Egg Trivia! Egg History Which came first, the chicken or the egg? According to the bible, the chicken came first: "And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. And God said, 'Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.'" Genesis 1:10-20. Europe has had domesticated hens since 600 B.C. Chickens came to the New World with Columbus on his second trip in 1493. Eggs were colored, blessed, exchanged and eaten as part of the rites of spring long before Christian times. While it is customary to throw rice at weddings in many countries, French brides break an egg on the threshold of their new home before stepping in- for luck and healthy babies. At the time of the French Revolution, the clever French already knew 685 different ways of preparing eggs. Egg Production About 240 million laying hens produce some 50 billion eggs each year in the United States. That's roughly one hen for every man, women and child in the country. There are now 200 breeds of chickens. White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. There is no difference in nutrition between white and brown eggs. An average hen lays 300 to 325 eggs a year. A hen starts laying eggs at 19 weeks of age. A lot goes into an egg. The hen must eat 4 pounds of feed to make a dozen eggs. To produce one egg, it takes a hen 24-26 hours, and to do so, she requires 5 oz. of food and 10 oz. of water. Thirty minutes later she starts all over again. Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It is rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all. Artificial color additives are not permitted in chicken feed. Yolk color depends on the diet of the hen. Feed containing yellow corn or alfalfa produces medium yellow yolks while feed containing wheat or barely produces lighter color yolks. During the packing process, eggs are separated by size. Minimum weights per dozen are : Jumbo (30 oz.), Extra Large (27 oz.), Large (24 oz.), Medium (21 oz.), small (18 oz.), and Pee Wee (15 oz.). As a hen grows older she produces larger eggs. Did you know a mother hen turns over her egg about fifty times per day (so the yolk won't stick to the sides of the shell) Egg Handling The egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors. Storing them in their cartons helps keep them fresh. Eggs are placed in their cartons large end up to keep the air cell in place and the yolk centered. Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator Eggs can be kept refrigerated in their carton for at least 4 to 5 weeks beyond the pack date. A hard-cooked egg will peel more easily if it is a week or two old before it is cooked. To tell if an egg is raw or hard-cooked, spin it! If the egg spins easily, it is hard-cooked, if it wobbles, it is raw. A cloudy white is a sign of freshness, not age, because of a high carbon dioxide content when the egg is laid. If an egg is accidentally dropped on the floor, sprinkle it heavily with salt for easy clean up. A greenish ring around a hard-cooked (boiled) egg yolk is due to either overcooking or a high iron content in the cooking water. This can be avoided using proper cooking time and temperature, and by rapidly cooling the cooked egg in a bowl of ice-water for a few minutes. In cooking, eggs are "the cement that holds the castle of cuisine together." because of their ability to bind, leaven, thicken, emulsify, clarify, and more in all types of recipes. The egg yolk and white separate best when cold. Egg whites will beat to a better volume if they're allowed to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before beating. A fresh egg will sink in water while an older egg will stand up. As the egg gets older the air space in the egg increases causing it to float. The stringy piece of material in the egg is not an embryo but rather a special protein called chalazae which acts as a shock absorber for the yolk so it doesn't break Egg Nutrition Eggs contain the highest quality protein you can buy. Egg protein has the perfect mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build you own tissues. In addition, eggs have thirteen essential vitamins and minerals Eggs contain the highest quality food protein known. It is second only to mother's milk for human nutrition. Egg yolk is one of the few foods that contain Vitamin D Egg yolk is the major source of the egg's vitamins and minerals. A large egg contains only 75 calories and 5 grams of fat. Eggs have no vitamin C because the chick can produce it from food it eats. Egg-cetera The largest single chicken egg ever laid weighed a pound with a double yolk and double shell The most expensive egg ever sold was the Faberge "Winter Egg" sold in 1994 for $5.6 million. During the spring (vernal) equinox (about March 21), it is said that an egg will stand on its small end. Although some people have reported success, it is not known whether such results were due to the equinox or to the peculiarities of that particular egg. The entire month of May has been declared "National Egg Month". This is the time of the year to celebrate the many benefits of the egg. American Egg Board's Howard Helmer, Omelet King, topped existing Guiness Book of World records for omelet making in 1990. He emerged with 427 two-egg omelets in 30 minutes.