Testing Eggs For Freshness

A friend of mine has chickens and she often gives away some of the eggs she gets to friends and family, as her chickens produce so many in the summer. They are very happy outdoor hens and their eggs are delicious, with huge, bright orange yolks; when it comes to eggs, you really can’t beat farm fresh free range! I know some people are a bit wary of farm fresh eggs as they’re not date stamped, so you don’t know how fresh they are, and not only will a stale egg smell and taste awful, they can make you very ill if you eat one. Although eggs are full of iron and other vitamins that are good for you, they can carry salmonella if they aren’t fresh, which is why pregnant ladies are advised not to eat them unless they’re date stamped and from a supermarket.

One day my friend came into work with a couple of boxes of eggs. She thought her hens had stopped laying for the winter so hadn’t checked the roosting spots for a couple of days. When she did, she found a glut of eggs. “It’s ok, they are fresh, I tested them” she said as she was handing them out to us. Tested them? How on Earth do you do that? Does she have some sort of gadget? I needed to know more. When she explained that you simply put them in water and see if they sink or float, I thought I’d try it myself.

I saved an egg for a couple of weeks and placed it in a jug of tap water with a fresh egg bought that morning for comparison, and this was the result:

The old, stale egg floats, the fresh egg sinks. How clever. Now whenever I’m unsure about the freshness of an egg, this is what I’ll do. But of course, If you’re pregnant or have health issues, don’t take risks, always follow your doctor’s advice, and ‘if in doubt, chuck it out’ as they say in the catering industry.

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