Monday, 13 April 2009

Eggs: From Hen Eggs to Easter Eggs

Hen Eggs

Hens are busy in the US: 240 million laying hens produce 66 billion eggs a year. There are white eggs and brown eggs (difference is only in the hen's breed), free-range eggs, omega 3- rich eggs (laid by hens fed a diet rich in
flax seeds... note that it's the "wrong" type of omega 3 for heart health). One hen egg has about 75 calories but more cholesterol than any other single food, all of it in the yolk: 210mg cholesterol. The American Heart Association and The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommend limiting cholesterol to less than 300mg/day, less than 200mg if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, if you have diabetes and if you have high LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Ostrich Eggs

Of all the world’s bird species, the ostrich produces the largest egg: one egg weighs about 3lbs and yields the equivalent of two-dozen chicken eggs! An egg can also be refrigerated for up to a full year thanks to its substantial shell (roughly 1/8-inch thick). Supposedly, ostrich eggs taste very similar to hen eggs but contain a day's worth of calories (2000!) and take a bit longer to cook: start-to-finish time for hard-boiling an ostrich egg is roughly an hour and a half. One ostrich egg white can make 100 meringues or 32 souffles.

Turkey Eggs

Turkey eggs are not very popular, largely due to the expense of producing them: an average turkey weighs 5 times more than a chicken, taking up more space in the coop, and whereas the average chicken lays 300 eggs a year, turkeys lay only 100.

Seagull Eggs

Who knew?! You can eat the eggs of what are often referred to as 'urban pests'... although you shouldn't eat too many as they contain high levels of PCBs (environmental pollutants). Supposedly, their strong nutty, slightly fishy, flavour make them quite the delicacy: in Norway they're served hard-boiled in the shell alongside a glass of beer, in the UK- where around 40 000 eggs are sold yearly- they are often served hard-boiled with celery salt. Just recently, the UK's Telegraph reported that the highly sought after delicacy of black-headed seagull eggs may disappear from the nation's top restaurants. There are 25 people licensed to collect seagull eggs but sources say that only about 1/3 of them, all over retirement age, are still actively involved and there is reluctance in issuing new licenses. Conservationists are also concerned over the impact the practice may be having on the black-headed seagull population which is in long-term decline.

Emu Eggs

The emu is the national bird of Australia but emu meat and eggs are starting to make an appearance in the States. Artists known as “eggers” carve intricate designs in the emu shells or use them in jewelry making. Slightly smaller than an ostrich egg, an emu egg provides the equivalent of 10 chicken eggs. The eggs can be refrigerated for up to two months.

Duck Eggs

Duck eggs are richer and fattier than chicken eggs. In parts of Asia, fertilized duck eggs with small developing ducks inside (known as balut) are served boiled and are thought to be an aphrodisiac.

Quail Eggs

Gourmets report that quail eggs are among the most delicious in the world. The eggs are small and fine, about 1/5 the weight of a chicken’s egg and contain about 1/5 of the calories of a chicken egg (15 calories) and 1/5 of the protein (1.2g). In Asia, raw quail yolks are used in sushi; Colombians dress hot dogs with hard-boiled quail eggs along with pineapple jam and potato chips; In some Latin American countries, quail eggs are considered an aphrodisiac; Brazilians eat more than half a million quail eggs a day.

Fish eggs

Some people insist that only properly processed eggs from Caspian or Black Sea sturgeon (sieved to remove the egg sacs, leaving only the eggs) merit being called caviar (it is the most expensive) whereas others will include salted and sieved eggs from salmon, trout, flying fish, and paddlefish, and even land animals—French snail farmers introduced escargot caviar in 2007. Dwindling fishing yields, overfishing and pollution have resulted in certain restrictions, ie. the US Fish and Wildlife Service banned the import of Black and Caspian Sea Beluga caviar. In general, the lighter the colour of the fish eggs, the more expensive it is. The most expensive caviar comes from the Beluga Sturgeon of the Caspian sea. The only known outlet of this "Almas" caviar is the Caviar House & Prunier in London’s Picadilly that sells a kilo in a 24-karat gold tin for £16,000. It also sells a £800 tin for those on a smaller budget.

Easter (Painted) Eggs

The egg was a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in Pagan celebrations of Spring and was adopted by early Christians as a symbol of rebirth. Painting eggs dates back some 2500 years to the ancient Persians who did so to celebrate Nawrooz, their New Year that falls on the Spring Equinox. These eggs are not meant to be eaten!

Chocolate Eggs

Chocolate eggs appeared in the early 1800s in France and Germany after manufacturers developed a way to make solid eating chocolate. Today, chocolate eggs account for roughly 8% of all annual chocolate sales, and people buy more chocolate candy for Easter than for any other holiday except Valentine’s Day- 90% of adult
s buy chocolate on Easter in North America.

Source: Gourmet

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