Monday, September 19, 2011
(Real) Fresh Eggs
The other day I dropped an egg on the kitchen floor as I was bringing some in from the hen house, and I realized it was the perfect opportunity to show you all what a real fresh egg is supposed to be like. The top picture is what the egg looked like after I picked it up off the floor. That's right - I didn't have to wipe it off the floor. It didn't explode everywhere like a gooey water balloon. I picked it up, and then I did this with it:
OK, I admit I was just showing off in that last picture, but that's the real thing. Freshly laid eggs are sturdy like that. It's all because of the membrane between the shell and the gooey part. The membrane is that filmy thing you encounter when peeling a hard-boiled egg. As soon as an egg is laid, the membrane starts to dissintegrate, and the inside of the egg starts to evaporate out through invisible pores in the egg's shell. That is why when you buy store-bought eggs they are super easy to crack, and when you hard-boil them there is an air pocket inside. Newly-laid eggs have none of that. You have to hit them pretty darn hard on the counter top to crack them, and then you usually have to use your finger to puncture the membrane just to get anything out. And forget hard-boiling them; they are impossible to peel because the super-thick membrane sticks to the egg and by the time you have removed all the shell bits, you are left with just the yolk.
Speaking of yolk, see this nice orange color? That's what an egg is supposed to look like. In fact, one winter when I found myself eggless and had to go to the store, my boys wouldn't even touch the eggs I cooked for them. They kept saying "but they're yellow. Eggs are supposed to be orange." Again, that's because when you buy eggs at the store, they aren't exactly fresh. No matter what the box says, those "farm fresh, free range, organic eggs" were probably laid a month ago. Don't even get me started on what those boxes actually mean by "free range."
The best thing about newly-laid eggs, of course, is that they taste much, much better than anything you will buy in a store. Probably the only way to get your hands on eggs this fresh is to either get chickens of your own or make friends with someone who has some. I've been seeing more fresh eggs at farmer's markets, too, and often vendors who don't advertise that they have chickens will tell you that they have fresh eggs if you just ask. OK - I'll get off my egg soap box now. What do you think about eggs? Would you pay more for newly-laid eggs or even consider getting chickens so you could have some?