Facts about eggs

We found 20 facts about eggs

A multicultural symbol of life

The egg is a natural product that has been an important part of food since the dawn of mankind. It is valued primarily for its nutritional value, which makes it probably the healthiest food product. It is a versatile product, used as an ingredient and often the basis of many dishes.

Also, since time immemorial, in various cultures around the world, the egg has been and still is a symbol of life, rebirth, new beginnings, and the victory of life over death.

The egg is one of the staple foods.

As a rich source of nutrients, it forms the basis of many dishes. We most often and preferably reach for chicken eggs, but also duck, goose, turkey, and quail eggs. Hen eggs are eaten most readily in Eastern and Central Europe, duck eggs mainly in East Asia, and goose eggs are a local specialty over the Lower Rhine.

In biological terms, an egg is one of the developmental stages of a new individual in many animal species.

Eggs are laid by insects, fish, reptile amphibians, birds, and a few mammals, such as the steak beak and Australian spiny dogfish, among others. The egg contains nutritional raw materials that allow the embryo to develop without access to the parent organism and external food sources. It also provides a relatively safe environment for embryo development.

A chicken egg is made up of four essential parts: egg yolk, egg white, two egg membranes, and shell.
  • The eggshell is the outer covering, 0,2-0,5 mm thick. It consists of two layers: an outer layer, called calcareous or spongy, made up of keratin-collagen fibers with minerals on them-the pigment is present in this layer; and an inner layer, made up of protein granules. The crust has about 8-9 thousand pores, through which gas exchange takes place
  • Under the shell are two egg membranes (sub-shell and peri-shell), which adhere tightly to each other, except at the blunt end of the egg, where they form a so-called air chamber
  • The egg white acts as a shielding agent for the yolk. It consists of a thin layer of dense protein surrounding the yolk, a layer of thin protein, and two chalazas (fibrous structures) that hold the yolk in a central position
  • The egg yolk is a semi-fluid, viscous mass that is light yellow to dark orange (the color depends on the breed of hen and how it is fed). It is covered with vitelline membrane.
The yolk (vitelline) is the building and nourishing material for the developing embryo.

It makes up about 33 percent of the liquid mass of the egg and contains about 60 kcal. It consists of proteins, carbohydrates (mainly glycogen), lipids (mainly phospholipids), mineral salts, and some vitamins. All fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are found in the yolk. It is one of the few foods that naturally contains vitamin D.

The fats of the yolk show particularly high biological value, as they have a good ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids (2:1) and contain a lot of valuable phospholipids (about 30 percent of total lipids, 70 percent of which are phosphatidylcholine or lecithin).

Chicken egg yolk has a yellow color, which is due to the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin (xanthophylls).

Egg protein is the protective substance of the yolk.

Its primary purpose is to protect the yolk and provide additional nutrition for the growth of the embryo. Protein makes up about 56 percent of the weight of the whole chicken egg. It contains 88-89 percent water, about 10-11 percent protein (mainly albumin) and about 1 percent carbohydrates. It contains no fats or cholesterol. The only vitamin found in significant amounts in the protein is riboflavin (vitamin B2).

Bird eggs have been a valuable food since prehistoric times.

They were fed by hunting communities as well as by newer cultures where birds were domesticated. The hen seems to have been domesticated because of the eggs.

Hens were domesticated from the jungle fowl of tropical and subtropical Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent before 7500 BC. Around 1500 BC they were brought to Egypt, they were kept by the ancient Sumer, and around 800 BC they made their way to Greece, where quail was the main source of eggs. Horemheb’s tomb in Thebes, dated to around 1420 BC, contains paintings depicting a man carrying bowls of ostrich eggs and other large eggs, probably pelican, as a gift.

In ancient Rome, meals often began with egg dishes.

The Romans knew many ways to preserve eggs. In the Middle Ages, eating eggs was forbidden during Lent, as they were considered non-Lenten foods.

In the 17th century in France, scrambled eggs on sour fruit juices were popular.

In the 19th century, the dried egg industry developed.

In 1878, a company in St. Louis began the process of drying eggs and producing a light brown flour-like substance from them. The production of dried eggs increased significantly during World War II, for use by the United States Armed Forces and its allies.

The largest bird eggs come from ostriches.

An ostrich egg weighs between 1.2 and 2 kg, its length ranges from 13.3 to 17 cm, and the shell can be as thick as 3 mm. It can take up to 2.5 hours to hard-boil such as an egg. One ostrich egg is equivalent to 25-35 chicken eggs. Such an egg cannot be easily cracked; to get to the contents, the shell must be drilled open.

Ostrich egg, compared to the size of the bird itself, is not that big at all. If you consider the size of the egg concerning the weight of the bird, the absolute record holder is the brown kiwi bird, which can lay an egg 12.5 cm long, weighing 45 decagrams, which is ¼ of the body weight of an adult bird. A similarly sized egg is laid by the cassowary, many times larger than the kiwi bird. If an ostrich were to lay such an egg, it would weigh almost 37 kg (25 times heavier than it is).

The smallest egg is that of the Havana hummingbird - it measures about 6 millimeters and weighs just 0.027 grams.

One hen can lay up to 340 eggs a year.

It takes about a day to lay an egg. When a hen is laying an egg, she rotates it in the nest 50 times a day.

World production of chicken eggs reached 86.7 million tons in 2020.

The world’s largest producer of chicken eggs is China, which supplies about 35 percent of the global supply. The United States is second with 8 percent, followed by India (7%) and the European Union (6%).

The top three producers in Europe are Spain, Germany, and Poland.

There are various ways to prepare bird eggs.

We usually eat them fried, boiled, or as an accompaniment to other dishes. In different parts of the world, eggs are prepared in highly original ways.

For example, in Chinese culture, a delicacy called century egg, black egg, or skin egg has been around for centuries. The egg, usually a duck egg, is fermented for several weeks in a mixture of lime, rice straw, and tea infusion. The name “century egg” comes from the fact that their connoisseurs, like wine connoisseurs, recognize that the older, the better. These eggs are also used in Chinese medicine as a diet for the sick. In that case, their preparation takes less time, and they are dropped into salt water mixed with clay and soot.

One of the delicacies of Asian cuisine, mainly Vietnamese, Filipino, Cambodian, and Chinese, is balut.

These are boiled eggs, usually duck eggs, with the embryo fully formed.

For many people, a delicacy is kogel mogel.

It is a simple dessert made of raw egg yolks whisked with sugar. Some variations include flavorings (i.e. vanilla or cocoa). It appeared in Central Europe in the 17th century and is probably of Jewish origin.

In Germany it is called Zuckerei (regionally also Goggelmoggel), in Russia - gogol-mogol, and in Yiddish gogl-mogl.

Figuratively, in Poland, the phrase kogel mogel means confusion or a troublesome situation.

Egg white is a very common food allergen.

In this regard, it ranks second only to cow’s milk protein. This problem is minimized by cooking eggs.

The egg is the largest single animal cell.
The most expensive eggs in the world are Faberge eggs.

These are gem-studded Easter eggs, hiding costly surprises inside. They were created in the 19th century in St. Petersburg, by the Faberge family jewelry company.

World Egg Day falls on the second Friday in October.

In many cultures around the world, the egg symbolizes new life, the triumph of life over death, a perfect beginning, and a symbol of cyclicality or happiness. Christians associate eggs with Easter when the egg becomes a symbol of life, rebirth, and the risen Christ. In connection with this holiday, the custom of decorating eggs, the so-called Easter eggs, emerged.

The structure of the egg was once seen as analogous to the structure of the cosmos.

According to this theory, the eggshell was supposed to be the sky, the membrane inside the sky with clouds, the egg white symbolized water, and the egg yolk symbolized earth and minerals.

Until recently, there was a belief that eggs were harmful because of the cholesterol they contained.

No scientific studies have confirmed a direct relationship between eating eggs and cholesterol levels. The human body produces cholesterol on its own, and its content in human blood depends on many factors, including genes, age, gender, weight, physical activity, etc.

The lecithin and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in eggs help get rid of cholesterol and lower blood triglyceride levels.

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