It’s all about the Chicken – the Egg

September 23, 2014 at 5:26 AM | Posted in Eggs, It's All About the Chicken | 2 Comments
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Which came first the Chicken or the Egg? Going with the Egg today!
Eggs

White, speckled (red), and brown chicken eggs

White, speckled (red), and brown chicken eggs

Eggs are laid by female animals of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have been eaten by humans for thousands of years. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen (egg white), and vitellus (egg yolk), contained within various thin membranes. Popular choices for egg consumption are chicken, duck, quail, roe, and caviar, but the egg most often consumed by humans is the chicken egg.

 

 

 

Egg yolks and whole eggs store significant amounts of protein and choline, and are widely used in cookery. Due to their protein content, the United States Department of Agriculture categorizes eggs as Meats within the Food Guide Pyramid. Despite the nutritional value of eggs, there are some potential health issues arising from egg quality, storage, and individual allergies.

Chickens and other egg-laying creatures are widely kept throughout the world, and mass production of chicken eggs is a global industry. In 2009, an estimated 62.1 million metric tons of eggs were produced worldwide from a total laying flock of approximately 6.4 billion hens. There are issues of regional variation in demand and expectation, as well as current debates concerning methods of mass production. The European Union recently banned battery husbandry of chickens.

 

 

 

A fried chicken egg, "sunny side up"

A fried chicken egg, “sunny side up”

Chicken eggs are widely used in many types of dishes, both sweet and savory, including many baked goods. Some of the most common preparation methods include scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, omelettes and pickled. They can also be eaten raw, though this is not recommended for people who may be especially susceptible to salmonellosis, such as the elderly, the infirm, or pregnant women. In addition, the protein in raw eggs is only 51% bioavailable, whereas that of a cooked egg is nearer 91% bioavailable, meaning the protein of cooked eggs is nearly twice as absorbable as the protein from raw eggs.

As an ingredient, egg yolks are an important emulsifier in the kitchen, and are also used as a thickener in custards.

The albumen, or egg white, contains protein, but little or no fat, and can be used in cooking separately from the yolk. The proteins in egg white allow it to form foams and aerated dishes. Egg whites may be aerated or whipped to a light, fluffy consistency, and are often used in desserts such as meringues and mousse.

Ground egg shells are sometimes used as a food additive to deliver calcium. Every part of an egg is edible, although the eggshell is generally discarded. Some recipes call for immature or unlaid eggs, which are harvested after the hen is slaughtered or cooked while still inside the chicken.

 
Eggs contain multiple proteins which gel at different temperatures within the yolk and the white, and the temperature determines the gelling time. Egg yolk begins to gelify, or solidify, when it reaches temperatures between about 63 and 70 °C (145 and 158 °F). Egg white gels at slightly higher temperatures, about 60 to 80 °C (140 to 176 °F)- the white contains ovalbumin that sets at the highest temperature. However, in practice, in many cooking processes the white gels first because it is exposed to higher temperatures for longer.

Salmonella is killed instantly at 71 °C (160 °F), but is also killed from 54.5 °C (130.1 °F) if held there for sufficiently long time periods. To avoid the issue of salmonella, eggs can be pasteurised in-shell at 57 °C (135 °F) for an hour and 15 minutes. Although the white is slightly milkier, the eggs can be used in normal ways. Whipping for meringue takes significantly longer, but the final volume is virtually the same.

If a boiled egg is overcooked, a greenish ring sometimes appears around egg yolk due to the iron and sulfur compounds in the egg. It can also occur with an abundance of iron in the cooking water. The green ring does not affect the egg’s taste; overcooking, however, harms the quality of the protein. Chilling the egg for a few minutes in cold water until it is completely cooled may prevent the greenish ring from forming on the surface of the yolk.

 

 

Eggs for sale at a grocery store

Eggs for sale at a grocery store

The US Department of Agriculture grades eggs by the interior quality of the egg (see Haugh unit) and the appearance and condition of the egg shell. Eggs of any quality grade may differ in weight (size).

U.S. Grade AA
Eggs have whites that are thick and firm; yolks that are high, round, and practically free from defects; and clean, unbroken shells.
Grade AA and Grade A eggs are best for frying and poaching, where appearance is important.
U.S. Grade A
Eggs have characteristics of Grade AA eggs except the whites are “reasonably” firm.
This is the quality most often sold in stores.
U.S. Grade B
Eggs have whites that may be thinner and yolks that may be wider and flatter than eggs of higher grades. The shells must be unbroken, but may show slight stains.
This quality is seldom found in retail stores because they are usually used to make liquid, frozen, and dried egg products, as well as other egg-containing products.
In Australia and the European Union, eggs are graded by the hen farming method, free range, battery caged, etc.

Chicken eggs are also graded by size for the purpose of sales.

 

 

 

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2 Comments »

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  1. I love having my chickens in the garden,free ranging by day and laying a variety of colours of eggs!

    • They are the best!


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