Blood Spots in Eggs and Kosher Cooking
There are a lot of bubbe meises (old wives' tales) regarding proper kosher cooking that get perpetuated either through ignorance or out of a desire to build a fence around the law. Blood spots in eggs is a prime example.
Orthodox halachic authorities say: as long as you remove the spot, you CAN use the egg!
Does a Blood Spot Make an Egg Non-Kosher?
No less a halachic authority than the great Rav Moshe Feinstein ruled more than 50 years ago that you can still use an egg in which you have found a blood spot, as long as the egg was from a farm with no roosters (as is the case at egg farms today).
The crux of the issue is whether the egg might be fertilized or not. Back when eggs came from family farms with roosters strutting about, there was a good chance that any red spot found in an egg was the beginning of a chick. Eating an egg containing an embryo is forbidden by the Talmud.
However, hens at work in factory farms today never come near a rooster. The hens are not fertile, and their egg production is artificially stimulated. Any red spot in an egg is likely to be from a burst blood vessel inside the hen, which happens accidentally on occasion. This does not make an egg non-kosher, although the spot should be removed. A brown spot or white spot, which is generally a result of a speck of stray protein in the egg, is no issue at all.
How to Check for Blood Spots in Eggs
It is still customary to check your eggs before cooking, although you can forgo this step if it is very difficult (e.g., while camping or while cooking for a very large group).
Checking for blood spots in eggs is very easy. Simply crack each egg into a glass before you pour it into your recipe. Look at the top of the yolk, and then lift up the glass to check the bottom of the yolk.
If you are separating an egg using the halves of the shell, you can simply observe the yolk while you are passing it back and forth. (The white, being translucent, will show any blood spots quite obviously.)
There are other benefits of cracking an egg into a glass, as well.
- You can easily see if you've gotten any bits of shell mixed in with the egg.
- You can beat the egg with a fork right in the glass if necessary, so you don't need to dirty any more dishes.
Odds of Finding a Blood Spot in Your Egg
Did you know . . .
- You are three times as likely to find a blood spot in a brown egg as in a white one?
- Either way, though, your chances are very small: 0.001 for a brown egg (1 in 1000) vs. 0.0003 (1 in 3000) for a white egg.
What to Do if You Find a Blood Spot on Your Egg
If you find a blood spot in your egg, you can simply take the point of a knife, scoop it out, and throw it away. (A spoon will not work as well, because the egg holds together when confronted with a blunt object.)
The egg is still kosher and can be used. However, if the idea of a blood spot grosses you out, you can simply throw the egg away. You do not need to kasher any cooking utensils that the egg may have touched.
If you find a dark spot on a hardboiled egg that you think may have been a blood spot, simply cut it away. The rest of the egg may be eaten.
For More Details on the Halachic Arguments About Blood Spots on Eggs:
For More About How Eggs Get Spots: