6 Things You Didn’t Know About Eggs

The great British love affair with eggs goes from strength to strength. In fact, sales have just topped a record-breaking six billion in the last 12 months, and, on average, we each eat around 190 eggs every year. But to make sure you enjoy your eggs in top condition we have this advice from the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute…

1. How can I tell if eggs are fresh?
UK eggs have to be collected from farms at least twice a week, most of these eggs are then delivered to the supermarket within 48 hours of being laid. The best-before date on eggs must be 28 days from when the eggs were laid.


The amount of air inside an egg determines its age and quality – the more air inside, the older the egg. So, if you’re not sure if an egg has gone off, do this simple test. Place it in cold water: if it sinks to a completely horizontal position, it is fresh. If it tilts, it may be up to a week old. If it floats, it is stale and should not be used.

Already cracked open the egg and now you’re not sure it’s okay to eat? You’ll see that a fresh egg has a rounded yolk that stands proud. The white is in two distinct parts with a thick, viscous layer around the yolk and a thinner, watery outer layer. An older egg will have a flatter yolk and the egg white will become runnier.

How should I store eggs?
For optimum freshness and food safety, eggs should be kept at a constant temperature below 20°C. To avoid the typical temperature fluctuations in a household kitchen, British Lion Eggs (the safety regulator for eggs in the UK), recommends that eggs are stored in their box in the fridge.

Did you know? On average, there are 55 to 88 calories in an egg and a range of vitamins and minerals.

What does Free Range actually mean?
The EU egg marketing legislation (yes, there is egg law) stipulates that for eggs to be termed ‘free range’ hens must have continuous daytime access to runs that are mainly covered with vegetation, with a maximum of nine hens per square metre. Hens must also be provided with nest boxes, perches, and space for scratching and dust bathing.

Organic eggs are always free range. Battery cages are now banned in the EU, and there have been improvements to conditions with the introduction of raised perches and separate nest boxes – however, there seems to be little to separate ‘barn’ eggs from ‘caged’ ones.

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Where should you store them? How can you tell if they’re still fresh? What does the Lion mark really mean? We have the answers…

The great British love affair with eggs goes from strength to strength. In fact, sales have just topped a record-breaking six billion in the last 12 months, and, on average, we each eat around 190 eggs every year. But to make sure you enjoy your eggs in top condition we have this advice from the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute…

1. How can I tell if eggs are fresh?
UK eggs have to be collected from farms at least twice a week, most of these eggs are then delivered to the supermarket within 48 hours of being laid. The best-before date on eggs must be 28 days from when the eggs were laid.

The amount of air inside an egg determines its age and quality – the more air inside, the older the egg. So, if you’re not sure if an egg has gone off, do this simple test. Place it in cold water: if it sinks to a completely horizontal position, it is fresh. If it tilts, it may be up to a week old. If it floats, it is stale and should not be used.

Already cracked open the egg and now you’re not sure it’s okay to eat? You’ll see that a fresh egg has a rounded yolk that stands proud. The white is in two distinct parts with a thick, viscous layer around the yolk and a thinner, watery outer layer. An older egg will have a flatter yolk and the egg white will become runnier.

How should I store eggs?

For optimum freshness and food safety, eggs should be kept at a constant temperature below 20°C. To avoid the typical temperature fluctuations in a household kitchen, British Lion Eggs (the safety regulator for eggs in the UK), recommends that eggs are stored in their box in the fridge.

Did you know? On average, there are 55 to 88 calories in an egg and a range of vitamins and minerals.

What does Free Range actually mean?
The EU egg marketing legislation (yes, there is egg law) stipulates that for eggs to be termed ‘free range’ hens must have continuous daytime access to runs that are mainly covered with vegetation, with a maximum of nine hens per square metre. Hens must also be provided with nest boxes, perches, and space for scratching and dust bathing.

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Organic eggs are always free range. Battery cages are now banned in the EU, and there have been improvements to conditions with the introduction of raised perches and separate nest boxes – however, there seems to be little to separate ‘barn’ eggs from ‘caged’ ones.

Can I freeze eggs?

Eggshell can’t be frozen but raw eggs can. Freezing can affect the stability of yolks but whites freeze without issue – just be sure to fully thaw in a refrigerator before use and make sure you note the quantity of egg whites on your container before freezing. Cooked egg shouldn’t be frozen, as it turns rubbery in texture.

Is there still salmonella in raw egg?
Since its introduction in 1998, the British Lion scheme has effectively eliminated salmonella in British eggs. The British Lion mark means that the eggs have been laid by hens vaccinated against salmonella.

The Food Standards Agency advice on eating raw eggs has historically always been:

‘Eating raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs may cause food poisoning, especially in ‘at risk’ groups such as pregnant women, the elderly and anyone who is unwell or immuno-compromised. This is because eggs may contain salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness. People who are not in vulnerable groups who eat soft-boiled eggs or foods containing lightly cooked eggs should not experience any health problems, but cooking eggs thoroughly is the safest option if you are concerned about food poisoning.

How do you make the perfect hard-boiled egg?

Simple, just follow these four simple steps:

Lower the egg into a small pan of simmering water, using a spoon. Make sure there is enough water to cover the egg.
Cook for 8-10min, depending on the size of the egg.

Once cooked, drain and cool quickly under cold running water to prevent a black rim forming around the yolk.
When ready to serve, crack the shell all over and peel. (Fresh eggs are harder to peel than older eggs because the membrane between the shell and the egg is more firmly attached to the egg white.)

Source: goodhousekeeping.co.uk

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