An eggs-cellent course

I’ve been taking an online course from the American Egg Board directed at food service chefs. I am not in the food service industry, but I have learned so much about egg farms, food safety, and nutrition. I’m only halfway through the course, but thought I’d share six things I’ve learned so far about eggs.

  1. There are many breeds of chicken and the breed determines the color of the eggshell. You can also look at the chicken’s earlobes to see what color the shell will be. Yes, chickens have ears. Brown eggs, which are more common in the northeastern United States, are laid by chickens with red feathers and earlobes. Chickens with white feathers and ear lobes lay white eggs. 
  2. It doesn’t matter what color the eggshell is, what quality grade it is, or how the hens who laid the chickens were raised – the nutritional content is similar. The size of the egg does affect its nutritional value. If hens were fed enriched feed, then the eggs may have enhanced nutrition. You can expect those eggs to be more expensive due to increased feed costs for the hens. 
  3. An egg’s shell has around 17,000 pores. These tiny holes let air and moisture pass through the shell. They also allow odor to pass into the egg, so keep strong smelling food like fish or onions away. The egg carton helps protect the egg from absorbing odors, so I won’t be using the egg tray that came with our refrigerator. 
  4. Eggs may be small, but they pack a huge punch when it comes to nutrition. One large egg has 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 8 essential nutrients. Almost half the protein is found in the egg’s yolk, so eating only egg whites means you’re missing out on all the egg’s nutritional benefits. 
  5. Try bobbing for eggs to see how fresh one is. Inside the egg is an air pocket, which gets larger as the egg ages. If the air pocket gets large enough, the egg will float. Throw away any eggs that float. 
  6. On the side of the carton there is a “Use By” date and another number. I’ve always wondered what that number was. It’s the Julian date, which is the day of the year the eggs were washed, graded, and packed in the carton. If you see “001” on the carton, those eggs were packed on January 1. If packed on July 1, you will see “182” on the carton, as that is the 182nd day of the year. 

I’m just starting the sections on cooking eggs, and since my experience starts and stops at scrambled eggs, I can’t wait to learn more ways to cook them. 

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