Some interesting facts about eggs...

What is the History of the Egg?
How Often Does a Hen Lay an Egg?
What Makes Hard-Cooked Eggs Hard to Peel?
What Are Thousand-Year-Old Eggs?
Do Pickled Eggs Keep a Long Time?
Are Easter Eggs Safe?





What is the History of the Egg?
Eggs existed long before chickens, according to On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. These all-in-one reproductive cells, incorporating the nutrients to support life, evolved about a billion years ago. The first eggs were hatched in the ocean. As animal life emerged from the water about 250 million years ago, they began producing an egg with a tough leathery skin to prevent dehydration of its contents on dry land. The chicken evolved only about 5,000 years ago from an Asian bird.




How Often Does a Hen Lay an Egg?
The entire time from ovulation to laying is about 25 hours. Then about 30 minutes later, the hen will begin to make another one.




What Makes Hard-Cooked Eggs Hard to Peel?
The fresher the egg, the more difficult it is to peel after hard cooking. That's because the air cell, found at the large end of the shell between the shell membranes, increases in size the longer the raw egg is stored. As the contents of the egg contracts and the air cell enlarges, the shell becomes easier to peel. For this reason, older eggs make better candidates for hard cooking.




What Are Thousand-Year-Old Eggs?
These Chinese eggs are not really 1,000 years old, but are somewhere between a month and several years old. The egg is not retained in its original state, but rather converted into an entirely different food, probably by bacterial action. They are exempt from inspection and grading. The following are several types of thousand-year-old Chinese eggs. "Hulidan" results when eggs are individually coated with a mixture of salt and wet clay or ashes for a month. This process darkens and partially solidifies the yolks, and gives the eggs a salty taste. "Dsaudan" eggs are packed in cooked rice and salt for at least 6 months. During this time, the shell softens, the membranes thicken, and the egg contents coagulate. The flavor is wine-like. "Pidan," a great delicacy, is made by covering eggs with lime, salt, wood ashes, and a tea infusion for 5 months or more. The egg yolks become greenish gray and the albumen turns into a coffee-brown jelly. Pidan smell ammonia-like and taste like lime.




Do Pickled Eggs Keep a Long Time?
Pickled eggs are hard-cooked eggs marinated in vinegar and pickling spices, spicy cider, or juice from pickles or pickled beets. Studies done at the American Egg Board substantiate that unopened containers of brined eggs- marinated, hard-cooked eggs-keep for several months on the shelf. After opening, keep refrigerated.




Are Easter Eggs Safe?
Sometimes eggs are decorated, used as decorations, and hunted at Easter. Here are some safety tips for Easter eggs.
  • Dyeing eggs: After hard cooking eggs, dye them and return them to the refrigerator within 2 hours. If eggs are to be eaten, use a food-safe coloring. As with all foods, persons dyeing the eggs should wash their hands before handling the eggs.
  • Decorations: One Easter bread recipe is decorated with dyed, cooked eggs in the braided bread. Because the bread is kept at room temperature, these eggs should be considered a decoration only and not eaten.
  • Blowing out eggshells: Because some raw eggs may contain Salmonella, you must use caution when blowing out the contents to hollow out the shell for decorating, such as for Ukranian Easter eggs. Use only eggs that have been kept refrigerated and are uncracked. To destroy bacteria that may be present on the surface of the egg, wash the egg in hot water and then rinse in a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach per half cup of water. After blowing out the egg, refrigerate the contents and use within 2 to 4 days; cook thoroughly before eating.
  • Hunting Eggs: Hard-cooked eggs for an egg hunt must be prepared with care to prevent cracking the shells. If the shells crack, bacteria could contaminate the inside. Eggs should be hidden in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other sources of bacteria. The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should not exceed 2 hours. The "found" eggs must be re-refrigerated until eaten.



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