No matter how you cook them—scrambled, poached, fried or baked—eggs are chock full of healthy nutrients. Even if you eat eggs all the time, there may be some things you don’t know about them. Check out these fascinating egg facts and share with your friends.
Egg Facts: Nutrition
1. Eggs are healthy with 7% protein, calcium and minerals to help meet our daily requirements.
2. The protein in an egg is equal to the protein in one ounce of meat, chicken or fish, according to the USDA.
3. The digestible protein in a cooked egg is higher than digestible protein in a raw egg.
4. Turkey, guinea, peahen and duck eggs are as good for you as chicken eggs, however, chickens lay more eggs and are more consistent layers than other fowl, therefore there is little consumable market for those eggs.
5. After 25 years of claims that the cholesterol in eggs was the leading cause of heart disease, scientists took another look and found that the culprit was saturated fats. However, it is recommended that if you tend to have high cholesterol that you limit consumption of eggs, but not eliminate eggs from your diet.
General Egg Facts
6. The color of the egg yolk is determined by the food eaten by chickens. It has nothing to do with the nutritional value of one egg over another or a commercially produced egg over a farm produced egg. A supplement of pumpkin, squash, carrots, marigold, dandelions or calendula will produce deeper yellow-orange yolks. Some organic egg producers use a marigold extract as a supplement to achieve the rich orange egg yolk, even if those hens are in enclosed pens and not free-range or pasture-raised.
7. Different chicken egg colors do not alter the nutritional value or taste of a chicken egg. The color of the egg shell is strictly about the breed that lays the egg.
8. The size of hen does not determine the size of the eggs. We raise several different heritage chicken breeds at Just Fowling Around. Our tiny Serama hens that weigh less that 1 pound, lay a medium-size egg. Our largest breed, the Breda Fowl, weighs as much as 10 to 12 pounds and also lays a medium to small size egg. Our mid-range breed, the white heritage Leghorn that weighs an average of 4 to 5 pounds, lays a large to an extra large egg.
Egg Facts: Cooking Facts
9. Eggs can be frozen or dehydrated when there are more eggs than can be used fresh. These methods of preserving are best used in baked goods. Eggs can also be pickled to use in salads and sandwiches or eaten out of hand. Here’s a great tutorial on freezing egg whites and yolks.
10. Eggs last many weeks without spoiling. The date on an egg carton is not an FDA requirement, it is simply there for store inventory purposes to be sure products are moved from the shelves. It does not mean the eggs have gone bad after the voluntary use by date. Even store-bought eggs will last weeks well beyond a use by date. Not sure your eggs are fresh? You can perform any of these egg freshness tests to make sure they are safe to eat.
11. Eggs are sold in several grades. AA, A and B grade. There is no difference in the nutritional value or taste from one grade to another. The grading has to do with shape, uniformity, weight, and aesthetics. B grade eggs are typically sold to institutions and bakeries though they used to be available in grocery stores. Most eggs sold now are either AA or A grade.
12. For recipes calling for raw eggs, simply pasteurize them to prevent possible bacteria. To pasteurize, place the eggs (in the shell) in water over low heat and bring the temperature up to 140 degrees F for 3 1/2 minutes (a candy thermometer works for this). This temperature will kill any bacteria, but will not alter the texture of the egg. You can also purchase pasteurized egg liquid for use in recipes that require raw eggs. When I use raw eggs for a nonalcoholic eggnog recipe, I temper the eggs with a little hot liquid before adding into the cream and milk mixture to prevent cooking the eggs, yet making them safe for consumption; essentially this is pasteurizing them.
13. Eggs tend to get a bad wrap. We hear warnings about Salmonella contamination, however, Salmonella is literally everywhere, and according to the CDC, only 1 in 20,000 eggs may be contaminated. Eggs have extra protection from salmonella and other bacteria with two inner membranes, a shell and the “bloom” as a protective coating on the outside. Salmonella contamination is far more common in other foods and illness is often caused by undercooked food or improperly handled food.
Eggs Facts By The Numbers
14. A 6-month-old pullet named Harriet, in Britain, has held the record for the largest egg since 2010. It was 9.1 inches in diameter and 4.5 inches long which is nearly double the size of an extra large egg. However, Harriet does not hold the record for the heaviest egg. Harriet’s egg weighed 163 grams (5.7 oz), the record holder was a double yolk and double shell that weighed 16 oz. Her owners said they feed only regular hen food and vegetable scraps, and that in spite of the size of the egg, Harriet has continued to lay without problems.
15. Iowa holds the record for the largest egg production state with about 15 billion eggs annually. Ohio is the second largest egg producing state with about 8 billion eggs annually, followed by Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Texas. According to the USDA 2012 economic reports, there were over 90 billion eggs produced in the United States. Three-quarters were for consumption, the remaining were used as hatching eggs for broiler and layer production.
16. In 2012, annual egg consumption in the United States per person was estimated at 250 eggs.
Do you know any obscure or interesting egg facts? Share them here with us!