Have you ever felt overwhelmed with choices at the grocery store? Am I choosing the best option for my family and their health? Eggs are a huge part of my nutrition. I have switched to mostly vegetarian eating with a pescatarian slant. I do allow myself to eat some meat on rare occasions. Eggs are a great easy part of the way I eat, especially when I have no idea what’s for dinner and I want a quick easy to prepare meal. Breakfast for dinner ya’ll. Eggs on toast. Scrambled eggs, hash and mushrooms and a good old poached egg with some rice and veggies in a bowl with hot sauce and it feels like we are eating out. Eggs have been vital for protein on my vegetarian-pescatarian road.
There are so many egg options on the shelf so how do I choose the best eggs for my family. Pasture raised or organic was the filter for me. However recently I took a French cooking class and we talked eggs in great detail. When choosing eggs, take a look at the carton to see how old the eggs are. It is not just looking sell by date, that’s the obvious one to most of us. Since fresh eggs are best, this step is critical in the grocery store. If you got them from a farmers market, you can safely assume that they are very fresh.
Anatomy of an egg box label. There is the sell by date that shows a month and a day. There is a plant number (facility where is came from) and a pack date (based on the Julian calendar -hello I don’t know what you are talking about!) Yeah me too. To determine freshness, a Julian date or pack-date calendar can be used. Chef’s and bakers look at these numbers to successfully run their kitchen’s and bakeries.
Take a look at the side of your next egg carton. Now decoding the Julian date… January 1 as 001 and ending with December 31 as 365. These numbers represent the consecutive days of the year. The Julian date is when the eggs were washed and packed into the carton. You can store fresh shell eggs in their cartons in the refrigerator for four to five weeks beyond this date. Information from the egg safely site. Eggs can be sold for up to 30 days after they were packaged. As mentioned on tasteofhome.com, as an egg ages, it loses moisture and carbon dioxide, making the whites thinner and the yolk more susceptible to breaking. And when you eat old or expired eggs, your risk of getting a food-borne disease from them increases.
The Julian calculator can be tricky and who wants to whip out a calculator at the store. So if you are buying eggs in early to mid January, look for lower numbers (015 will be significantly fresher than 364). If you’re buying eggs later in the year, look for the highest number possible. So for example if you see 230 and its the month of August, the eggs must be fresh because approximately 230 divided by 30 for the months of the year =7.6 so these were packed in the back end of July and if we are in the month of August, say the first week, then these would be about 2-3 weeks old.
A check list
- Julian Date
- Consider buying eggs that are under refrigeration, this can vary by country.
- Check for cracks and also look for dirt on the egg shells.
- AA are best in grading
- Pasture Raised are best type.