?) used to require a 14-day expiration stamp. So your mom believed it and gave you eggs to throw. Now you’re in charge of the fridge and you believe the 30 days stamped by today’s standards.

Note that you cannot reliably expect store-bought eggs to last for 5 months in the fridge. Because the USDA has producers label by pack date, you really have no idea how old your eggs are. There’s actually a reason that producers might deliberately age eggs: truly fresh eggs don’t hard boil well. Well, they boil just fine, but they’re really hard to peel. Bits of egg white stick firmly to the shell; you end up shredding the white pretty badly. If one brand of eggs had that property and the next one didn’t, which one would still be on the market 6 months later? So there’s a strong incentive for egg producers to age their eggs a few weeks, despite the inventory management costs. Once you have the necessary warehouse space to handle this rotating inventory stream, the exact age of eggs making it to store shelves is going to ebb and flow according to how the chickens are producing and how many eggs people are buying.

We don’t do anything specific to combat this. If a customer mentions they intend to hard-boil, we steer them to an older dozen (we go to market every 1-2 weeks, so we have eggs at least a week old). We tell them to save the eggs a couple weeks before using them for that purpose. And we tell about a couple tricks: lightly crack the egg before boiling (it will leak a bit but may be easier to peel); themally shock them after boiling (drop into cold water until cool, drop back into the still-hot boiling pan). We haven’t actually experimented enough with these techniques ourselves, we just use old eggs for hard boiling.

Signed,

Part-time chicken engineer.

I knew there was something up with the dates on the egg cartons!

I’m having a hard time, right now, buying eggs. I really don’t want to buy them, in plastic! It just seems so wrong, to me. Its part of my own conscious thought issues. (Like right up there with how I will never buy/use Hydrogenated Shortening or Canola Oil, again.)

I still want to know why my great grandma’s, chicken’s eggs were blue. I want the Alton Brown/feed speech, approach..

4 Responses to The eggs among the oil
  1. Heather @ Not a DIY Life
    August 14, 2009 | 8:11 pm

    Great post! My mom grew up on a farm and they raised eggs, so thru her, I actually knew a lot of what you quoted. Interesting stuff!

    And to get around the styrofoam egg cartons, we reuse them for crafts. I know, not exactly environmentally sound, but we're having fun with them before they end up in the trash.

  2. CarolinaDreamz
    August 14, 2009 | 9:10 pm

    Hey Heather..

    I knew a lot, of it.. but I was pleased it was all in one place.. so I could pass it on.

    I read that the reason our eggs are packaged in clear plastic, is because under marketing trials, we purchased them, more often, if we could see them! Amazing laziness! :)

    I just feel that the company, trying to market a "better" egg would package it "better" too.

    Thanks for the comment!
    ~Heidi

  3. chucker
    August 15, 2009 | 10:02 am

    Since I live alone, a dozen eggs usually means I boil 6 right away.

    Someone – maybe one of my ex wives – taught me to put a "glug" of olive oil in the pot of boiling water. Said it makes them easier to peel.

    Well, mine ARE easy to peel so I keep adding a little oil.

  4. CarolinaDreamz
    August 15, 2009 | 11:34 am

    Hey Chuck..

    I'm really *bad* about boiling eggs. I always have issues. I've never heard the oil, before.. I'll try it..

    I think I'm too impatient to time them. This is all sad, of course, because I'd like to eat more boiled eggs.

    Thanks for the comment.
    ~Heidi

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