Eggs are some of the world’s most uncomplicated food stuffs. Just crack one open, cook it the way you want it to be cooked (e.g fried, boiled, poached, baked, etcetera), and serve. You get a ready meal in just a few minutes.
Because eggs are so accessible, most of us don’t even bother to stop and think about why eggs are the way they are. Why are they usually white? Does it really matter what color the eggs are? Does the color have an effect on the taste and nutritional value? I had an egg that has discolored whites, is it safe to eat?
With that said, here are the answers to some pressing egg questions that you might be asking.
Why Are Eggs White?
Most of the eggs that you see in your local market are usually white and brown (with the white eggs a majority in a lot of locales). However, the color doesn’t have any bearing on the taste and nutritional value of the eggs themselves.
The answer here all boils down to the kind of chicken that lays the eggs. White eggs are white because they come from…white-feathered chickens. Brown eggs, on the other hand, come from red or brown-feathered ones. There are even some chicken breeds that can lay blue and speckled eggs. But nutritionally, there is no difference between these eggs.
“But why are brown eggs priced higher than white eggs?” you might ask.
Well, it’s just a matter of size. The chickens that lay the brown eggs are often larger, and as such, they need more chicken feed to munch on. The higher cost of feed translate to higher cost of eggs.
Yellow Egg White – Safe To Eat?
Sometimes, you might get eggs that have whites or yolks that are colored slightly differently from what you’re used to. However, don’t panic. Most of the time, this isn’t a cause for concern.
For example, you might get eggs with whites that are yellow-tinged. The discoloration often stems from the chicken’s diet. If the chicken has been eating food with lots of riboflavin (like corn, carrots, and other deep yellow or orange colored foods), then the extra coloring might end up on the egg whites. In some cases, the chicken eating excess riboflavin might also cause its egg white to have a green tinge to it.
Other causes include the normal ageing of the eggs. If the eggs have been stored for a long time in substandard conditions (e.g. at higher temperatures), then the egg whites might become yellower than normal.
As long as the egg doesn’t smell particularly funky and bad, then it’s safe to eat. The color will disappear once you cook it and the egg white will turn to its usual plain white color if cooked.
How Do You Determine if An Egg Has Gone Bad?
Some people swear by the “floating egg” test. Simply put the egg (uncooked, of course) in a glass of water. If it sinks, then it’s fresh; if it floats, it’s already gone bad. If it stands on its end, then it’s a sign that you need to eat it immediately because it’s going to go bad in a few days.
However, this is not an accurate test of freshness simply because the size of the air sacs in eggs vary greatly from egg to egg. Fresh eggs that have large air sacs might float on water and vice versa. You might end up just wasting perfectly fine fresh eggs if you use this method.
So, how do you know if an egg has gone bad? Simple, just use your nose. A bad egg smells strongly of sulfur. If you want to test the egg thoroughly, crack it open and put your nose near it. If it smells way, way off, then just discard it. Also, if the outside of the egg is badly discolored (e.g. it has weird splotches, smudges on it that can’t be washed away), then the egg probably has already gone bad.
Also, check the dates on the egg packaging. You have two dates to look for: the pack date and the sell-by date. As a rule of thumb, you can safely eat eggs that are five weeks past the pack date. The sell-by date is NOT an expiration date, but may fall within that particular five-week date range.
Eggs aren’t made in factories. If you ever come across eggs that look different than normal, don’t panic! Just use your nose to determine if the egg is still safe to eat. Most of the time, it still is.