I'm not a perfect locavore in any way. I try to buy local, in-season produce, but then sometimes I find myself with a pineapple, or a banana, or a mid-winter red pepper. But I try pretty hard. In the warmer part of the year, I get the majority of my food from a CSA and a farm market, and in the cooler part of the year, I rely on a buying club and can get almost everything I need from local folks. Don't look too hard in my fridge at the pickles or the worcestershire.
There are huge advantages to eating this way. You can get to know the producers. You understand what you're eating. You help the local economy. Your food is fresher. You get more variety, year round.
One of the tiny drawbacks, however, faces me every time I go to use an egg. I get my eggs from my CSA right now, and when that's over I'll get them from another fairly local farm. That means that my eggs aren't always sold in new cartons that are clearly labeled with the date. So sometimes, eggs are a gamble. Did we get those eggs two weeks ago, or was it the week before that? Which of the two cartons in the fridge is newer?
This is a big deal because I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to spoiled food, and I really don't want to open up a bad egg. REALLY don't want to. I'm the kind of girl who cuts my apples with a knife to get an advance peek and avoid surprises. So eggs can get me all anxious and sweaty, especially when I lose track of the date.
But even with a date, eggs can last way longer than what's stamped on the side of the carton. And we throw out way too much food, both as a society and in my own kitchen.
It was many months ago - really, it was early spring - when I was cooking with a friend and asked her to crack the eggs and told her why. She's not nearly as easily rattled as I am, so I thought she could handle it better. She looked at me, surprised, and said, "Don't you know how to test an egg?"
Nope. I had no idea how to test an egg. She pulled a drinking glass out of my cabinet, filled it with water and slowly dropped an egg in. It sunk to the bottom and she declared it safe to eat. Eggs that float, apparently, have begun to create gas inside the shell and are spoiling. I wasn't sure I should believe her - especially since all my eggs sunk - so I Googled. And this is a known trick. So I'm not sharing anything new here, just new to me.
I planned to write about it and tell you all - but I had one big problem... all my eggs sat at the bottom of my drinking glasses, fresh and gas-less. I had no example of the other outcome to share. My eggs were lasting forever in the fridge. Two seasons later, I have good news: one of my eggs spoiled! Yay, a rotten egg!
This is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.
Become a member-owner (like me!) by filling out the application here.