Another way of judging the quality of eggs consists in observing the condition of the surface of the shell. When eggs are freshly laid, the shell is covered with a substance, called bloom, that gives it a feeling much like that of a thin lime coating deposited in a pan after water boils. This coating disappears gradually as the egg is exposed to the air, but as long as it remains, the egg may be considered as fresh and germ-proof. While this way of determining freshness is probably the quickest, it is possible that the quality of some eggs from which the bloom has recently disappeared has not been injured.
When eggs are selected in the market, certain points in their appearance should also be noted. If eggs of the best quality are desired, medium-sized ones that are uniform in size and color should be selected. With regard to shape, they should have a comparatively long oval shell, one end of which is blunt and the other, a sharp curve. After eggs have been received in thehome, several simple tests for determining their freshness can be applied in addition to the ones already mentioned. A rather indefinite test, but one that is sometimes applied to determine the freshness of an egg, is to shake it. However, to be able to carry out this test successfully, it is well to understand the interior structure of an egg. Fig. 2 illustrates this clearly. At When the water inside the shell evaporates, the yolk and white shrink so much that they can be felt moving from side to side when the egg is shaken. The staler the egg, the more pronounced does the movement become. This method should be applied only immediately before the egg is to be used, as the thin membrane between the yolkand the white and the spiral cords that hold up the yolk are liable to be disturbed by the shaking. If they are broken, the yolk will settle and finally adhere to the shell in case the egg is stored for any length of time after that. If nothing has been done to preserve eggs, the simple test for freshne, which consists in placing the eggs in a glass containing water, will be found effective. A perfectly fresh egg will sink when it is put into the water, but if the egg is 3 weeks old the broad end will rise slightly from the bottom of the glass. An egg that is 3 months old will sink into water until only a slight portion of the shell remains exposed; whereas, if the egg is older or stale,it will rise in the water until nearly half of it is exposed. The test known as candling, which is usually applied to eggs before they are put on themarket, can also be practiced by the housewife in the home. This method of determining the freshness of eggs consists in placing a piece of cardboardcontaining a hole a little smaller than an egg between the eye and a light, which may be from a lamp, a gas jet, or an electric light, and holding the egg in front of the light in the manner shown in Fig. 4. The rays of light passing through the egg show the condition of the egg, the size of its air space, and the growth of mold or the spoiling of the egg by any ordinary means. If the housewife does not wish to resort to candling, she may determine the condition of an egg by breaking it into a saucer and examining it carefully. If the egg is newly laid, no odor will be detected and the white will be clear, elastic, and rather thick; also, where it joins the yolk it will be almostsolid. The yolk of such an egg will have an even yellow color, without lighter or darker spots and,will stand up well from the surface of the white. Sometimes a small spot of blood may be detected on the yolk of a perfectly fresh egg, but, while this is not pleasant to look at, it does not affect the quality of the egg. When an egg that is not real fresh is broken into a saucer, the yolk will lie flat In an egg that is quite stale, the membrane surrounding the yolk is easily destroyed, so that even when such an egg is broken carefully the yolk and the white are likely to run together.
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