Oct. 23, 2019

Five Interesting Facts about Eggs

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

My great-grandfather, Joseph Hudson, started farming in Lyn, Ontario in 1891. One of the great things about being a fourth generation farmer (whose family has been in the egg business for more than 70 years) is the vast amount of knowledge about eggs that you can collect over the years. Today I’m going to share five of my favourite facts with you!

Which are healthier: white or brown eggs?

I hear this question all of the time. Sometimes people think that brown eggs must be healthier than white eggs because that adage holds true for bread (high-fibre whole grain ‘brown’ bread is more nutritious than white bread). But the same isn’t true for eggs! The colour of the shell is based on the breed of the bird. The most common breed of hen used for eggs is the Leghorn. However, the Rhode Island Red is primarily used for brown eggs. As a general rule, if the hen has white feathers, the egg shell will be white, and if the hen has brown/red feathers, the egg shell will be brown. Regardless of colour, all eggs are a source of protein, plus a host of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, D, E and selenium. Something that can change the nutritional value of eggs is what the hens are fed. For example, including more flax seeds in a hen’s feed will help that hen produce eggs that are high in omega-3 fat.

Who actually lays the eggs: chickens or hens?

Children are often curious about this when they visit the farm! The easy answer is this: Chicken is the umbrella term for both males and females. To further classify them, female chickens are called hens, and male chickens are called roosters. So, both chickens and hens lay eggs – but roosters don’t! And how cute is this: baby chickens are collectively called “chicks”, with female chicks being referred to as pullets. We raise the young hens or pullets in separate houses until 20 weeks of age when they start to lay eggs, and then we move them into our laying hen barns.

Is there a better way to peel a hard-boiled egg?

Should you use an ice bath? Salt? Baking soda? Perhaps you’ve tried many strategies to help get the shell off of a hard-boiled egg. And you may think: sometimes the strategy works and sometimes it doesn’t! Truth is, usually it’s the egg itself, and not the method you choose, which will determine if the eggs peel easily or not. It often depends on the age of the egg, and fresh eggs are harder to peel. Why is this? The egg white in fresh eggs is relatively acidic. When boiled, fresh egg whites bond more strongly to the inner shell membrane than it does to itself, making the egg harder to peel. But if you use eggs that are 7-10 days old, the acidity of the egg white will have decreased and the hard-boiled eggs will be much easier to peel. Plus, as the egg ages, the air space between the egg shell and the membrane will get larger which makes it easier to peel. If your eggs are super-fresh, try using a spoon to help ease the peel off. This video will show you how.

Do eggs contain antioxidants?

The word ‘antioxidant’ may conjure up images of vegetables, fruit, wine, tea and dark chocolate. People are often surprised to learn that eggs also contain antioxidants! Eggs are a source of selenium, zinc and vitamin E, which all act as antioxidants. That means they help protect the body against oxidation, which causes damage to cells that can eventually lead to heart disease, liver disease and certain types of cancer. Egg yolks also contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are linked to better vision and a reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading cause of blindness in adults.

Should I just eat egg whites for protein?

It’s a common misconception that eggs whites contain all of the protein in a standard egg. The truth? One large egg contains 6 g protein: 3 grams from the egg white, and 3 grams from the egg yolk. You’ll also find antioxidants and vitamins in the yolk, so use the whole egg to reap the most nutritional benefits! And while we’re on the topic of protein, it’s well known that eggs are considered high-quality protein because they contain all nine essential amino acids that the body requires.

Help! I mixed my fresh and hard-boiled eggs in the same carton, and I don’t know which is which!

I’ve done this too – especially around Easter when we’re using eggs for crafts. The good news is there’s a simple way to know which is which! Simply spin the egg. Hard-boiled eggs will spin longer than raw eggs. The liquid centre in a raw egg prevents it from building up enough momentum to keep turning.

So there you have it! Egg facts from a true egg farmer! Are there any questions that I can answer for you about eggs? Send an email to general@burnbraefarms .com.

Margaret Hudson

President, Burnbrae Farms