Did you know . . .

How eggs are "made"?

  • An egg takes the hen 25 hours to make, so at most, a hen can lay 6 eggs per week.
  • When hens are young, they lay small eggs; as they get older, the eggs get larger, and aren't laid as frequently.
  • The hen puts the shell on the egg just as it is laid. It takes about 10 seconds to harden.
  • The hen always puts the same amount of calcium on her eggs, so small eggs have much thicker shells than large eggs -  because the calcium doesn't have to stretch as far.
  • Eggs have a natural protective coating called the "bloom", which gives the egg a slightly "matt" finish. Washing Grade A eggs before selling them to the public is illegal, as it removes this coating. In the 19th century in Ireland, a farmer could be put in jail for washing eggs.
  • It isn't necessary to have a cockerel; the hens lay eggs anyway, but they aren't fertile.

And what about after they are laid?

  • Eggs are sorted by weight, not size.
  • Eggs are also graded - Grade A is the top grade. Grade B's are are often used in commercial catering and baking, where shell appearance isn't important. Large poultry farms sell cracked or badly damaged eggs as Grade C, for use in paint-making and other industrial applications.

In the kitchen . . .

  • The fresher the egg, the harder it is to get the shell off after it is boiled. On the other hand, very fresh egg whites whip more quickly than older whites.
  • When the Romans came to Britain, they were surprised to see people eating hen eggs.
  • Eggs are actually a low fat food - an egg has only 5 grams of fat on average, and most of that is unsaturated. Eggs are one of the best sources of protein, as they contain all of the essential amino acids needed by the body. For more information on egg nutrition, click here

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