There is no difference in taste or nutritional value between white and brown eggs. The breed of chicken determines the color of an egg’s shell. Freshness, however does affect taste, so always buy the freshest eggs available. The best option is to find someone selling local eggs nearby. For years we raised our own chickens and had plenty of fresh eggs year round. We no longer have our own chickens, but instead rely on a neighbor who has chickens and often has eggs available for sale.
Eggs are best used within a week of purchase, but will last up to three weeks in the refrigerator.
A simple test will tell whether an egg is still fresh, place the egg in a small bowl of water. A fresh egg will stay on its side; an older egg will stand straight up and float. Eggshells are porous to air, but if so much air has permeated the shell that it has made the egg buoyant, it’s a clear sign that the egg has been sitting around too long and should be thrown away.
Old eggs will not necessarily spoil or cause food-borne illness, but they may dry up, lose flavor, or develop unpleasant odors.
When purchasing eggs from the grocery store check the carton and see is it has a USDA shield on it. It’ll also have a three-digit code. That’s the pack date. The code corresponds to the day of the year. 001 means the eggs were packed on January first. 364 means they were packed on December 30. You may also see a sell by, use by or best by on the carton. The sell by date is one month from when the eggs were packed, while the use by or best by date is no more than 45 days from the pack date.
When you purchase eggs you want to buy the freshest eggs possible, ideally if you buy your eggs directly from the farm, you will be getting the freshest eggs. Fresh eggs will have the most flavor.
Eggs will keep, refrigerated, for several weeks before the quality starts to slide – five weeks according to the USDA. But remember those eggs you purchase at the grocery store may have already been sitting in the store or in storage for a while. Eggs should not be stored on the refrigerator door, but in the main body of the refrigerator to ensure that they keep a consistent and cool temperature.
Buy the freshest eggs possible, check the codes if purchasing from the grocery store and when in doubt put the eggs to the water test. Buying and storing eggs the right way is important to ensure you are getting the most use for your grocery dollars.