Not all eggs are the perfect shape or color, and occasionally we find some with unusual albumen (egg white) colors or consistency. Such as red, green, yellow, cloudy, or watery. Some people just throw them out, but why waste otherwise good eggs just because they looks unusual?
In this article, we will go through these five most common types of unusual egg whites, discuss what causes their unusual colors and consistencies, and whether they are safe to eat.
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Why Is the Egg White Red or Bloody?
Egg whites that contain a tinge of red are often known as an egg with a blood spot. Most keepers know that blot spots are common and rarely an indicator of serious issues. But sometimes it’s more than just a small spot, and the entire egg white is red. Although this usually only takes place in the egg yolk, the blood can occasionally diffuse through the albumen as well.
So, what causes the red color in your egg whites?
A common cause of bloody eggs is a ruptured blood vessel within the oviduct. Usually, this is a minor injury caused by the egg-laying process, but can also be provoked by an improper diet or a traumatic experience. A lot of blood in the albumen means that this rupture has been unusually big.
An improper diet with high Vitamin K levels can cause the oviduct to rupture more easily, causing droplets of blood in the egg during its formation hours. This results in the red tinge that you see in the egg whites.
Chickens are also easily startled, so loud sounds or sudden encounters with predators can scare them. This can result in a ruptured oviduct which then creates a red or bloody egg condition.
If this happens a lot, you can nip these issues in the bud once you’ve found the cause by switching your chicken’s diet or provided them a safer environment.
If you continue to get bloody albumen after you’ve taken these steps, then it may be a sign of a health problem in your flock. Some flu strains may cause the oviduct’s rupturing; hence you should take your chicken to a vet if you continue to see red or bloody eggs being laid.
It is a common misconception that a Pseudomonas infection could cause red egg white, but this is unlikely. Pseudomonas causes green, not red egg whites.
Can I Eat Red Egg Whites?
Provided you cook the egg, there should be no risk from eating egg white containing blood (chicken meat also occasionally contains a little blood). Although it may look less appetizing, depending on how you feel about it. In which case, you can also cook the egg and feed it back to your chickens. That way, it doesn’t go to waste.
Unless, of course, you suspect the eggs have gone rotten with an unmistakable stench or funny taste, in which case you should throw them away.
An easy way to remove smaller blood spots from your egg whites is to use the eggshell to scoop them off. You can also use the tip of the knife to remove the unwanted reds in your egg whites.
Why Is the Egg White Green?
Egg whites with a tinge of green can be worrying, as it’s not a common occurrence. Here are several reasons why your egg whites are visibly green when you crack open an egg.
High Riboflavin Content
Greenish egg whites are often caused by a high content of riboflavin or more commonly known as Vitamin B2. While this usually causes a yellow color it can also lead to a light green hue.
B2 It’s mostly present in high-quality, farm-fresh eggs, which is a desirable trait. Albumen that is high in riboflavin is also commonly seen in eggs from free-range chickens.
High Chlorophyll Content
A chlorophyll-rich diet can also cause a green tinge to your egg whites. This is common in chickens that are often fed weeds or have lots of vegetables in their diets. You could stop the occurrence of greenish egg whites by switching out your chicken’s diet for less green products, but why would you do that?
Improper Storage and Bacterial Contamination
Improper egg storage can also cause the egg whites to turn green. However, this should only happen if your eggs have been stored under unsuitable conditions for a long period. You will not be in doubt if your egg is rotting as the smell is very unpleasant.
Pseudomonas is an infection caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria which is commonly found in plants, soil, and water. Egg white from infected chickens or eggs that have been infected through contact with infected soil or water will eventually turn green as they rot.
Greenish Egg Whites: Is It Safe to Eat?
All things considered, are eggs with greenish albumen safe to eat? In general, there shouldn’t be a problem with eating eggs with a greenish tinge like you usually do. Although the slight green tinge may be jarring to many first-time cooks, the egg is usually safe to eat as normal.
If you’re unsure about the condition of the eggs for consumption, you may give the eggs a sniff before you eat them. Eggs that have gone rotten will often give off an unbearable smell, making them unsafe for consumption.
Separately, you may want to reconsider how you’re cooking your eggs. Eggs cooked at extremely high heat tend to discolor, creating a green tinge that may turn you away from perfectly normal eggs. You may try to cook at a slower heat to see if it would help reduce the green in your eggs.
Some home cooks have also noted that cooking with aluminum pans almost always turns their egg whites green. Where possible, you may want to switch to stainless steel pans or non-stick pans when frying an egg. This should help eliminate or reduce the occurrence of having greenish egg whites.
If you suspect that the green color is caused by Pseudomonas infected chickens, make sure to throw out the egg and contact a vegetarian. Both chickens and humans with a weakened immune system are at risk of a Pseudomonas infection. Although healthy people are less likely to get infected, it is not recommended to tempt faith by consuming infected eggs.
Why is the Egg White Yellow?
Although egg whites are typically clear white, occationally you will see a yellow tinge surrounding the egg whites.
High Riboflavin Content
The yellow tinge on albumen is usually caused by a riboflavin-rich diet. Better known as Vitamin B2, which is an important nutrient for people and chickens alike. Riboflavin is a natural yellow coloring.
When a chicken is fed a lot of riboflavin-rich foods, such as carrots or corn, the yellow food colors will be passed on to the eggs. This results in the yellow tinge that you will see on some egg whites. If you’re a chicken keeper and prefer your egg whites without yellowing, then you can switch to a less riboflavin-rich feed.
Subsequently, the yellow tinge in your egg whites may also be caused by improper storage of the eggs. When the eggs are stored in high temperatures, this can cause the albumen to turn yellow. An easy way to avoid this is by storing your eggs at a lower temperature. While there is no benefit to storing eggs in the fridge, they should be kept at 77F (25C) or lower.
The Egg Is Old
Older eggs may also carry a tinge of yellow in their egg whites, so if you happen to crack open an egg that you’ve purchased a while back, it’s likely that the whites of the egg will seem more yellowish. This is an easy way to identify the freshness of an egg that you have already cracked open.
Is it safe to eat yellowish egg whites?
Considering how yellowish egg whites are not a common occurrence, would it be safe to eat these eggs?
Yellowish egg whites are generally safe for consumption. This is as the yellow tinge usually comes from a riboflavin-rich diet, which is an important nutrient. While this may look unusual, it does not taste any different from regular eggs.
If you’re concerned about your eggs being too old, you can perform a smell test to see if they’ve gone bad. Rotting eggs usually give out an unpleasant stench of sulfur, so if your yellow eggs smell bad, throw them out.
Why is the Egg White Cloudy?
Some people may be concerned when they see a cloudy or almost milky-like egg white as they crack open an egg. But why does this does happen?
The Eggs are Fresh
Typically, cloudy egg whites only occur when you have extremely fresh eggs. While this may not look as attractive if you are used to the clear whites from store-bought eggs, this is evidence of farm-fresh eggs. In fact, many chefs and home cooks intentionally seek egg whites that seem cloudy or milky, as this is the best way to know if an egg is very fresh.
The cloudiness is caused by a high amount of carbon dioxide in your eggs, and cloudy egg whites are a sign that the carbon dioxide in the eggs has not yet dispersed through the eggshells.
They Have Been Frozen
You may also notice the same cloudy look on egg whites from eggs that have previously been frozen. This can be during storage or eggs that have been lying overnight in a below-freezing coop.
Eggs that have been previously frozen will have a thick yolk that will not blend well with other ingredients, making them less useful for cooking. This can be avoided by storing your eggs are room temperature the next time you purchase them, instead of putting them in the fridge.
Are Cloudy Egg Whites Safe to Eat?
Since cloudy egg whites indicate freshness, the answer is, yes, the egg is safe for cooking or baking. You’ll notice the cloudiness dispersing as you cook, resulting in the regular whites in eggs that you see after cooking.
Although no studies have been made to compare the differences between fresh eggs with cloudy whites to regular eggs with a clear egg white, some chefs and home cooks have noted that fresher eggs often create more aromatic dishes.
If you’re keen to explore cooking with slightly cloudy egg whites, you could try to source your eggs directly from a farmer. This way you know that you’re getting the freshest eggs possible.
Why is the Egg White Watery?
Egg whites are typically a thick and viscous texture, so it’s understandable how watery egg whites can be a cause for concern. But what causes the egg whites to be watery?
Your Eggs Are Stale
Watery egg whites are usually a result of stale and old eggs. The storage temperature and humidity conditions can also hasten the aging process of the eggs, resulting in the watery egg whites that you see after cracking one open. Thus, you should avoid storing your eggs in high-temperature areas or places with low humidity.
Your Hens are Old
Having a flock of older hens can also be the cause of watery albumen This is common when you have a flock of chickens that are approximately 4 to 6 years old, as they may not reproduce as they used to.
If you’re experiencing watery egg whites from a flock of young chickens, then it may be a sign of infectious bronchitis or other flu strains in your chickens. Especially if you have also noticed a significant drop in egg production and/or one or more of your chickens are showing symptoms such as nasal discharge, coughing, and rales.
A good way to avoid this is by following through with a good vaccination schedule and to separate your ill chickens from the healthy flock.
If you suspect that one or more of your chickens are suffering from any respiratory disease, a visit to the vet is recommended as they can provide you the right answers. These are serious diseases that often have a high mortality rate.
Watery Egg Whites: Can I Still Eat Them?
Considering how watery egg whites are often a sign of stale eggs, can they still be eaten? Thankfully, yes, they can. Although the eggs may not look appetizing upon being cracked open, you can still use them for your cooking or baking.
However, you’ll want to check to see if the eggshells are intact and have no cracks. Eggs with cracked hells are often vulnerable to bacteria penetration and should be avoided in most cases. Most types of bacteria are killed when cooked, but they may have already produced toxins that are not affected by high temperatures.
A good way to check for cracks this is by placing the egg in a cup of water. If you see bubbles emitting from the egg, then there is a hairline crack, and you should not consume the egg.
Furthermore, if you notice an unpleasant smell from the egg upon cracking it open, then you should not use it in your cooking. This is a sign that the egg has become rotten and can be harmful to concume.
If you’re unsure about the condition of the egg, you may want to crack it open in a separate bowl before adding it to your cooking or baking mix.