Europe has had domesticated hens since 600 B.C. Chickens came to the New World with Columbus on his second trip in 1493. Eggs were colored, blessed, exchanged and eaten as part of the rites of spring long before Christian times. While it is customary to throw rice at weddings in many countries, French brides break an egg on the threshold of their new home before stepping in- for luck and healthy babies. At the time of the French Revolution, the French already knew 685 different ways of preparing eggs (including, of course, the omelet).
About 280 million laying hens produce some 60 billion eggs each year in the United States. That’s roughly one hen for every man, women and child in the country. There are now 200 breeds of chickens. White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. There is no difference in taste or nutrition between white and brown eggs.
An average hen lays 300 to 325 eggs a year. A hen starts laying eggs at 19 weeks of age. A lot goes into an egg. The hen must eat 4 pounds of feed to make a dozen eggs (1 << lbs.)
To produce one egg, it takes a hen 24-26 hours, and to do so, she requires 5 oz. of food and 10 oz. of water. Thirty minutes later she starts all over again. Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It is rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all. Artificial color additives are not permitted in chicken feed. Yolk color depends on the diet of the hen. Feed containing yellow corn or alfalfa produces medium yellow yolks while feed containing wheat or barely produces lighter color yolks. Natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light colored feeds to enhance the yolk color.
During the packing process, eggs are separated by size. Minimum weights per dozen are : Jumbo (30 oz.), Extra Large (27 oz.), Large (24 oz.), Medium (21 oz.), small (18 oz.), and Pee Wee (15 oz.).
As a hen grows older she produces larger eggs. Did you know a mother hen turns over her egg about fifty times per day (so the yolk won’t stick to the sides of the shell)
The egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors. Storing eggs in the carton helps keep them fresh. Eggs are placed in their cartons large end up to keep the air cell in place and the yolk centered. Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator Eggs can be kept refrigerated in their carton for at least 4 to 5 weeks beyond the pack date.
A hard-cooked egg will peel more easily if it is a week or two old before it is cooked. To tell if an egg is raw or hard-cooked, spin it! If the egg spins easily, it is hard-cooked but if it wobbles, it is raw.
A cloudy white is a sign of freshness, not age, because of a high carbon dioxide content put in when the egg is laid. If an egg is accidentally dropped on the floor, sprinkle it heavily with salt for easy clean up.
A greenish ring around a hard-cooked egg yolk is due to either overcooking or a high iron content in the cooking water. This can be avoided using proper cooking time and temperature, and by rapidly cooling the cooked egg. In cooking, eggs are “the cement that holds the castle of cuisine together.” because of their ability to bind, leaven, thicken, emulsify, clarify, and more in all types of recipes.
The egg yolk and white separate best when cold.
Egg whites will beat to a better volume if they’re allowed to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before whipping. The stringy piece of material in the egg is not an embryo but rather a special protein called chalazae which acts as a shock absorber for the yolk so it doesn’t break
Eggs contain the highest quality protein you can buy. Egg protein has just the right mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build tissues. In addition, eggs have thirteen essential vitamins and minerals. Eggs contain the highest quality food protein known. It is second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition.
Egg yolk is the major source of the egg’s vitamins and minerals. A large egg contains only 75 calories and 5 grams of fat. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D. Eggs have no vitamin C because the chick can produce it from food it eats.
Eggs: another facts, The U.S. produced 90 billion eggs in 2005, up from 68.1 billion in 1990.
A chicken egg shell has as about 17,000 tiny pores on the surface of the shell. A hen requires about 24 to 26 hours to produce one egg, but one hen was reported to have produced 7 eggs in one day. About 2/3 of the chicken eggs produced in the U.S. each year are sold in the shell. The other 1/3 are broken out of their shells,so they can be made into liquid, frozen, dried and specialty egg products. An average hen lays an average of 266 eggs per year. The record is 371 eggs in one year. In 2003, an estimated 87.2 billion eggs were produced in the U.S., with about 85 percent of them destined for human consumption USDA Economic Research Service. U.S. per capital consumption of eggs in 2003 was the equivalent of 254 eggs, an increase of 19 eggs per person from 1990. (USDA Economic Research Service). According to the Guinness Book of Records, the record for throwing a fresh egg without breaking it is 317 feet, 10 inches. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports that something less than 1/2% of all foodborne illness is related to eggs. According to the USDA, only one egg in 20,000 might be contaminated with Salmonella. Based on the USDA statistics, that means that the average person might eat a contaminated egg once in 84 years. When duck eggs are boiled, the white turns bluish and the yolk turns a reddish orange. Emu eggs range from medium to very dark green in color and weigh about 3/4 pound. The eggs are mostly yolk, and are very mild in flavor. Eggs will age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator. The breed of hen determines the color of the shell. Breeds with white feathers and ear lobes lay white eggs; breeds with red feathers and ear lobes lay brown eggs.
USDA grading system for eggs:
- Grade AA The shell is clean, normal-shaped and unbroken; when first broken, the eggs spread remains compact; has a clear, thick albumen with prominent chalazae and a firm, centered yolk.
- Grade A The shell is clean, normal-shaped and unbroken; when first broken, the egg spreads slightly; has a clear, reasonably firm albumen with prominent chalazae and a firm, fairly high yolk.
- Grade B The shell may be slightly stained or misshapened; when first broken the egg spreads over a wide area; has a clear, watery albumen and an enlarged, flattened yolk.
EGGS SIZES AND EQUIVALENTS:
4 jumbo eggs = 1 cup
6 jumbo whites = 1 cup
12 jumbo yolks = 1 cup
4 Ex Lg eggs = 1 cup
6 Ex Lg whites = 1 cup
12 Ex Lg yolks = 1 cup
5 Lg eggs = 1 cup
7 Lg whites = 1 cup
14 Lg yolks = 1 cup
5 Med eggs = 1 cup
8 Med whites = 1 cup
16 Med yolks = 1 cup
6 Sm eggs = 1 cup
9 Sm whites = 1 cup
18 Sm yolks = 1 cup
Egg white trivia:
Albumen, or egg white, makes up about 60% of an eggs weight. As an egg ages, the protein in the egg white changes and becomes thinner and more transparent. Fresh eggs sit tall and firm in the pan, and older eggs will spread out more.
When you are going to beat egg whites, let the eggs sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using them. The egg whites will beat to a greater volume.
Eggs yolk trivia:
The type of food a chicken eats largely determines the color of the egg yolk. Yellow orange plant pigments called xanthophylls found in chicken feed determine the yolk color. Yellow corn mash and alfalfa meal will produce medium yellow egg yolks. Wheat or barley produce lighter colored yolks. Bright yellow marigold petals added to feed will enhance the color of the yolk. A white cornmeal diet will produce egg yolks that are almost colorless.
Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.
Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It is rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all. One chicken supposedly laid an egg with 9 yolks.
The largest single chicken egg ever laid weighed a pound with a double yolk and double shell. The most expensive egg ever sold was the Faberge “Winter Egg” sold in 1994 for $5.6 million. During the spring (vernal) equinox (about March 21), it is said that an egg will stand on its small end. Although some people have reported success, it is not known whether such results were due to the equinox or to the peculiarities of that particular egg. The entire month of May has been declared “National Egg Month”. This is the time of the year to celebrate the many benefits of the egg. American Egg Board’s Howard Helmer, Omelet King, topped existing Guiness Book of World records for omelet making in 1990. He emerged with 427 two-egg omelets in 30 minutes.
(Courtesy to http://www.enc-online.org and www.Foodreference.com)