An egg is an oval body laid by the female of many animals. It consists of an ovum surrounded by layers of membranes and an outer casing. Most edible eggs, including bird eggs and turtle eggs, consist of a protective shell, the albumen (egg white), the vitellus (egg yolk), and various thin membranes. Every part is edible, although the eggshell is generally discarded. Nutritionally, eggs are considered a good source of protein and choline.
Eggs are composed of a yellow yolk and translucent white surrounded by a protective shell that can be white or brown, depending upon the breed of the chicken. The shell's color is not related to the quality or nutritional value of the egg itself.
1 Large Egg = approx. 1.67 oz
Selecting and Buying
Calculate the "sell by" date. This date is to be no more than 30 days from the packing date. The packing date must be within one week of the eggs being laid. If the eggs are stored properly they are typically good for 30 days after the sell by date. Check for cracks in the shell which could let bacteria in and contaminate the eggs.
Select a size and color. There are Jumbo, Extra Large, Large, Medium, and Small eggs. The size varies depending on the breed of hen, what she was eating, her age, weight and environmental conditions. The eggshell color (white or brown) is based on the breed only.
Grade the eggs. The highest quality egg with the USDA stamp is the Grade AA. The grading system is based on several factors such as the condition of the shell, appearance inside the egg called the air cell, the albumen, yolk and freshness. The next level is Grade A then B which is sold mostly to a commercial businesses such as restaurants or bakers
Choose the type of egg. Farm raised, cage free and free range tell the consumer how the hens were raised as compared to factory-raised hens. Standard white eggs have less restrictions over the feed compared to others like organic eggs. Organic eggs have no chemicals, animal products, hormones or antibiotics used in the hens' feed and the feed is also organic. Omega 3 eggs come from chickens fed an Omega 3 enriched diet (often with flaxseed). Vegetarian eggs come from hens fed feed containing no animal by products. However, in nature, free range chickens forage for plants and eat some insects.
Pay for the eggs. The price will vary depending on the breed of hen, the feed and the entire process to market. Buy your eggs according to the health needs of you and your family. Some have less cholesterol than others or more vitamins and nutrients.
Check if the egg is old by putting it in water--if it floats, it's old.
Preparation and Use
In order to prevent any possible contamination to a recipe by a spoiled egg, break each egg separately into a small bowl before combining with the other ingredients.
Excellent in a number of preparations: baked (quiche, frittata), poached, coddled, boiled (hard or soft), deviled, scrambled, etc..
Conserving and Storing
Store eggs in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for about one month. Do not wash them, as this can remove their protective coating. Keep them in their original carton or in a covered container so that they do not absorb odors or lose any moisture. Do not store them in the refrigerator door since this exposes them to too much heat each time the refrigerator is opened and closed. Make sure to store them with their pointed end facing downward as this will help to prevent the air chamber, and the yolk, from being displaced. Do not freeze eggs.