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Useful and Surprising Facts About Eggs

To put it simply: there is nothing like an egg! Eggs are surrounded by more myths and old wives' tales than any other everyday food. Here are some of our useful and surprising facts about eggs.

Opportunities, like eggs, come one at a time.

  • The entire yolk is actually only one cell, one of nature’s largest. In fact, an ostrich egg, which can serve about 24 for breakfast, is probably the largest cell nature is currently manufacturing.
  • The color of the shell is strictly a function of the breed of the bird.
  • Americans consume an average of 281 eggs per year, which keeps about 285 million hens busy day and night.
  • An old fashioned, but valid test for egg freshness is accomplished by gently dropping a whole uncooked egg into a salt solution (two tablespoons salt in two cups of water.) If very fresh, the egg will be full and heavy and it will sink and tip to one side. If moderately fresh, it will remain suspended in the middle of the water in an upright position; if it bobs up to the top, it is stale.
  • Government grades are based on the size of the air cell in the egg, the egg’s quality, and its freshness.
  • A Grade AA egg must be less than ten days old from packing, a Grade A, 30 days.
  • The whitish, twisted material seen near the raw egg yolk is thick albumen, which is part of a layer of dense egg white surrounding the entire yolk. Its purpose is to help keep the yolk centered in the egg. The albumen is especially prominent in fresh, high-quality eggs.
  • The color of the yolk is determined by the feed. If the chicken eats grass, yellow corn, or other feedstuffs rich in yellow pigments the yolk will be deep yellow in direct relation to the amount of yellow in the feed regardless of the breed of chicken of color of the shell.
  • The incubation period of a chicken egg is 21 days.
  • Shortly after an egg is laid, it is placed in front of a light source that reveals the condition of the innards. This process, called candling, can detect cracks in the shell or harmless but unappetizing blood spots on the yolk. It also reveals the size of the egg's air cell: the smaller the cell, the better the egg.
  • Old wives' tales suggest that the shape of an egg indicates the sex of the chick that will hatch from it. Unfortunately, there is no truth to this myth. Scientists are unable to distinguish between the sexes before the eggs hatch.
  • The greenish gray color around the yolk of a hard-boiled egg is a harmless compound of iron and sulfur called ferrous sulfide, which forms when an egg is heated. To prevent its formation, boil the egg only as long as is necessary to set the yolk, and then plunge it into cold water and peel it promptly.

Did you know? While brown, white, and green eggs are essentially the same in nutritional value, there are definite preferences by individuals and by people in different regions of the country. Do you have a preference? Let us know! 

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I am allergic to chicken

By Synthia H on August 23

I am allergic to chicken eggs. Is it possible that i wouldn't be allergic to duck eggs? Or is an egg the same no matter where it comes from?

Yes! It it quite possible

By Molli on August 23

Yes! It it quite possible that you would be fine with duck eggs! Somehow they are different, and I know many people who can't not eat chicken eggs, yet can eat duck eggs. It might be worth experimenting!

According to the Institute of

By Almanac Staff on August 23

According to the Institute of Health, people with allergies to hen’s eggs may cross-react to other types of eggs (like duck and quail eggs). That said, there are people who are allergic to hens' eggs and not sensitive to ducks' eggs -- and people who can't 'tolerate ducks' eggs, but are fine with hens' eggs.

Like brown the best, there

By Fredia on August 22

Like brown the best, there also a pinkish brown eggs, &
blue ones. I see on FB than someone hen lay a egg than have whole egg inside it. I wonder want can of myth we could get started with than! HAHA

I will not eat a brown egg at

By Debbie Harvey

I will not eat a brown egg at home.will bake with them and probably have eaten them when eating out.Just a family thing I guess...mom wouldn't eat them either

I often find a double yolk.

By Patricia A

I often find a double yolk. What was the "old wives tale" re a double yolk egg? Wasn't it bad luck to eat an egg with two yolks?

In most of folklore, doulbe

By Almanac Staff

In most of folklore, doulbe yolk eggs are considered to be a symbol of good fortune.

Brown !!!

By Susanna Noe

Brown !!!

My parents used to raise 47

By Betsy Tepley

My parents used to raise 47 different breeds of chickens. My Dad showed them at several county fairs each year (2 hens & 1 rooster per pen). He had very little competition in all 47 different breeds. The premiums were the same for a pig, a sheep, or a cow & the chickens took up less space on the shipping truck, taking them all to the fair. And the chickens didn't need as much feed as the other livestock either.

Just a memory from a former Farm Kid.

We prefer brown eggs, to me

By Crystal Napier

We prefer brown eggs, to me they have a better flavor, we have laying hens

Fresh organic eggs,

By noraluz

Fresh organic eggs, nutritious,
No hormones

I've always preferred brown

By bunnie.lynn

I've always preferred brown eggs.

I raise chickens and ducks

By Elsie in Ohio

I raise chickens and ducks and guineas. I love fresh eggs and have lots to sell. I love fresh eggs. The color of the eggs is determined by the color of the ears on the chicken.

That is not true at all. My

By Jessica Reed

That is not true at all. My Americanas have brown ears and they lay Blue/green eggs. Silkies have blue ears and they lay brown small eggs. It's the breed of the chicken that determines the color

Breed May have an initial

By pnutj58

Breed May have an initial bearing on egg color, but it isn't the only factor. I have two dark Brahma hens which, by breed, lay brown eggs. One of mine lays a tan egg. One lays a cream colored egg.
On an off side, one lays short, pudgy eggs and the other lays longer, thin-ish eggs.

Blues/green eggs are from

By Yvonne Smeltzer

Blues/green eggs are from chickens with feathered ears. There are other feathered eared chicken breeds which lay green/blue eggs. We were poultry farmers a long time, and white ears for white eggs, red ears for brown and feathered for blue/green

In general, a chicken with

By Mel P

In general, a chicken with white earlobes will lay white eggs and a chicken with red earlobes will lay brown eggs, but there are define exceptions. Ameraucana/Auracana lay blue eggs but have red earlobes and silkies have blue earlobes but lay brownish eggs. Earlobe colour is about 75% accurate in predicting egg colour.

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