Here we will explain what everyone should know about the labelling of eggs, their anatomy, how long they last and why the prices vary as muc...
Here we will explain what everyone should know about the labelling of eggs, their anatomy, how long they last and why the prices vary as much as they do depend on how the eggs are labelled.
Eggs have a very long shelf life
An eggshell is really the perfect package, apart from the fact that it breaks quite easily with careless handling. Even if eggs are stored at room temperature, they last at least a month. However, this is exactly what applies when we look at the labelling of eggs according to EU rules. The best before date must be 28 days after the laying day. If eggs are stored in the cold, as in Swedish stores, they actually last at least twice as long. One of the reasons for the strict rules is that there is salmonella in some countries in Europe and they, therefore, want good safety margins when it comes to labelling eggs. It is also common to store eggs at room temperature in many countries. The shelf life of a boiled egg stored in the refrigerator is about a week.
The labelling of the eggs provides a lot of information
It is not only when the egg has its best before the date that it appears from the label. Eggs must also have a stamp that says how it was produced, which country it comes from and who the producer is. Swedish eggs have the stamp SE. Different ways of producing eggs have different numbers on the label. These show how the hens have had it. The labels show whether the eggs have been produced by:
In order for eggs to be classified as organic, it is required that the hens have had access to resting farms with grass and farms outdoors where they have access to food and protection. The feed must be varied and largely organically grown. They must have access to hay as well as roughage and vegetables. In the USA, just over 15% of all eggs produced are organic.
Free-range hens are hens that live in stables indoors but also have access to outdoor areas. However, not as large areas as hens that lay organic eggs. Only a few percent of the eggs produced in the USA belong in this category.
When it comes to this method of production, the hens live in stables where they move freely and can choose between different nests where they lay their eggs. This is the most common way of producing eggs in the USA and about 67% of all eggs sold in the USA come from hens that have been free-range indoors.
Caged hens are hens that live their lives in small cages. In USA Today, eggs from caged hens are not sold as fresh eggs in stores. Instead, they appear as ingredients in other products. Just under five percent of all eggs laid in the USA come from caged hens.
The price of eggs
Organic eggs cost a little less than a penny more per egg than eggs from hens that have been free-range indoors. A twelve-pack of organic eggs costs around SEK 40 and an equally large pack of free-range hens indoors costs around SEK 30. Eggs from free-range hens that have been allowed to be outdoors are located approximately in the middle, but as I said, are not very common in the USA.
Why do eggs look so different?
Eggs can, as is well known, be both brown and white. It is as simple as that brown hens usually lay brown eggs while white hens instead lay white eggs. The taste and nutritional content of the eggs are not affected at all by their colour. There is also a difference between young and older hens. In general, older hens lay eggs that are slightly larger, while young hens instead lay more eggs. They taste the same and have the same nutritional content, but the larger the eggs, the more fragile they become. This is because the eggs, regardless of size, have the same amount of calcium in the shells. Less calcium simply gives more fragile eggs. Another difference between young and older hens is that the proportion of eggs with two yolks is greater if it is young hens that have laid.
The white "cord"
When you crack an egg, you see that there is a kind of cord of egg white in the yolk itself. Its function is to keep the yolk, protected against bacteria, among other things, in the middle of the egg. It is the yolk that contains the nutrients that the embryo needs to be able to develop into a chicken.
Old eggs float
An eggshell is not completely dense but it has pores through which the egg breathes. Therefore, an egg can take flavour from other foods stored next to it. Or of marinades, if you would like to try it. Carbon dioxide and water slowly disappear through the egg through the pores at the same time as oxygen penetrates into it. This means that old eggs get a larger bladder of air inside the shell than eggs that are fresh. One way to investigate how fresh an egg is is to put it in water. If it sinks to the bottom, it is fresher because it does not contain as much air as older eggs, which can rise or even float on the surface. A floating egg does not have to be bad but it may be an idea to smell the contents before mixing it with other ingredients. The air sac is located at the bottom of the egg. By storing eggs with the blunt side up, the air bladder will lie between the yolk and the eggshell. It prolongs the shelf life of the egg.