This subject has been on my mind for ages. I hope you’re wondering what kind of question this is? It’s an ordinary one: about the eggs chickens lay.
I like to keep boiled eggs in the fridge either for a quick breakfast or to put in a salad at lunchtime. Over the past six months or so, I’ve noticed my eggs most uncooperative. I always have them come to a boil, turn down the gas and cover with a lid for ten minutes. Also, an ice water bath awaits to stop the cooking. Nothing in my process has changed in all the years I’ve been boiling eggs.
- Eggs are always easier to peel soon after the cold water treatment.
If I don’t peel an egg until the next day, they don’t peel as well as they should. The skin between the egg and the shell hugs the egg too tightly. I call this separation anxiety.
- Let’s say I boil four eggs. One might peel more easily than the others. Why?
- One egg will be cracked although no crack was noticeable before boiling.
- The outside of one yolk may be dark grey even though they were boiled the same way in the same pot.
- Brown or white eggs have no nutritional difference, but for a time brown eggs peeled easier than white. Hmm.
- Farm eggs, from a local farmer, have a dark yellow yolk, almost orange. At least they used to. I haven’t checked in years.
- Grocery store eggs used to have a deep yellow yolk. I read the colour of the yolk depends on what grain is fed to the chickens. What are they feeding them? White Wonder Bread?
- Over time, I’ve noticed egg yolks have become lighter more like a corn silk yellow after boiling. I have no way of knowing the depth of colour before cooking.
- The last carton of eggs I brought home from the grocery store seems compliant. At least so far. Peeling them reminds me of previous times.
* * *Don’t get me started on the grading of eggs. Here is the link to explain the process where I live.
It used to be, I bought Large eggs. I can’t recall when or why I switched to Extra Large. I pretend like to believe I’m observant and a curious sort. I’m not sure when I graded up. Seems eggs have been shrinking and I hadn’t noticed. That’s right—shrinking. Unless my eye-sight has deteriorated since I bought new glasses last summer, I believe Extra Large eggs are the new Large.
When were chickens taught to lay smaller eggs?
- Wait, maybe it isn’t their fault. Let’s go back to the brown and white eggs: depends which type of chicken is laying them.
- Yolk colour depends on what chickens are fed. What are the chickens eating that causes them to lay smaller eggs with washed out yokes?
- I read it’s not size but weight that counts for grading them. Hmm.
* * *
Disclaimer: I am not scientific and have not used scientific means to explore my world of eggs. No farmers, chickens, or eggs were coerced in my amateur test. No money changed hands and no benefits gained. I stank at physics and never took chemistry. I am innocent of any and all finger pointing which may result. I have queried a couple of neighbours and a stranger or two, as well as a few friends. These are my results.
* * *
About a year ago, I did a rant about shrinking food packaging which led to deceiving pricing. If you’re curious, you will find it here: https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/whose-money-is-it-by-the-way/
November 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm
You always make my day! You have a remarkable way of using humour to discuss profound concepts!!! Well done….
November 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm
Thank YOU ever so much. Let’s call it even. 😉 Shake?
At my age the bliss of eating an egg that tastes and acts like one, is a highlight of my day. 😀
November 10, 2013 at 12:12 am
I’m with you on that thought!!!! 🙂
November 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm
🙂 What else is left at this stage but to eat tasty food–at least for me?
November 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm
🙂 🙂 🙂
November 8, 2013 at 6:56 pm
I think egg grades are like Tim Horton’s coffee cup sizes – they keep changing the ‘rules’ so we keep buying bigger and bigger versions (and paying more for the privilege). I suspect the size of eggs might have something to do with the size/age of the chicken or its ‘circumstances’ (egg-laying chickens are not kept in the nicest of environments; stress may play a part in it). Lately, I’ve been buying large ‘free range’ (brown) eggs at the grocery store. They appear (to me) to be significantly smaller than large ‘regular’ eggs but the yolks are definitely darker and they taste like eggs (‘regular’ eggs seem to have lost their flavour of late). They do not, however, peel any easier. I did read somewhere that you should roll a boiled egg around on the counter (gently and gradually cracking the shell) to make it easier to peel (I don’t have the patience so I’ve never tried it).
November 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm
Welcome, Margo. This has been a fabulous discussion. The peeling works well when it decides to. Rolling doesn’t help if that separation anxiety is in place. 😉
My whole life I’ve boiled eggs and peeled them–no problem., until the last while. At least I’m not alone.
November 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm
OMGOLLY! It’s not just me! I have hard boiled eggs every day and the same sort of things happen.
November 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm
See. Good to speak up. I thought I was losing my mind until I began to discuss with friends and here.
November 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm
I know what you mean about smaller eggs now. Mere speculation but I do think since chickens aren’t eating as well or being treated as well in huge egg farms they aren’t as healthy and it just follows neither are the eggs.
November 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm
All of the above. Cutting corners, cheap feed, battery cages, all to save a buck and what is the consumer getting? The wool pulled over his or her eyes. The regular people buy regular groceries, which are irregular now.
Enjoyment of food is being taken away from ME
November 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm
Here is what I know about eggs…nothing. I do know though if you roll the egg across a hard surface it is easier to peel. Of course I am lazy, I just buy them already peeled, pfft. Nothing more to worry about, done.
November 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm
*grins* Hi Val.
Alas, rolling doesn’t help if they don’t want to co-operate. Glad I whined to friends as well as posted about it. Good to know it isn’t only in MY mind.
November 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm
Separation anxiety…never quite understood it so well before. lol Love eggs. I do the hard boiled thing every once in a while with a ton of them in the refrig. Should do it more because it makes for such a great quick snack and like ’em in salads as well. And… with a dollop of mayo right on top. Yummy. 🙂
November 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm
Love those eggs, but not the hen pecked ones. When will they learn to peel them properly? 😉
November 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm
November 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm
November 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm
I can’t say I’ve ever noticed these things other than how difficult it can be to peel hard boiled eggs if I haven’t run them under cold water first, but thanks to you, I’ll have to pay more attention in the future. Must go boil some eggs now…
November 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm
After this post and before, when I talked to friends and neighbours, I thought I was losing it. Glad to know these goings on aren’t just at my house.
Nice to see you Carrie. 😉
November 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm
Interesting eggy post. I’m half expecting them to come out with Mammoth eggs in the very near future, as the Jumbo ones are no bigger than the large ones used to be. I don’t have a problem with my boiled eggs. I always make a pin-hole in one end before boiling them, to let the air out, and I let them stand in cold water for about 20 minutes before peeling them.
November 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm
Never knew about the pin hole before, but something new to try.
What ticks me off is my whole life eggs peeled without a single problem. Now, most of them look like they’ve been pecked by the chickens themselves. I agree after a nice long cold bath they peel well but not the next day necessarily. Boggles the mind.
November 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm
Yes, I haven’t left them overnight, as I only boil what I need for the day. You might find this link interesting. I did. 🙂
November 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm
Thank YOU for going to the trouble to find a link. Nice talking with you.
November 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm
My pleasure. I lerned something too. 🙂
November 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm
November 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm
If you rinse cold eggs in hot water for a minute they are easier to peel. That’s all I know about the egg questions.
November 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm
OK. I’ll try that but my whole life I never tried this trick and eggs used to peel easily–no muss, no fuss, no bother. Perfect every time. But that was before…
Nice to see you Patricia.
November 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm
Used to have chickens. The food dictates the yolk color. The more green in the diet the darker the yolk. Free range eggs are the best. Yolks stand up and are hard to break. The white does not run in the pan and yes they peel nicely.
November 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm
I lament we must watch everything we eat now and buy.
Thank you for joining in. 😉
November 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm
I, too, prefer ‘free range”. It might be my imagination, but they do seem better. I also agree that regular sized eggs are tiny! We get the biggest ones. Not that I need big ones, I just like to eat!
November 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm
I suppose my whine is about what is happening to our food…behind our back and being sold a crock of lies along with the food.
November 8, 2013 at 10:10 pm
Lol Tess! I’m with you on much of your process. They are easier to peel if you give them a cold bath, I know the yolk colour differs from what they eat and MOST DEFINITELY I’ve noticed food has shrunk and prices go up :(. Great analysis, you could have been a C.S.I. lol xo
November 9, 2013 at 2:25 pm
What’s left as we get ON? Food. I like to cook and have been noticing these horrible changes. I thought I was going crazy until I talked to friends and neighbours. What is happening to our food?
November 9, 2013 at 1:25 am
I have a farmer friend who tells me that you should never keep eggs in the fridge.
When I was a boy I remember the thrill of a double-yolker, now he has to identify these before sale and reject them because the supermarkets refuse them – how mad is that?
November 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm
Yes, that’s the grading process, I believe. The other link I included about grading tell where Grade B and C eggs go. Hope you don’t buy liquid eggs in a carton.
November 9, 2013 at 3:19 am
Very interesting observations. It just so happens that when I was reading your post my son yelled out “I’m boiling an egg, do you want one.” I replied no, but tell me what colour to turns out.
It’s white btw.
I too understand that the colour of the yoke depends on the food and have to agree with you. It must be white nothingness that they eat these days. I imagine battery hens ( poor things) eat very poor quality yuck.
Are your eggs labeled there? I can’t remember. Ours are stamped with organic, free range, caged etc and I do find the free to roam eggs are bigger and darker.
So if we base colour on food, we might base size on hen growth. Because eating chickens are given hormones to make them grow faster, perhaps laying hens are given hormones to help them lay sooner and their eggs are smaller? This is pure speculation on my part and I do love to speculate.
November 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm
Sure we have the labels and the choices but after the post about the hamburger buns, every little change is making my skin crawl.
You’re right about the taste too. Regular grocery store eggs don’t make as nice devilled eggs as they used to either. Where’s the taste?
November 9, 2013 at 4:00 am
Excellent Tess! I don’t think I would want to eat eggs if I stopped and thought too much about the yolk colour variations, our food is messed about with far too much these days.
November 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm
Just proves something has changed to another food we thought scientists could keep their hands off.
November 9, 2013 at 5:02 am
My eggs have definitely been shrinking too, although I have always purchased the extra large one as a well. And I have always soaked my eggs in cold water before peeling them. I never knew why until your post 🙂
November 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm
Here and there I’ve been reading what is done to our food and it’s scary. Some of what I’ve read about processed food so it stays fresh, colourful and moist makes me sick. I can’t even take this info in in small doses. Ugh. Now Eggs. Puleez.
November 9, 2013 at 8:54 am
You are annoyed by the same thing as me! Posted about it 2 years ago but they are still not peeling as they used to. It really annoys me as you end up with an egg that looks as though the chicken tried to eat it!
November 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm
Yeah, that’s my big question. Why? I never had trouble my whole life, peeling eggs and now I find everyone I talk to is in the same fix. Glad I decided to post this. Thanks for coming by to comment.
I’d love to read your 2-year post about peeling…
November 9, 2013 at 9:49 am
Great article, Tess. I don’t eat enough eggs to be able to comment, but if you’re in the market for tiny finch or canary eggs, let me know! Mrs. Beeton has yet to lay any eggs, but the way she’s looking at Pete, L’il Sis’ parrotlet, she might be feeling frisky soon!
November 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm
Ah…thanks, Laurie. I have so much trouble peeling chicken eggs, I have no idea how I’d manage finch eggs. Bwahaha.
I thought I was crazy but it’s nice to know by almost everyone I talked to and after this post that there is something going on with eggs. 😉
November 9, 2013 at 11:11 am
Wow, everything you write here in this wonderful post about eggs is eggsactly (sorry, just had to say it!) what I think about them. Why, why why? All these very same questions.
We used to have chickens growing up and their egg yolks were almost orange. Here in the UK we have a choice of free range eggs in the stores or caged hen eggs. There has been such an outcry against battery hens which give rise to those incipid, pale yolked eggs with the white shell. So in that way we still get eggs with the lovely almost orange yolks as we only ever buy free range.
As for the peeling and cracking issue, I just have no idea, so random!
Love this post, your humour, your way of writing. Thanks Tess 🙂
November 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm
Sherri, you warm the cockles of my heart.
I thought I was nuts regarding this egg situation until I talked to some friends. We all agreed so I decided to punch up the post.
The peeling was the first thing I noticed even before the size. My boiled eggs never were hard to peel and as you nicely put it, now they look chicken pecked.
We are able to buy a wide range of eggs too but not everyone can afford free range for example. My observations might be considered from the every man’s view (I hope). 😉
November 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm
Yes, absolutely, and you did a great job of presenting this egg dilemma!
This is the problem, free range eggs being more expensive, although we are lucky in that we have a grocery chain which sells them much cheaper than anywhere else so that is where I get mine 🙂
I forgot to mention too, whereas we always used to get either half a dozen or a dozen eggs, now we get 10 instead of the full 12. Doh, I only just realised this recently!!!
November 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm
So, corner cutting has started. The 10 instead of a dozen is sneaky.
I hear free range chickens are also laying smaller eggs.
November 10, 2013 at 12:55 am
Tess – Another wonderful blog. No doubt the eggs available today at the market are not the same as we had even ten years ago. The rules have changed via administrative legislation (how I hate that process). In the situation of poultry farming, Dept of AG was lobbyed by major players in the market and standards were lowered. It’s not likely we’ll ever return to an egg we’ll be able to peel with ease unless we decide to go backwards a hundred years in time. The process is simply too difficult.
When purchasing free range eggs we still must consider the chicken will probably take in some pesticides and such. Additionally, picture the farmer’s daughter walking through the barnyard throwing out corn for the chickens. This all sounds good and the farmer can say he grew the corn and proclaim it meets all the requirements for selling eggs labeled free range. Therein is another problem. Big Agra no longer makes seed that is not treated before it is sold.
Is there a chance you could have a dozen or so hens where you live?
November 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm
Ha ha. Sorry, therefore my rant. 🙂
I believe a lot of the problem has to do with profit with a capital P. One lady in this discussion brought home a carton of 10 free range eggs instead of the usual 12. Hmm.
Thanks so much for your informative comments, Sheri. You always contribute wonderful feedback. 🙂
November 10, 2013 at 4:04 am
I honestly don’t know how to grade eggs at all. I always buy the free range eggs. Loved your post 🙂
November 11, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Thank you. I’ve learned a lot in this conversation. Seems even range free eggs are shrinking and one lady brought home 10 instead of the usual carton of 12 range free eggs. Hmm. 😉
November 10, 2013 at 7:00 am
I have noticed the variances, but then I figure it’s just nature – eggs aren’t manufactured by a machine, so they’re not going to be all the same every time, or behave all the same way. If we buy fruit and veg, it’s all slightly different shaped and different tasting, and might take slightly different amounts of time to cook. Things change over time with farming because of changing practices but other than that, I think we have to just accept that nature does things a little bit different each time, and personally I’m pleased about that! I don’t have any answers about the grading though! 🙂
November 11, 2013 at 6:44 pm
One lady mentioned she brought home a carton of range-free eggs and they have been shrinking too. And, an added surprise, the carton contained 10 not 12 and she hadn’t noticed immediately.
Funny practices are going on. 😉
November 12, 2013 at 1:15 am
November 10, 2013 at 11:06 am
Good grief, Tesss–how do you keep track of all these responses! I’m impressed.
OK–you’ve reminded me I haven’t had a hard boiled egg in ages. That’ll be lunch.
November 11, 2013 at 6:27 pm
Ever tried one in a salad. Too delicious. 😉
November 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm
THe main thing about eggs is, to encourage people to buy free range. Reduce the amount of cruelty in the world. And I go for the ice bath too!
November 11, 2013 at 5:47 pm
But the free range are shrinking too.
November 11, 2013 at 4:30 am
Here in SA I only buy Jumbo Free Range Eggs now, the large and extra large eggs have definitely shrunk over the years. Sometimes even “fresh” eggs well before their sell-by date spread all over the pan when frying. I had one carton of 6 where the shells were paper thin but the other carton bought at exactly the same time had normal shells. Today’s chickens are not very conistent 😉
November 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm
Something is messing with them. 🙂
November 11, 2013 at 6:03 am
This is an eggcellent posting Tess 🙂
November 11, 2013 at 5:47 pm
Thanks, Andro. 😉
November 12, 2013 at 4:03 am
Hey you’re welcome 🙂
How are you fairing with
this quarters FTP’s? I am
rather behind with mine
but I will finish them off
before the deadline 🙂
Have a lovely Tuesday Tess 🙂
November 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm
Hmm, are the changes also related to all the artificial ingredients in their feed and the antibiotics and such? I’ve definitely noticed those size differences, too, not only with the eggs. Same price, maybe. But for less product than we used to receive!
November 11, 2013 at 5:38 pm
Poor hens are probably barely mature so producing smaller eggs maybe? Anyway, I thought I’d see if anyone else had anything to say about their eggs. Thanks so much for joining the conversation. 😉
November 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm
My mom used to tell me that if you run cold water over eggs, it will help make the peeling easier, but that theory is not all it’s cracked up to be. Fun post, Tess!
November 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm
I love boiled eggs but I loathe peeling them so I learned a quicker much more efficient way to eat my eggs. I take the egg, then I take a spoon and hit the middle of the egg. I break it in half. Then I take the spoon and scoop out the egg. It comes out perfectly. and I don’t have small little peelings all over the place. and I can cup the eggs peels and throw them away together.
If you don’t want your yokes to turn grey, you bring your eggs to a boil and then shut off the heat. Let them sit and cook in the hot water. They will come out perfect every time.
I think it is the antibiotics and horrible living conditions and the change in the feed…which is probablly mostly corn which is unedible for human comsumption that has changed the quality of our store bought massed produced eggs. Have you ever noticed that farm fresh eggs the shell is hard. A normal chicken living in normal conditions produce eggs that will survive being sat on. I wonder if a chicken sat on her thin shelled white mass produced egg if it would break under her body pressure…hmmm I wonder.
November 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm
My dad used to take a knife and cut the egg, shell and all lengthwise. I have too on occasion. This post has been for the conversation and varied ideas but mostly the principal of what the heck is happening to our eggs. I’m pleased I spoke up. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have heard this ‘problem has been experienced by others in far-reaching areas. Sheesh. I love the internet. 🙂 Don’t you?
November 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm
It’s been fun! I am almost becoming an addict.
What affect do you think antibotics and other crap they give these chickens to make them produce eggs for the masses has on the shells and in- ability to peel our eggs?! Something is seriously wrong with corporate farming!
November 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm
That’s my complaint! What the heck are they doing to the chickens that their eggs aren’t like they used to be?
This has indeed been a great conversation topic. Thanks so much for joining in and adding to it. 😀
BTW, are the dogs behaving?
November 21, 2013 at 6:33 am
So far so good. I am trying to keep everything up off the floor and out of reach. I have put a chain around the cupboard doors and am going to buy a hook and eye when I get paid next for both doors. thanks to your advice. Every now and again I forget something and if and when I do Moe is right there at the ready! Geez I can’t win. It makes it easier if I keep the r.v. clutter free. I’m trying. Fun Fun!
November 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm
So long as you’re having fun, those puppies are good company. *smiles*
December 12, 2013 at 9:48 am
December 12, 2013 at 9:52 am