Using eggs from my backyard chickens in a recipe

Asked December 30, 2013, 7:13 AM EST

I am making Tiramisu, which uses raw eggs. I have heard that for hard boiling and beating and baking, you should NOT use eggs fresher than 3 days old. I don't know why or if that is even true. For this recipe in which the whites and the yolks are used separately, should I use my freshest eggs or ones that are like 5-7 days old?

Washington County Maryland

1 Response

How recently an egg was laid has a bearing on its freshness but is only one of many factors. The temperature and humidity level at which the egg is held play their parts as well. These variables are so important that an egg one week old, held under ideal conditions, can be fresher than an egg left at room temperature for one day. The ideal conditions for egg storage are temperatures between 35 and 40ºF (2º to 4ºC) and a relative humidity of 70 to 80%. As an egg ages, the white becomes thinner, the yolk becomes flatter and the yolk membrane becomes weaker. These changes don’t have any great effect on the nutritional quality of the egg or its functional cooking properties in recipes. Appearance may be affected though. When poached or fried, the fresher the egg, the more it will hold its shape rather than spread out in the pan. However, if you hard-boil eggs that are at least a week old, you’ll find them easier to peel than fresher eggs. The stronger the yolk membrane, the less likely the yolk will break inadvertently.

Raw Egg Warning: Since raw eggs may contain the bacteria Salmonella enteritidis, it’s recommended that you don’t consume raw or undercooked eggs. Salmonella may be found inside the egg, most likely in the white, so it’s necessary to properly cook all eggs and egg dishes before eating. For safety, many recipes that contain raw or undercooked eggs can be revised with a cooking step. Pasteurized shell eggs or pasteurized egg products are also safe alternatives to use in these recipes.

Consider using a recipe that begins with a cooked custard to avoid the concern of using raw eggs in your dish. One recipe source to check out: