Ever wonder how the eggs at the store are perfectly uniform, as though they’d all come from the same hen? I’m sure scale allows for this; they have so many hens laying they can sort for colour and shape. But a big part of the answer is that they are required to wash the eggs.
(By the way, that operation looks a little something like this:)
No, I don’t wash my eggs. I agonised over this as I was waiting for 1.0 to enter womanhood last summer, and, after extensive reading, decided against it. And it’s all because of the bloom.
There are many stages to the formation of an egg, and I won’t go into them here. I am not an expert (and I would direct those looking for an expert to definitely bookmark The Chicken Chick’s blog), but I do know this: the final stage of egg formation, right before the egg is laid, is the application of the bloom. The bloom is a liquid film that covers the egg, to prevent bacteria from entering the porous shell. It also slows the process of evaporation, prolonging freshness. Nature is a terribly clever girl.
Each hen has her own colour, sheen and texture to her bloom; washed eggs look remarkably alike. Were it not for the bloom, I would have a much harder time determining who laid which. (For more on how I tell my hens’ eggs apart, just do a search here for “Gertrude Stein”. I am not even kidding.)
A few of my hens have remarkable, unique blooms. Their eggs could belong to no other girl. I have commented a few times recently on Dorothy’s unique bloom, and I decided to share a visual with you today:
Isn’t that something? It’s like that every time. Washed, this egg looks like any other medium brown egg, not this delightful mini snow storm. Our own little Butt Nemo.
1.0 has a high-creative, as well. Tallulah somehow manages to spray a bloom that is lighter at one end than at the other. I swear it’s true:
That is not a trick of light and shadow; that’s what Tallulah’s eggs look like. If this egg were washed, the colour would be uniform. It’s remarkable. More remarkable? The dark colour switches from the pointy end to the wide end. She has a very talented butt.
So, should one wash one’s eggs? It’s a judgment call. On the rare occasions I get a poopy or otherwise unclean egg, of course I wash it. The vast majority of our eggs are perfectly clean looking, and I use them without washing or rinsing. (I also store our eggs on the counter, not in the fridge, as they are used so quickly.)
The exception: if the egg is to be used raw. I like to make my own mayonnaise, and The Man will use raw eggs in a drink after a workout. Those must be washed, as there is no cooking to destroy any potential bacteria.
If you want to wash your own eggs, go for it. One caveat: always wash or rinse your eggs with water that is slightly warmer than the egg itself; water that is colder will open the pores of the eggshell and allow any bacteria to enter the egg.