Chickens 101: What does it mean when someone talks about the “bloom” or “cuticle” of an egg? What is it, and what is its purpose?
What is the Bloom?
The “bloom” of an egg in an invisible coating that the hen’s body will “lay” on top of the shell of the egg. The bloom is also known as the cuticle of the eggs.
What does the Bloom do?
Very simply, the bloom of an egg protects it. You see, egg shells are not solid. They are actually porous. The pores allow oxygen to move through the shell for the baby chick.
The bloom serves as a protective barrier to keep the inside of the egg safe from bacteria. That is how an egg can sit in a nesting box for three weeks, as that little baby chick grows inside, and remain safe from the not-so-always clean environment in the nest.
Not only does the bloom protect a fertilized egg that a chick is growing in, but it is also great for the unfertilized eggs you eat.
You see, the bloom protects the inside of the egg, serving as a natural preservative. This means that as long as the bloom stays intact, your eggs will stay fresher longer than an egg without a bloom.
How is a Bloom Removed?
The bloom of an egg will generally remain intact as long as the egg has not been washed or cracked.
Additionally, eggs that get especially dirty can have the bloom damaged. This is one of the many reasons that it is so important to keep your chicken coop clean. If your nesting boxes get dirty, the bloom can be disrupted, allowing dangerous bacteria to gain access to the eggs.
This is how people are able store eggs in a pantry or on the kitchen counter. Clean, unwashed eggs still have the bloom and will remain fresh much longer than a washed egg.
However, once an egg has been washed, thereby removing the bloom, the egg must be refrigerated.