18 Egg-citing Facts About Eggs

Eggs are one of the most versatile foods and remain hugely popular in the UK and around the globe. They are also a fascinating food which never fails to amaze with their bizarre facts and whacky properties!

Here’s a list of 18 egg facts which are bound to crack you up!

1. The US disinfect their eggs

Eggs naturally have an outside layer which allows them to be kept fresh at room temperature. However, this coating attracts bacteria so US laws require manufacturers to disinfect eggs before packaging them. This is why many eggs in the US are white and is why they must be refrigerated, whereas eggs in the UK can be kept unrefrigerated.

2. The largest egg ever discovered

Many believe that the largest egg discovered was laid in 1896 by a Lancashire hen. Its egg was 9 inches in diameter and weighed an astonishing 340! However, Harriett beat this record in 2012 with its 9.1 inch diameter egg. At least it was another Brit!

3. Marigold petals and artificially yellow yolks

Marigold petals are a bit of a wonder plant for chickens. When they are planted around the perimeter of the chicken coop they deter bugs from entering. Some farmers even add marigold directly into the hens’ nests to keep insects out. The most common practise though, is feeding chickens marigold petals. Not only does this become an antioxidant when humans eat their eggs but these properties also make the hens’ yolks a more vibrant yellow.

4. Lavender and parsley as super plants

On the topic of super plants, marigolds aren’t the only beneficial plant for hens and their eggs. Parsley is very high in essential chicken nutrients and aid in blood vessel development which makes them a laying stimulant. Lavender, on the other hand, keeps bugs out just as marigold does, but it also acts as a stress reliever and increases blood circulation which is particularly useful for hens which spend most of their time sitting on eggs.

5. ‘Yolk’ means ‘yellow’

‘Yolk’ is the old English term for ‘yellow’ so instead of ‘egg whites and egg yolk,’ it ought to be ‘egg whites and egg yellows.’

6. Eggs are graded

Grade AA are the highest quality eggs you can buy. Their whites are firm and their yolks are free from any defects whilst their shells are impeccable. Grade A eggs still have clean whites but are usually yess firm so the yolk is less protected. Grade B eggs usually aren’t sold as eggs in stores because their whites are thin, yolks are flat, and usually have blood spots. They are usually used in liquid and powdered egg products instead.

Top tip: use grade AA eggs for the best poached eggs – the egg will ‘hold together’ better because the egg white is much firmer and thicker.

7. Raw eggs don’t have more protein

I’m sure we’ve all heard the adage that sumo wrestlers eat nothing but raw eggs, making the practice popular amongst bodybuilders. However, it’s often forgotten that whereas only 51% of proteins in raw eggs are digestible, a huge 91% of proteins in cooked eggs can be digested. So instead of chugging down slimy raw eggs, turn them into a delicious dish which will be higher in protein!

8. Egg whites and yolks contain the same amount of protein

Many bodybuilders opt to remove the egg yolk because it supposedly contains less protein but more calories. Whilst the latter is true, both the egg white and the egg yolk actually contain around 3 grams of protein each. Regardless of the extra calories, egg yolks contain a whole host of beneficial micronutrients so it’s a good idea to avoid skimping out on them!

9. ‘Cage-free’ isn’t as free as you think

When buying a box of eggs, you might read the term ‘cage-free’ and envisage a field of happy hens fluttering around. Actually, ‘cage-free’ requires a minimum of 120 feet squared per chicken which is only double the size of standard battery cages. It’s likely that the eggs you buy are produced by hens who are in large crammed aviaries and other large indoor spaces.

Either way, conditions are atrocious. Even the term ‘free range’ means a maximum of 13 birds per meter squared… thirteen!

10. Cloudy egg whites mean fresher eggs

Contrary to popular belief, cloudy egg whites actually indicate that the egg is very fresh. Egg whites become clear and transparent as carbon dioxide escapes through the shell. Clear eggs are likely to be older and less fresh and any signs of discolouring in the egg white should be taken as an indicator of spoilage so make sure to avoid these!

Top tip: another good way to test the freshness of an egg is to place it in a glass of water – if it sinks then it’s fresh, if it floats then it’s probably old!

11. Egg thickness indicates the bird’s age

Dispelling the popular myth that brown eggs have thicker shells than white eggs, it’s actually the bird’s age that determines the thickness of the shell. The younger the bird is then the thicker and harder the shell will be, whereas exceptionally thin shells are suggestive of an old bird.

12. Chickens are omnivores

Something that surprised me is that chickens are actually omnivores as opposed to vegetarians! In the wild, they opt for omega-3 rich grasses and derive their protein from insects, grasshoppers, and worms. Farmers are gradually turning to using either grains which use no animal by-products or vegetarian-based protein sources such as soybeans.

13. Egg shell colour is down to genetics

There’s a common misconception that white hens lay white eggs and brown hens lay brown eggs. In reality, differences in egg colour are down to genetics and breeds. For instance, the colour of the hen’s earlobes is indicative of its egg colour. Hens with white earlobes (White Leghorns) usually lay correspondingly white eggs and those with brown ear lobes (Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rock Hens) usually lay brown eggs.

Fun fact: blue and green eggs derive from a mutation 500 years ago in South American chickens which led to an accumulation of a pigment called biliverdin, making egg shells blue and green in colour!

14. Why chicken eggs?

Have you ever wondered why chicken eggs are the overwhelming preference instead of duck or turkey eggs? Well, chickens lay more eggs in one go and do so more frequently, they need less nesting space, and they don’t have as strong mothering instincts which makes egg collection easier and safer.

15. Homosexual black swan parenting

During their mating season, black swans usually opt for what we would deem to be ‘homosexual relationships.’ The couple invite a female and mate together and once the egg is laid they will drive the female away and adopt the egg under their own care

16. Is this egg raw or hard boiled?

Have you ever taken an egg from the fridge and been unsure if it’s raw or hard boiled, only to then waste a perfectly good raw egg by ‘testing it’ a bit too vigorously… or is it just me? A good way to tell is to spin the egg on a flat surface. If it’s raw then the yolk will move about inside causing the egg to wobble, whereas hard boiled eggs will spin in a much more regular fashion as their relative weight is more evenly distributed and fixed.

17. Laying times

Hens take on average between 24 and 26 hours to develop an egg. Plus, hens usually have eggs at different stages of development. This means that hens multitask in terms of their egg laying. Imagine if humans could multi-pregnate at different stages and have these develop in just one day!

18. The UK loves eggs!

On average, a whopping 11 billion eggs are laid in the UK each year which makes the UK 86% self-sufficient in this area!

Freshways: Wholesale Dairy Products For Your Business

This list of 18 crazy egg facts should demonstrate not just their versatility but also their fascinating and unique properties.

If you have any other questions or if you’d like to order fresh eggs then don’t hesitate to get in touch with Freshways on 0208 746 2046. As one of the UK’s leading premier dairy providers for over 37 years, Freshways is dedicated to top-quality dairy production.