Eggs. They are a breakfast mainstay, baking essential, and a springtime staple for dyeing at Easter. That explains why 75 billion eggs are produced in the United States every year!
Let’s egg-plore 10 more egg-cellent facts about the incredible, edible egg to see if they’re really all they’re cracked up to be! (Okay, that’s funny 🙂 )
- The egg yolk has the same amount of protein as the egg white. Both the egg white and egg yolk contain 3 grams of protein each. The difference between the two, however, are the calories and amount of nutrients. While a single yolk contains 3 grams of protein for 60 calories, a single egg white provides you with 3 grams of protein for just 15 calories. The egg yolk houses good-for-you micronutrients.
- It takes a hen between 24 and 26 hours to develop an egg. Once she lays an egg, the development of a new egg normally starts within 30 minutes.
- Beware of the marketing of “Cage-Free” and “Free-Range” eggs. “Cage-Free” only means hens are required to have a minimum of 120 square inches per bird, which is not even double the area of conventional cages. “Free-range” eggs are certainly a step above “cage-free,” but the term is still a bit misleading. While “free-range” hens have the option to go outside, the reality is that many hens do not actually wander outside their barns as doors are small, are only open for limited times, or don’t accommodate the entire flock. If you have access to a farmer who does indeed have true free-range chickens, please purchase your eggs locally.
- Why don’t eggs hatch? A hen must mate with a rooster in order to fertilize an egg. Grocery store eggs, for obvious reasons, are laid by hens that haven’t mated.
- The thickness of an egg depends on the age of the chicken: while young chickens lay eggs with harder shells, old chickens lay eggs with thinner shells.
- Eggshell color has no relation to egg quality, nutrition or flavor. It varies according to the breed of the hen producing it. The differences in eggshell color is solely due to genetics. For example, White Leghorn chickens lay white-shelled eggs, while Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds lay brown-shelled eggs.
- Egg yolk color indicates level of nutrients. The color of egg yolks can range from pale yellow to deep orange – based on the hen’s diet. Because free-range hens often eat more pigmented, nutritious foods that range from insects to grasses, eggs from these chickens often have richer-colored, orange yolks. On the other hand, conventional, grain-fed chickens will produce lighter yellow yolks. The color of yolk also indicates the level of nutrients. Although the protein and fat are the same regardless of the color, but there can be up to a 100-fold increase in micronutrient value of certain antioxidant carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene in yolks fed a more nutrient-dense diet, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. You will also get more omega-3’s and less cholesterol in the more bright orange yolks!
- A hen turns her egg nearly 50 times each day to keep the yolk from sticking to the side.
- American eggs need to be refrigerated. Refrigerating eggs isn’t necessary and many countries outside the United States keep their eggs at room temperature. U.S. regulations require that eggs be power-washed, which removes all organic matter and any harmful bacteria but also strips the egg’s shell of its protective coating, thus rendering it more porous and open to contamination.
- Eating raw eggs won’t help you build muscle. Only 51% of the proteins in raw eggs are digestible, while 91% of the proteins in cooked eggs are digestible.
American Egg Board
National Agricultural Statistic Services
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
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