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 ingredient
Birds' eggs are a common food source. The most commonly used bird eggs are those from the chicken, the duck, and the goose, but smaller eggs such as quail eggs are occasionally used as a gourmet ingredient, as are the largest bird eggs, from ostriches. Most commercially produced chicken eggs intended for human consumption are unfertilized, because 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. Dishes that use eggs range from both sweet to savoury dishes. Eggs are versatile, that means they can be used and cooked in many different ways. They can be pickled; hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, fried and refrigerated; or eaten raw. Roasted eggs are used at the Jewish holiday of Passover Eating raw eggs is not recommended for people who may be likely to catch to salmonella, such as the elderly, the infirm, or pregnant women.
Cooking does not change the taste of eggs, or the way they look. 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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