What is it with egg issues lately?
Satisfy my curiosity please. Were these eggs USDA graded? Were they white or brown shelled?
Small blood spots (not more than 1/8") are classified as "B" grade. Larger spots, diffusion of blood into the albumen, blood due to germ development, lines or rings are classified as inedible.
Somewhere around page 24:
Grade A, organic and cage free. The blood spot is tiny. To be honest, in the last few years, but with increasing frequency, it has not been unusual for me to find that half of the carton of eggs have blood spots--and I've bought different brands in an attempt to avoid the issue. The only thing the eggs have in common is that they have all been organic and cage free. I started to wonder whether that had anything to do with it. But in any event, do folks suggest not using. It does make me uneasy, but then I think that ihad been hard boiled, I would not have known the blood spot was there.
If the carton had the USDA shield, all those eggs should have been sold as grade B. But, as the handbook notes, defects in brown eggs are more difficult to detect so that could be a factor. I doubt the organic and free range classifications have anything to do with it but the species of chicken could. The handbook points out blood spots can be a genetic trait.
In any case, if the spots are small, the manual says they're okay to use.
I have zero experience with organic and free range products so maybe someone else has had similar issues. I can't remember the last time I've seen a blood spot on a conventional egg.
The eggs with tiny spots are fine to eat. If you are terribly squeamish, you can remove the spot with a spoon, but once an egg is beaten, the fleck disappears. Cage-free has EVERYTHING to do with it. The chickens are allowed to be chickens and lead a normal life that includes contact with a rooster. Remember, the basic purpose of eggs is reproduction, not to provide humans with food!
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
I think Maedl is correct. I occasionally see that tiny blood spot which I've been told means the hen has had a close encounter with a rooster. But unlike ChefOno I haven't actually studied the literature. I prefer locally farmed, free range brown eggs myself. I like the flavor and the fact that the yolks are brighter. They are usually unevenly sized in the carton, but who cares?
I fascinated with this issue. Does this mean the egg is fertilized, Pierino? Sometimes I notice the blood spot has a bit of a solid piece of albumen attached. I have not noticed it as much lately but also buy mostly free range, organic and this is where I see it too. I usually ignore the blood spots but have been curious about them.
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I can't afford to toss eggs with a tiny blood spot in them. I buy my eggs direct from the farmer, and lots of them have that speck. I wouldn't toss it unless I saw the real beginnings of an embryo in the shell.
Once you beat the eggs, the spots disappear.
Brown eggs are harder to candle, which is how eggs with spots are separated out. While blood spots will make the egg non-kosher, it doesn't effect the taste or baking properties of the egg.
hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.
The blood spots don't mean the egg is fertilized, typically they are caused by a minor blood vessel rupture in the ovary or oviduct. My impression is they are more common in cage free hens - which makes sense in my mind because more activity means more opportunity for minor traumas to happen. They are not dangerous, but can be aesthetically troublesome.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
That makes perfect sense, hla. I notice them much more since I shifted exclusively to cage-free eggs. And as Pierino mentions, there is more variation in size. I get around that by measuring them by volume: the average Grade AA Large egg comprises 1.66 ounces. That times the number of eggs a recipe calls for equals the total ounces of eggs needed. Global warming bothers me; blood spots in eggs, not at all.
My mother removed the blood spot with a piece of egg shell, which makes a much better scoop than a spoon.
I also try to use organic free range eggs and I often find small blood spots in them. Usually I ignore them completely. Occasionally, if it's larger or brighter than usual, I'll remove it with a piece of eggshell. If I'm using the egg raw or for meringue, I'm always careful to remove it. I say ignore it unless you can't stand it aesthetically. At least, eating eggs with them never seemed to do me any harm.
So given all this, should grade A organic and free range eggs still not contain blood spots? And does anyone know why most organic, free range eggs are brown as opposed to white--I know it has to do with the chicken, but i would think they could have chickens that lay white eggs that are alsp raised in a cage free environment and are fed organic feed. it sounds like a white organic, free range egg would cover all my issues, because I have to say, the blood spot still bothers me.
Not all eggs are USDA graded -- look for the USDA shield on the carton.
USDA grade A eggs should not have blood spots but, as rachelib pointed out, brown eggs are harder to candle so rejects sometimes get through. The USDA quality program take into account such issues as well as a variance in weight per egg and weight per carton. But they shouldn't vary by a great deal.
I can tell you *exactly* why you'll find more brown organic / free range / cage-free eggs. Because people believe (wrongly) that they're more healthful or more natural.
Hmmm… I'll see your NPR and raise you Perdue.
The idea that the color of a chicken's feathers relates to the color of its eggs doesn't hold up. The chicken's earlobes are a better indicator, but even that isn't an absolute. Genetics is a trickster.
As for the prevalence of white eggs in this country, it's true that most people prefer a "clean" white egg but that's not the reason there're the norm. Cost of feed is (or at least was). Long story short, white egg layers are less expensive to feed.
I just looked in Whole Foods tonight, and I only found one brand, of the many brands they carry, that had a 6 egg carton of white cage free eggs, and they're not labeled organic (though they say they're antibiotic, hormone free/natural feed). I'm curious to see what the blood spot scenario will be. I'll keep you all posted.
P.S. ChefOno, all the eggs I have bought are USDA Grade A, and as I mentioned, half of them frequently had blood spots. So I'm not sure how the USDA can make those claims.
The USDA doesn't assign the grades, the packer does. The USDA performs spot-checks along the entire supply chain including retail stores to make sure the regulations are met. The guide I referenced explains in detail but there are allowances made for certain variables, one of which is the difficulty of detecting small blood spots though brown shells. What those tolerances are, I don't know. That's beyond the limits of my knowledge.
Well, thanks for all this info. So far, no blood spots in my white eggs. We'll see what the rest of the carton brings. I'm thinking of trying the light blue heirloom eggs next.
Fascinated to hear the results--let us know
I too buy organic brown eggs. While they do have a higher incidence of blood spots, they TASTE (and smell) much, much better than the mega-farmed white eggs. The yolks are big, firm and the perfect shade of yellow while the whites actually maintain their shape in the frying pan. At the end of the day, as with most things, you get what you pay for.
ChefoOno, the USDA is as dirty as the FDA.
Blood spots totally gross me out because I am weak & squeamish & an a long-tern vegetarian who almost never eats anything capable of bleeding. That said, all they are is fertilized (aka: 'too close contact with a rooster'). Eggs, especially farm-fresh-non-supermarket eggs, being so precious it is probably a high-crime to dump them. I try not to.
I've started buying farm fresh white eggs, which have thus far been bloodspot free.
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