Eggs can be considered essential in the average food store, and like any other animal product, their freshness is of great importance. One of the many unlikeable features of such farm-fresh eggs is that they may harbor dirt and other unsightly stains. Yet, experts advise that these stains not be washed off, whether for retail purposes or cooking.
A common misconception when it comes to eggs is that they pose a significant danger when dirty, and thus, washing is a required basic before eating.
While this isn't entirely incorrect as eggshells can indeed harbor harmful bacteria, scientists say that washing your eggs may promote the spread of bacteria.
Experts offer that the best outcome that anyone can gain from washing eggs is what has already been done by the egg's shell.
Amy Leigh Mercree, holistic health expert and bestselling author, says:
"If you wash an egg before you cook it, because its shell is porous, the water…can push bacteria into the egg."
Mercree further asserts that bacteria can form or replicate on the surface of an egg but that the shell is enough protection from them. So, giving the shells a scrubs will only facilitate the absorption of the microbes because the shells become more porous.
Things get even worse if the eggs were scrubbed hard, in a bowl of water or under running water as the bacteria has just enough force to drive them into the egg.
If you're planning to make soft-boiled eggs, you may be at higher risk of getting infected as you may not have cooked the egg to a temperature that is high enough to kill the bacteria.
Thus, the expert advice that you avoid washing your egg as much as possible. Since fresh farm eggs are especially prone to harbor dirt, you can choose to purchase pre-packaged eggs that undergo a process termed commercial washing.
The process is USDA-approved and involves washing, which removes the natural protective coating called a "bloom" or a "cuticle" from the surface of the egg.
However, the egg is covered by a film of edible mineral oil after washing to prevent potential contamination. If washed or scrubbed again after this, say when you want to cook, the egg is left porous and possibly contaminated, as explained above.
The bottom line is never to wash eggs, whether they are store-bought or farm fresh.
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