Living in New Zealand: Unrefrigerated Eggs

Man, my arms are like jelly right now.  Jillian Michaels is kicking my rear into gear!

Today’s “Living in New Zealand” post is about eggs.  More specifically, the way that eggs are stored in New Zealand.

When I go to the grocery, this is where I find my eggs:

There they are!  Right in between some party supplies and packets of dried noodles.  Another store we shop at has them right next to the flour and baking goods (which makes more sense to me).

Why on earth aren’t eggs refrigerated in New Zealand?

Answer: because they don’t need to be.

According to the FoodSmart.govt.nz website, eggs in New Zealand are not exposed to the pathogens that are of concern in other countries.  The NZ Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry does recommend storing them in the refrigerator as a strictly precautionary measure, but most people that I know (well enough to let me see where they store their eggs) don’t store their eggs in the fridge.  We do, but that’s because we’re American and it’s ingrained in our psyche.  I actually put my latest dozen in the pantry (I thought that I would try it out in advance of this post) but my thoughtful husband was looking out for me raiding the pantry after I went to bed and thought I’d made a mistake.  So, he put them in the fridge and I didn’t want to have them sitting out and returning to room temperature just for the blog.  I’ve been told that having room temperature eggs is actually a benefit for things like cooking and baking, as the yolks tend to mix a bit better.

And speaking of yolks, the egg yolks in New Zealand are much more yellow than in the US.  They’re almost orange.  Actually, they are orange now that I think about it.

Why?

#1 Kiwis tend to prefer orange-y yolks.  I’m not pulling this out of thin air.  I’ve asked several people about egg yolks (and the colour of cheese here, but that’s another issue) and I’ve been told that the darker yellow/orange the yolk, the more appealing and healthy it looks.  Pale yolks look like they came from sickly chickens.  Hearty, orange yolks look like they came from strapping, healthy chickens!

#2 Egg farmers in New Zealand, either as a result of this preference or perhaps as the cause, add carotenoids to chicken feed (I could insert a lame joke about not knowing which came first, the chicken/preference or the egg/feed additives, but I won’t!).  Some of the carotenoids are organic, some are synthetic.  You’d need to check with your egg producer to find out what they use.  If you’re buying strictly organic, free-range eggs, then it’s probably pretty certain that they use natural carotenoids (such as beets, carrots, etc.).  If you’re using commercially produced eggs, then they’re likely all synthetic (such as food-safe colours) or a blend of synthetic and organic.

So, when you’re grocery shopping in New Zealand, don’t be surprised by the eggs sitting next to the party supplies.  It’s all under control 🙂

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4 comments

  1. Kevin says:

    Haha – this is great. I lived there for a year and a half and was just now talking to someone about this, and it’s great to see this picutre – memories. I keep my eggs at room temperature now that I’m back in the states. We have one cupboard that sits against the brick wall of our kitchen and stays cooler than the rest so that’s where they live. I also learned a really cool trick – i have a small bottle of mineral oil that i use to coat the eggs with thinly. All the eggs in the states are washed, even the ones we get from the farmer’s markets, and coating them like this replaces the natural bloom that is washed off. This keeps the egg air-tight and I have literally enjoyed fresh, firm, delicious eggs, coated and stored at room temp for 3 or 4 months after buying them. Just started buying eggs from a woman here in the city that keeps her own hens and now I’ve got eggs that have yolks ALMOST as dark as those crazy deep orange kiwi eggs. Delicious. Good times. 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    Jenny that’s just so odd coming from someone who’s husband consumes eggs for breakfast every.single.day!!! They don’t smell funny or feel warm??

    I would be willing to try it that way since it is recommended but it would take a few trips to the store first, to get used to!

    Question: (dumb one) you certainly couldn’t eat eggs in NZ that hadn’t been cooked though, right? I mean eggs +bacteria are the same everywhere right? I have to say it kind of makes sense on the yolk color theory though 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    That was sooo weird to me when I moved here too! We still keep our eggs in the fridge though – but I am getting a bit more relaxed about WHEN they get there…

    Funny – I am doing Ripped in 30 right now – AWESOME workouts!

  4. Lindsay Ward says:

    I love not putting my eggs in the fridge! My fridge is so small there is no room for anything that doesn’t have to be in there! Plus now I have to put my bread in the fridge b/c we don’t eat it fast enough and it moulds so quickly here!

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