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Blood Spots in Eggs and Kosher Cooking

Updated on December 29, 2012
Brainy Bunny profile image

Brainy Bunny is married to a Conservative rabbi and has extensive experience with living an observant Jewish life.

This is not what causes blood spots in eggs!
This is not what causes blood spots in eggs! | Source

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!

If you're raising your own chickens, and they've been near a rooster, don't eat any eggs with blood spots! But if you use factory-farmed eggs, they're perfectly fine; just remove the spot first.
If you're raising your own chickens, and they've been near a rooster, don't eat any eggs with blood spots! But if you use factory-farmed eggs, they're perfectly fine; just remove the spot first. | Source

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.

First, crack the egg into a glass. Inspect the top of the yolk and the white.
First, crack the egg into a glass. Inspect the top of the yolk and the white. | Source
Then hold the glass up to a light source and inspect the bottom of the yolk.
Then hold the glass up to a light source and inspect the bottom of the yolk. | Source

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.

References

For More Details on the Halachic Arguments About Blood Spots on Eggs:

http://www.kashrut.com/articles/eggs/

http://www.oukosher.org/index.php/common/article/eggs_and_blood_spots/

For More About How Eggs Get Spots:

http://www.egglandsbest.com/eggspert/eggs/brown-spots.aspx

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    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Fascinating hub! I love reading about things like this. I would never have thought about a something so common, yet I can see where it would be very important. Voting up!

    • profile image

      whowas 4 years ago

      Hi. This hub is nicely laid out and clearly and informatively written.

      To me, as a gentile perhaps, it is also extraordinary. I'm terribly ignorant of the details of your religious beliefs, so forgive me for my curiosity but, why is eating an egg with a blood-spot forbidden in the first place?

      Thank you.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 4 years ago from UK

      Kosher isn't an issue for me, but I used to hate those blood spots when I was a child and I can't say I'm overly keen on them now. Interesting hub!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Sharkye: Finding the spots in eggs is not as common now as it used to be, but it is still good to know the facts. Thanks for reading and voting!

      Whowas: Thank you for the lovely compliment. The issue about the blood spot has to do specifically with whether it could be the embryo of a chick. I'm not a rabbinical scholar, so I don't know the specific reasoning behind the law, but my guess is that is has something to do with the prohibition against eating an animal that has not been killed according to the laws of kashrut. However, that could be way off base; I'll try to remember to ask my husband.

      Judi: I've always hated the blood spots too, and even though I know the law, I still throw an egg out if I find a spot! There's an ick factor there that bothers me, and always has. And don't even ask about the time I actually found a dead CHICK in an egg!!! I had nightmares for months!

    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 4 years ago from Scotland

      I always throw out blood spot eggs too BB, But I didn't know about the significance of eggs in Kosher food, thanks for teaching me......jimmy

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This was very interesting and new to me. I've always tossed the egg out whenever I've found a blood spot in it. Somehow to me it doesn't seem right to use one that has blood.

      Wow if I'd have found a dead chick in an egg I don't think I'd ever be able to eat eggs again.

    • profile image

      whowas 4 years ago

      Hi and thank you so much for answering - although I am not much the wiser as I don't know what rabbinical law or the kashrut are!

      On the business of being put off eating eggs because of a spot of blood, or even occasionally a chick, I don't understand that either. I have a small flock of chickens that I keep for eggs and meat. If anyone is happy to eat the meat of a slaughtered adult chicken, I don't see why they should be bothered by a chick in an egg, still less a blood spot.

      Just my thoughts - each to their own.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Always my pleasure to share my religious and cultural experiences, Jimmy. Thank you for reading.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      I'm with you, Susan. Like I said, the chick gave me nightmares for a long, long time. But my problem wasn't so much eating eggs as cracking them. For probably a year after that, if I had to crack an egg, I would do it with my eyes closed, and not open them until I heard the splash sound of liquid egg hitting the glass! Thankfully, I've never had a repeat of the experience.

      Whowas, I'm sorry if I used terms that were unfamiliar to you. I wrote this article primarily for people who are already familiar with kashrut (that is, keeping kosher -- the basic laws were given in the Torah, and later interpreted by rabbis over the past several millennia). Jews are bound by Jewish law (that's what halacha means), and some of it comes directly from the Torah and other laws were formulated by rabbis.

      My aversion to blood spots in eggs is both personal and cultural; I grew up believing that an egg with a blood spot wasn't kosher, and so I threw it out. Over time, that action developed into a personal aversion, just as my avoidance of shellfish for kashrut reasons means that even looking at shellfish grosses me out. But as you said, to each their own.

    • profile image

      whowas 4 years ago

      Thank you again for your answer. This is something I will have to research a bit more! Yes, I appreciate that the article is for those 'in the club' so to say but I am very curious by nature and like to find out new things and fill in the gaps when I don't understand something, Thanks so much for your patience!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      You write such interesting and useful hubs! I have a few Orthodox friends and I frequently ask them questions about keeping kosher because I am curious about the rules. Now I can look to your hubs too.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Whowas: Thank you for your interest and your respectfulness. I'm always happy to answer questions as best I can.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Hi, Glimmer. I'm so glad you like my hubs! I am always happy to share my knowledge, and if you ever have a question that you'd like me to write about, just go ahead and ask! I'm always looking for inspiration. ;-)

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wow! I always thought the blood would render the egg unfit to eat if one were kosher. This is really great to know.

      As for the brown eggs being more likely to yield spots, that is absolutely true. I remember years ago when I had to throw out almost an entire dozen... the blood spots were rampant in that particular box!

      Voted up, useful, and and interesting. Thanks!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image
      Author

      Brainy Bunny 4 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      I always thought that, too, clever cat, but times change! I actually stopped buying brown eggs entirely about a dozen years ago because of the blood spot problem. It made cracking eggs so stressful.

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