More egg-cellent facts about eggs
By David Crocker
Diet and Exercise
Last week we discovered amazing facts about “the incredible eatable” egg. Let’s continue the list.
- Egg shell color doesn’t indicate nutritional value, but yolk color does:
Egg yolks can range in color from pale yellow, to bright orange, based on the laying hen’s diet. Free range hens usually eat more pigmented, nutritious foods like insects, grasses, seeds, and leaves. Eggs from these chickens often provide richer colored yolks. On the other hand, conventional, grain fed hens often produce lighter, yellow yolks. The protein and fat content of eggs is about the same, regardless of egg yolk color, however, there can be up to a 100 fold increase in micronutrient value of antioxidant carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene in yolks fed a more nutrient rich diet. The word “yolk” comes from an Old English word which means “the yellow part”.
- Brown eggs are more costly than white eggs, but not because they’re more healthful:
Brown eggs are more expensive, because of the hens that lay them. Red feathered chickens, who lay brown eggs, tend to be larger than white feathered chickens. Larger laying hens require more food and land to remain healthy during production, and higher manufacturing costs lead to more expensive products. When considering taste and nutrition, there’s no difference between brown and white eggs.
- All eggs are hormone free:
Some egg cartons may labeled “hormone free”, but this is true for all eggs. That’s because the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) banned the use of hormones, and steroids in all poultry production back in the 1950’s. In addition to being illegal, hormones are just not needed. Modern chickens are raised larger and healthier through improvements in breeding, living conditions, nutrition and veterinary care. Also, hormones are expensive and not easy to administer to chickens.
- Hen’s earlobes predict which color eggs they’ll lay:
The color of ear lobes varies with the breed of chickens, and can range from white, to red, to almost black. In fact, the “Araucana” breed of chickens can even have earlobes that are pale green or blue. These hens are a breed of domestic chicken from Chile and actually lay blue shelled eggs. Chickens with white earlobes lay white eggs exclusively, while those with dark lobes lay brown eggs.
- You can tell how old your eggs are by placing them in water:
Egg shells are porous (one chicken egg can have 17,000 pores). These pores, or tiny holes allow carbon dioxide to escape, and fresh air, and oxygen to get in. As eggs age, they take in more air, and develop an air pocket. If an egg floats, this indicates its old, because it has a large air pocket, in which case you should not eat it. If the egg remains on the bottom, its usually safe to eat. To be more sure of an egg’s freshness, smell the egg before eating. If it smells rotten, pass on eating it. Did you know you can also tell if an egg is cooked or raw by spinning it? If the egg is raw, it will wobble, because its contents are liquid, and will shift from side to side. If it’s been cooked it will spin. Also, because eggs are porous, if you wash them, do so only with warm water (not hot, but not tepid or cool). Cold or cool water could draw bacteria from the egg’s surface into the egg.
- American eggs need to be refrigerated:
Salmonella (a bacterium that causes food poison) can be found on the shell of eggs, because eggs are laid through the same passage as feces is excreted. To minimize salmonella risk, the USDA requires American eggs to be washed as they are processed at plants. This “washing” process removes the natural lining called the “bloom” that naturally protects eggs from infection. The bloom is the outermost covering of an egg, and is the last part of the shell developed before the hen lays an egg. About 75 billion eggs are produced in the United States each year.
- Grade AA eggs are best for poaching:
According to USDA guidelines, grade AA are the freshest, highest quality eggs you can buy. The shells are extremely clean and unbroken, with egg whites that are “clear and firm”, and yolks that are centered and well defined.
So, consider the egg; it’s one of the most nutritious foods available to us. By the way; as to which came first…” the chicken or the egg.” Read Genesis 1:20-22 and you’ll find…it was the chicken.
Questions? Email David at firstname.lastname@example.org.