“Hello I was wondering if fertilized eggs taste any different than regular eggs without a rooster?”
This reader didn’t leave their name but I thank them for the question.
Some people would absolutely insist that a fertilized egg tastes better than a non-fertilized egg. Popular opinion (including my own) says that there is no difference in taste between the two. Common sense backs up this opinion too.
You may remember from Vol 2: Issue: 2 – Wednesday 28th January 2009, we discussed the anatomy of an egg. Here’s an excerpt from that week:
“The hen’s reproductive system is made up of an ovary and an oviduct. A mature ovary, which looks like a cluster of grapes, may contain up to 4,000 small ova. Each of these ova can develop into a yolk.
About 7-9 days before ovulation, hormones cause an ovum to develop in sequence to a yolk. Each yolk is attached to the ovary by a thin membrane with a fine network of blood vessels.
On each yolk is a white spot called the germinal disc, this is the true ova. All eggs, whether fertile or not contain this disc. Crack an egg open and see if you can find it.
Once a rooster and hen mate, the sperm is held in the oviduct. As the yolk leaves the ovary and enters the oviduct, the sperm joins with the ova (the germinal disc) and fertilization occurs.”
If you’ve ever taken me up on my challenge and looked for the germinal disc (the white spot on the yolk) you know that it is very small. I’m not great with estimating percentages but let’s suffice it to say that the tiny germinal disc, fertilized or not, makes up an extremely small percentage of the egg as a whole.
If a fertilized egg is not stored properly and then incubated, there is no possible way a chick will develop within. Without development, the fertilized ova will not grow. If it doesn’t grow, it still remains a very small part of the egg.
Without belaboring the point, let me give you an illustration.
I enjoy baking so let’s consider a pie. If I were to make an apple pie and accidentally dropped a few grains of rice into the filling, would it change the taste of the pie? You see my point.
I do have a theory as to why people believe that fertilized eggs taste better though.
Most eggs sold in the grocery store are from hens that have never been near a rooster. Recently I’ve seen “fertile eggs” in the main stream grocery stores but the majority of eggs sold are unfertile and unfortunately, from battery farms.
In our country, egg cartons must be stamped with a Julian Date on the day they are packaged for shipping.
The Julian Date is the day of the year so that January 1st would be “001” and December 31st would be “365”. Federal regulations state that the eggs can stay on the shelf up to 45 days from the Julian Date. The expiration date is usually 2-3 weeks beyond the 45 days. In other words, an egg from the grocery store could be 2 months old and still be within the expiration date parameters!
I would think that if someone was used to eating unfertilized eggs from the grocery store and they had the opportunity to eat a fertilized egg from a local farm, they would assume that the difference in taste comes from the fertilization, not realizing that they were eating a FRESH egg for the first time. Just my thoughts and since they are free, take them for what they’re worth.
If you’re wondering, there is also no nutritional difference between a fertilized and unfertilized egg. There would be a small increase in male hormones but not enough to change the nutrient make-up.
There is however, a vast nutritional difference between eggs from battery hens and eggs from free range, forage fed chickens.
But that’s a topic for another issue.
In the mean time, I hope you all have a wonderful week.