How to tell if your eggs are freshPosted by Fiona Nevile in Chickens, Cottage tales, Guinea Fowl | 10 comments
When I cracked the eggs into the frying pan this morning, one egg was clearly much fresher than the other. The first had a yolk standing just right above the white like a small hillock. The next had a much flatter yolk. It smelt fine but the flatter yolk indicates that the egg is not so fresh. Even if I put the ‘flat’ egg on my plate Danny always notices and offers to swap.
“There must be some way of knowing which eggs are the freshest.”
We have a superb wooden egg stand that I inherited from my Aunt Pickles. This holds 24 eggs. During the non laying months it’s a handy mini shelf for larder overflow. It’s a tremendous moment when the first egg of the season appears. The shelflet is cleared with eager anticipation.
During the weeks around Easter egg laying is at its most bountiful in our garden. All our hens are laying well. Even Cloud has come into her own producing small whitish pinkish eggs with ultra hard shells that are almost impossible to crack.
The freshest eggs are usually put at the back of our rack. The ones at the front are eaten first, unless we are having soft boiled eggs. These need to be ultra fresh and warm eggs scooped from the nesting box are a sweet and perfect start to any day.
Considering that our hens are four year old elderly maidens (and one newly wed guinea fowl) they are doing surprisingly well. Generally I collect three or four eggs a day from six hens at the moment.
The spring is my busy season at work. The lighter, sunnier days expose tawdry rooms that must be decorated now. Mornings at home are suddenly a rushed affair. Sometimes I just haven’t time to move the eggs forward on the rack. Eggs slot so easy into any space available. When I return at dusk I forget to move the eggs. Or I leave a clutch in the greenhouse or on top of the feed bin, distracted by a Min Pin hinting for breakfast.
Within days our careful egg storage scheme often fails. What we needed was a sure fire way of sorting the eggs so that we could enjoy them all at their best.
I explained the conundrum to S. Who came to the rescue with a large bucket which he filled with fresh cold water.
“Having filled your bucket carefully place each egg in the bottom.”
He reached for a few duck eggs and gently dropped them in.
“The freshest eggs will lie flat at the bottom of the bucket. Then the rest will sort themselves out very quickly. There is an air duct at the blunt end of the egg. As the egg gets older the size of this air duct increases.”
I peered into the depths.
“Initially, slightly older eggs will bob up from the bottom, pointy tips below. A very old egg will float on the surface of the water and should be discarded immediately.”
When I burst though the cottage door with an old plastic bucket D was alarmed. Half an hour later we were arranging our eggs on the rack in order of freshness.
“What a shame we haven’t got a really old egg to test.” Danny was searching the larder for any strays. Before the summer is over, I’m sure I’ll discover a forgotten egg somewhere in the garden that he can test out.
If you keep free range hens that lay in different parts of your garden as well as in the nesting box this trick could be useful for you too.
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