6.5 Billion chickens all over the world lay eggs for our consumption!!!
Isn’t that amazing?!!
So…. Eggs! What’s all the commotion?
There must be something very special about eggs since they even have their own special day! World Egg Day! It is celebrated every second Friday in October to raise awareness about the benefits of eggs.
Eggs are perfectly packaged by nature, ready to be eaten! They can be eaten raw or cooked! People have been consuming eggs for thousands of years.
Chickens were first tamed somewhere in Asia over 1.000 years ago. They then slowly made their way all around the world. They arrived in Greece about 800 B.C. Before that the Greeks would consume quail eggs.
Nowadays, apart from chicken eggs, we also consume quail eggs, ostrich eggs, duck eggs, geese eggs, pheasant eggs and gull eggs! The French especially adore gull eggs!!
Before we move on to take a deeper look in to eggs from our feathered friends, it is important to remember that we also consume eggs from other animals… like fish for instance. The famous traditional Greek Taramosalata – Fish Roe Dip is made from fish eggs. Fish roe is the egg masses of a type of mullet fish called “Bafa”. And of course let’s not forget that when it comes to Royalty among fish eggs, we could only be talking about everyone’s favorite …. caviar!
The parts of an Egg
The shell – is air permeable… It has a coating that does not allow microorganisms to penetrate in to the interior of the egg. If the egg is washed, the coating washes away. This allows the egg to ruin at a faster rate, so if you wash your eggs they must be stored in the refrigerator.
In many countries like Greece, the eggs sold in super markets have not been washed so they do not need to be stored in the refrigerator. In many other countries like the States, you will notice that eggs are always refrigerated and have a much shorter expiration date.
Whether the color of the eggshell is white or brown does not depend on nutritional habits of the chicken! It depends on what breed of chicken it came from. So when it comes to choosing which type of egg is more nutritious, color is not a determining factor! Some people think that brown eggs are more nutritious due to various culinary “trends”.
Inside of the egg, between the white and the shell is a pocket of air.
The fresher the egg, the smaller this pocket of air is. This air pocket can be noticed more clearly when the egg is boiled.
Τhe white - is 90% water and 10% protein… with almost no fat. This is why egg white omelets are so popular when dieting.
The yolk – The fresher the egg, the smaller and firmer it is. The more time that passes, it absorbs water and grows.
Since the color of the yolk depends on the chicken’s nutrition, what is it that gives it that color? Chicken feed that is rich in xanthophylls (a yellow carotenoid pigment) produce a yolk that is more yellow in color. If chickens are not fed any “yellow” feed they may lay eggs with yolks that have any color!
The different ways eggs are used for cooking
Raw! When I was young, my mom would give me raw eggs to eat. It was thought that eating raw eggs was very nutritious. Later on it was discovered that this was not exactly the case, since only 50% of the protein in the egg is absorbed from the body when it is raw but 90% is absorbed when it is cooked.
The egg is a natural emulsifier… which means that it has the ability to unite ingredients that usually separate naturally and “live” apart; such as water and oil, when making homemade mayonnaise.
It also has the ability to “tie” liquids together; like in ice cream.
The egg whites offer volume when beaten; like meringues.
As far as the connection between eggs and cholesterol, blood sugar levels or cardiovascular disease…. the information offered is still a little controversial. What is certain is that you can consume 6 eggs a week without any worries about your health because eggs should be a part of your diet!
Personally I love eggs and use them in many of my recipes!!!
Try some of these recipes…. and add an egg… or two!!