Fresh eggs floating

I’d like to know your opinion on this or any insight you might have. A person who buys eggs from us complained that some of them floated when she immersed them in water. I apologized and looked this up on the internet and found various sites that suggested such eggs are no longer viable for eating because they’re spoiled and should be thrown away. Since that time, I’ve been floating our eggs in deep water, and even some of the freshest eggs (less than a week old and kept in the fridge) ‘float’–they don’t lie totally horizontally on the sink bottom but rather pivot on their tip in the water. Some of the eggs less than three weeks old float above the bottom a little, others a bit more. I’m puzzled by this situation. In the summer I gather the eggs two or three times a day, and they immediately go into the fridge. They couldn’t get any fresher.

In summary, even some of the freshest eggs float a little bit, or quite a bit in some cases. I thought farm-fresh eggs were supposed to be viable for many weeks if kept in the fridge.

We wash our eggs about once a week and put them back in the fridge for keeping. I wonder if washing the protective coating off the eggs allows more air to enter through the shell, causing them to float. This shouldn’t render them spoiled, should it? We’ve always eaten even the floating ones, as I know they’re good, having only been in the fridge for less than a month or six weeks at the very longest. We’ve never been sickened by those eggs, and neither have any of our friends. I just can’t imagine that fresh eggs kept in the fridge no more than six weeks maximum, but which float, are not fit to eat.

Do you have any insight into this? How can home-produced eggs float after a week or two or three, when store bought ones apparently don’t?

Dallen Timothy
Gilbert, Arizona

The “floating egg” method of telling good from bad eggs is kind of misleading. Eggs that pop right up to the top are usually bad. But even eggs right out of the chicken will float to an upright position often as there is a space of air in the eggs which allows room for the embryo of the developing chick to grow and fit into the shell. Obviously, that air space will cause the egg to float a bit. Some float a bit more as all air spaces are not exactly the same and all eggs are not the same size, either.
We don’t wash any eggs at all except the dirty ones. Washing once is fine but I wouldn’t re-wash them as washing does remove the protective coating from the eggs. Store eggs are often sold as “fresh” and are a month or more old. I, personally, have used our own eggs that were over three months old and only kept in a cool (45 degree) pantry due to lack of refrigerator room and being isolated on a mountain over winter.

Few people check to see if store bought “fresh” eggs float; they just assume store bought anything is just great. Not me. — Jackie

Saving bean and pea seeds

I have been trying to save seeds from peas and green beans. By the time the pods are dry, they pop open and the seeds spill out. Can I pull the beans and/or peas off the plant and let dry or even dehydrate them? Along with that, I planted Blue Lake Bush, Phaseolus vulgaris. The seeds that I planted were white. The seeds in the dry pods are red. Will they grow true to what I planted?

Ankeny, Iowa

To harvest bean and pea seeds, wait just until the pods are tan and feel pretty dry then either pick the pods or pull the entire vines gently. You can lay the pods/vines on a tarp or child’s wading pool to finish drying in a protected location such as a garage or porch floor. When the pods are very dry, you can then pop the contents out into a bowl or pail. If you have a lot, just walk on the vines on the tarp with very clean shoes to thresh out the seeds. Then gently shake and lift the vines off, once the seeds have all come free. Winnow the seeds, pouring from one bowl to another, on a breezy day. The wind will blow off the chaff leaving clean seeds.

Blue Lake bush beans do have white seeds; it’s possible yours got crossed somewhere in the process. No, they won’t come true to what you’ve planted. But who knows? Maybe you’ve just created your own yummy hybrid! If you want true Blue Lakes, you’ll have to buy new seeds. Beans generally are self-pollinating and you can keep pure seeds by separating the varieties by about 50 feet or so. Garden beans are all pretty much Phaseolus vulgaris and will happily cross if planted together, including wax and pole beans. — Jackie

Beaver forecast

I know it’s very early but I was wondering if the beavers are giving you an indication of this year’s winter snow pack? It’s been dreadfully hot and dry here in Montana, and I can’t help but think ahead to the coolness of fall and winter’s months. Is it too early to give a slight prediction of what the winter of 2015-16 might hold for us?

Elizabeth Seymour
Whitefish, Montana

It’s too early yet. Ask again in early September and I’ll keep you posted. Right now they’re just happily doing summer beaver things: raising families, swimming about, and patching their dams. — Jackie