Eggs 101

Cooking How-To,How-To,Ingredient
July 17, 2012

Some basic facts about eggs.

Egg Shells in Bowl
Mark Boughton Photography

Although we eat them every day (in one form or another), we bet you really don’t know eggs. All sorts of eggs—quail, sturgeon, goose—are delicious, but here’s the skinny on those produced by chickens.

  • A chicken takes about 26 hours to produce an egg; after a 30-minute rest, she starts the process again. Fertilized eggs are no more nutritious than unfertilized eggs.
  • Egg shell color is determined by the chicken’s breed.
  • Always refrigerate eggs; they lose more nutrition in a day at room temperature than a week of refrigeration. But do bring eggs to room temperature to achieve maximum volume in baking.
  • Eggs are generally edible for about a month. If your recipe calls only for egg whites and you’d like to save the yolks, cover them in water in a tight container, and refrigerate up to three days. Egg whites can be stored four days in a tight container.
  • On average, only one in 20,000 eggs contains the bacteria for salmonella (so you might encounter a contaminated egg every 84 years).
  • All the fat in eggs (5 grams) is found in the yolks. Whites provide protein and riboflavin. And while eggs contain protein, iron, phosphorous, and vitamins A, D and E, they have been demonized because of their high cholesterol content (213mg)—one egg pretty much chews up the maximum daily intake that’s often recommended. But it’s saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, that is the big culprit in raising blood cholesterol levels, and an egg weighs in at only 1.6 grams of the saturated kind.

—By Jo Marshall


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