Thursday, February 4, 2010

Interesting Egg Facts

1Our chickens are finally laying enough eggs that we have some to sell. A friend asked me recently how long eggs stay fresh. I knew (the kind of know that you’ve known as long as you can remember but you don’t know why) that eggs stay fresh for a couple months but I had no official documentation of that so I did a little research.

A hen puts a protective coating (called the bloom) on the egg as she lays it. The bloom keeps contaminants from entering pores in the shell (eggshells have up to 17,000 pores). Processing plants wash the eggs and coat them with mineral oil to replace the bloom. This protective coating is removed when you wash or boil the egg. [Source]

I could not find an official governmental agency that would state how long an egg stays fresh from the time it is laid, but I found enough sites that said basically the same thing that I believe the following information is accurate.

This answer from wiki.answers.com sums it up the best: Farmers have 30 days from the day an egg is laid to get it to stores. Then, the stores have another 30 days to sell the eggs. The USDA recommends a maximum of 5 weeks in your refrigerator before you discard your eggs. What does this all boil down to? On April 1, you could be eating an egg that was laid on Christmas.

I'm not suggesting that you eat 3 month old eggs, but do you really like the idea that your eggs could be a month old before they even get to the store? Wouldn’t you much rather buy them from a local farmer? You’ll get better eggs, support the local economy, and they’ll be way healthier than the factory raised eggs sold in the supermarket.

According to motherearthnews.com, eggs from hens raised on pasture show 4 to 6 times as much vitamin D as typical supermarket eggs. If that’s not reason enough to buy eggs from chickens that actually get to eat their natural diet, then consider this: compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

So there you have it… Properly handled farm fresh eggs are healthier, will last longer in your refrigerator, and taste better than factory-farm-supermarket-eggs. Now support your local farmers and go buy some farm fresh eggs!

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