Most eggs that are eaten by humans, including bird eggs and turtle eggs, have a protective, oval eggshell, the albumen (egg white), the vitellus (egg yolk), and various thin membranes, that are layers like skin. Every part of the egg is edible, although the eggshell is usually thrown away. Eggs are a good source of protein and choline.
Egg as a food ingredientEdit
Birds' eggs are a common food source. The most commonly used bird eggs are those from the chicken, the duck, and the goose. Smaller eggs such as quail eggs are sometimes used as a gourmet ingredient, as are the largest bird eggs, from ostriches.
Most of the chicken eggs sold for human consumption are unfertilized. The hens are kept without any roosters. Fertile eggs can be bought and eaten as well. There is no difference in the food value of fertilised and unfertilised eggs. Fertile eggs for eating do not have a baby bird inside. This is because eggs have to be kept cool before they are sold, and the cold stops the young inside from starting to grow.
Chicken eggs are widely used in many types of cooking. Recipes that use eggs include sweet and savoury dishes. Eggs can be used and cooked in many different ways. They can be hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, fried, combined with flour in cakes or eaten raw. Roasted eggs are used at the Jewish holiday of Passover. Pickled eggs are hard-boiled and then put in vinegar. They are often sold in UK fish and chip shops.
Eating raw eggs is not recommended for some people. This is because the egg may be contaminated with bacteria that could cause illness. This could be serious for the elderly, the infirm, or pregnant women.
The body can use about 91% of the protein of a cooked eggs, nearly twice as much as from a raw egg.
There is no difference in taste or food value between white or brown eggs. The colour of a chicken's egg depends on the breed.
In most of the United States, eggs are generally white; while in the northeast of that country and in the United Kingdom, eggs are generally light-brown. People in Brazil and Poland prefer brown or reddish eggs, because white eggs are thought of as "industrial", that is, for use in commercial bakeries. The reason some people prefer one colour of egg and other people prefer a different colour is probably because of what the colours are linked with in their minds. For example white is linked with purity, and brown-shelled eggs with greater wholesomeness.
- Stadelman W.J. and Cotterill O.J. 1995. Egg science and technology. 4th ed, New York: Food Products Press.
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