10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs

By Meg Favreau on 13 January 2011 (Updated 9 January 2012) 15 comments
Photo: JD Hancock

From starting salmonella scares to acting as a drug-addled brain, from sparking factory-farming concerns to causing worry about high cholesterol, the humble egg can get a bad rap. But these little guys also serve as the glue to make great baked goods, provide a lot of nutrition for a low cost, and can serve as the basis for a whole host of delicious meals. (See also: Egg-cellent Ideas for Money Saving and Menu Planning)

Here are 10 things you might not know about this frugal food:

1. Chicken Eggs Come in More Colors Than White and Brown

Different breeds of chickens produce different colors of eggs. In addition to the typical white and brown, some chickens produce blue, blue-green, reddish-brown, or even speckled eggs. A great place to look for atypical egg colors is at your local farmers market; one vendor at my market sells a dozen eggs in a mix of blue, white, cream, and brown.

2. You Can Use Water to Easily Determine the Age of an Egg

If you have eggs of questionable freshness, fill a bowl with enough water to cover the eggs, then add them to the bowl. If an egg sinks to the bottom, it's fresh. If it floats to the top, it's not. This happens because as an egg ages, it develops a larger and larger air pocket in its shell. According to The Oxford Companion to Food, it's actually better to choose a less-fresh egg if you're hard-boiling it, because in fresh eggs "the white adheres closely to the shell, making it more difficult to remove the latter."

3. Eggs Are a Great Hangover Cure

As you can see from Paul's list of hangover cures, eating eggs is a great way to help shake off the previous evening's festivities.

4. Raw Eggs Can Make Delicious — and Safe — Food and Drinks

Classic recipes for mayonnaise, caesar salad dressing, lemon curd, and several cocktails include raw eggs. While salmonella is certainly a concern in using raw eggs or other raw animal products, you can reduce your risk by using the freshest eggs possible (ideally locally produced) or purchasing pasturized eggs.

5. Chickens Aren't the Only Birds That Lay Edible Eggs

Duck, quail, emu, goose, and ostrich eggs can all be cooked up.

6. What Eggs You Buy Can Be a Very Personal Decision

Eggs tend to be a battleground food, with lots of conflicting information available about which eggs are best for you, your budget, the chickens, and the environment. For more information about choosing the eggs that are right for you, check out Carrie's post about egg angst at the supermarket or Philip's post on "real" eggs.

7. You Can Make Your Eggs Cube-Shaped

Somebody invented a product that presses hard-boiled eggs into cubes. I suppose this would be useful if, um, you really, really needed to stack your hard-boiled eggs.

8. Eggshells Are Useful!

Don't throw your eggshells away. You can carefully hollow out eggshells to decorate around Easter, use them to start seeds, or help control slugs in your garden.

9. Preserved Eggs Known as "Century Eggs" Are a Chinese Delicacy

According Anne Marie Helmenstine, About.com's guide to chemistry, these dark-colored preserved eggs "are made by storing raw eggs for a few months in a mixture of wood ash, salt, lime, and maybe tea with rice straw or clay." But they are not, as has often been rumored, preserved in horse urine. I actually ate a century egg once as part of an eating contest. I wish I could tell you what it tasted like, but my previous feat had been to eat two massive hot peppers, and they utterly destroyed my sense of taste for the next half hour.

10. There Are Hundreds, If Not Thousands, Ways to Prepare Eggs

Just check out the 1898 book Eggs, and How to Use Them, available for free on Google Books, which boasts over 500 recipes.

Do you have a favorite egg fact — or a favorite way to prepare eggs? What kind of eggs do you buy? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Guest's picture
srah

In addition to cubes, you can get egg molds in a lot of different shapes. I've seen them a lot on bento box sites, so I assume the idea started in Japan.

http://www.cookingcute.com/using_egg_molds.htm

Meg Favreau's picture

Srah: A link to adorable egg molds and a picture with a mustache mug? You're officially the knower of all cute kitchen items.

Guest's picture

Eggs are one of my favorite foods, and not just because they are cheap.

As a person that use to lift weights and build muscle, eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein out there (or at least that's what was true when I was lifting).

Thanks for the great article, I do have a slug problem, so I'm going to read that article that you have a link to! Thanks!

Meg Favreau's picture

Glad to hear you're going to try the slug control, Money Reasons. My mom always used salt to get rid of the slimy guys -- it's certainly effective, but also seems needlessly gross when a nice line of crumbled shells will hold them back.

Guest's picture

Eggs are an excellent low-carb food staple, too. For anyone trying to cut back on carbs but feeling like it's so expensive to buy meat all the time (and I agree, it gets expensive), eggs are a really good protein to supplement with - I have omelets all the time and add an egg or two to stir-fry meals.

Meg Favreau's picture

Good point about the low-carb, Fairy Dust, and about how well eggs work as a supplement protein in things like stir fries. I recently found a better Pad Thai recipe than the one I had been using, and it calls for an egg. I've since made the recipe with both tofu and shrimp as the main protein, and the egg tastes great with either.

Guest's picture
Guest

Just like the old commercial: "I love eggs, from my head down to my legs...".

I love mine poached or scrambled with veggies. Yum!

Meg Favreau's picture

Mmm, scrambled with veggies is one of my favorite ways to prepare them as well. Especially with a generous helping of gooey, melted cheese.

Sonja Stewart's picture

I love this article almost as much as I love eggs. I use them for weight loss. Hard boiled, they make a great snack that satisfies hunger and are very low in calories. LOVE this article. My obsession with eggs is complete. ;)

Guest's picture
Sandy

The membrane pulled from the inside of the eggshell can be used to cover a small burn and speeds healing.

Guest's picture
concernedfoodie

I love eggs, too. I really think this is a good article, because it highlights the many different uses that egg can come in handy. For my I like to watch what I eat and I'm very concerned with my fitness as well. For me I incorporate eggs into my diet by mixing raw eggs with my protein drinks. Although I don't mixed just regular raw eggs,I use pasteurized eggs, like you mentioned in the article. Like I said, I tend to watch what I eat and with the recent egg recalls, I don't think you can ever be too sure. I have been using them for the last few years now, for basically all my egg-based foods. But great info here.
Thanks

Guest's picture
Raina

I buy the expensive organic, free range, grain-fed chicken eggs. I just prefer the thought of my money going toward a company/farmer that's taking better care of the chickens instead of shoving them in cages and injecting them with chemicals. The shells of the eggs I buy seem to be thicker than the cheap $1 carton eggs, too, probably due to the better health of the chickens.

Guest's picture
indio

I recently took the plunge into raising backyard chickens in suburbia and now that I'm 2 dozen brown, free range, organic eggs into it, I'm loving it. For weeks now I've been studying and saving up recipes in anticipation of the egg laying days. It's such a thrill to go outside and feed the girls every morning and pick up breakfast while I'm at it. The eggs are still small, but they are tasty. To date, the eggs have contributed to one flourless chocolate cake, cranberry cornbread and 2 loaves of honey egg bread.
At the end of February, I'm adding green and blue egg layers to the flock. It should make Easter 2012 a lot easier without the messy food dye.

Guest's picture
Guest

I love eggs!

Guest's picture
Ken From Sarnia, ON

I would do proper research before promoting something like number 4 - feeding raw foods. The suggested 'benefits' of feeding raw are often HEAVILY outweighed by the risks of disease - sometimes very serious disease in the very young and very old!

http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2011/11/articles/animals/dogs/raw-diets...