Eggs have been a part of food culture all over the world for a really long time!
Scrambled, fried, boiled, deviled… In breads, cakes, cookies, and custards…the ways to enjoy eggs are nearly endless!
Let's explore all kinds of eggs!
What’s So Special About Eggs Anyway?
Eggs are easy to handle. They come in their own packaging…the shell. Eggs are quite nutritious for their small size. Packed with protein and minerals and vitamins, they’re really good for you.
Going all the way back to the Neolithic period (about 10,000 BC,) humans figured out they could take a couple eggs from a nest without too much hassle from the bird.
By 7,500 BC, people had figured out how to domesticate a jungle bird found in Southeast Asia and India called the jungle fowl.
This is where the chicken we know today came from!
Chicken’s eggs aren’t the only kind of eggs you can eat, though.
All birds lay eggs. And all bird’s eggs are edible.
Although some eggs wouldn’t make much of a meal, let alone a snack. And other eggs could feed a whole family with just one!
Eggs Come in Lots of Sizes
There are teeny-tiny eggs.
One of the smallest birds on the planet, the hummingbird, lays super-small eggs. These eggs are about the size of a pea!
There are enormous eggs!
On the other end of the scale, an ostrich lays mega-sized eggs. 6 inches long and weighing up to 3 pounds, ostrich eggs are the largest!
Eggs Come in Lots of Colors
Coloring eggs and decorating eggs has been a pastime of people for ages. The oldest painted egg is dated back to the 12th century.
But some eggs can come decorated already!
Robin eggs are a bright shade of blue. Which is interesting, because robins have brown and reddish-orange feathers!
You see white and brown eggs in the grocery stores. Those come from white and reddish-brown chickens. But black chickens will lay eggs that have green shells.
Then there’s the Ameraucana. They produce eggs which come in a variety of blue shades. They’re known as the “Easter Egg chicken.”
Different breeds of chickens produce different sized and colored eggs.
Quail eggs range in color from white to dark tan, and they’re speckled with dark brown. Quail eggs have long been considered a “delicacy.” Even today, they’re sold in some fancy grocery stores!
Eggs Don’t Come from Birds Alone
Birds aren’t the only animals that lay eggs.
Many reptiles lay eggs. This includes snakes, lizards, alligators, crocodiles, and turtles. Most have a flexible, leathery shell.
While reptile eggs are in the edible category, it’s not a recommended addition to your diet. Plus, in cases like the sea turtle, tortoise, and other endangered reptiles, it’s illegal!
There are even a couple of mammals that lay eggs!
Exclusive to Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania, the platypus and the echidna are the only two mammals known to lay eggs!
These are two types of eggs which are definitely not suitable for eating.
A platypus egg is pretty small. At not even a ½ inch in diameter, you’d need a whole bunch! Plus, the males are very protective of their mates and young. Not to mention, the platypus is venomous!
And, while the echidna does lay eggs, it doesn’t use a nest. Instead, the eggs are deposited into a pouch, like a marsupial’s pouch, where the babies hatch and stay for a few days.
While you can’t try out all the types of eggs out there, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy regular eggs!
Some Interesting Egg Facts
Did you know… A typical hen will lay at least 1 egg per day. Sometimes they can lay 2 eggs in a 24-hour period.
The most productive egg-laying time is in the summer. Why? Because most chickens need around 12-14 hours of sunlight to help with the making of their eggs.
A hen will start producing eggs by the time she is between 18 and 20 weeks old!
The most commonly used eggs in modern-day cooking are chicken, duck, and goose eggs.
Farm-fresh chicken eggs can be kept on the kitchen counter, without refrigeration, for up to 21 days. They have a natural protective coating that prevents them from spoiling.
As an egg ages, the white part begins to dissipate. This creates an air pocket inside the shell. That air pocket is a really easy way to tell how fresh an egg is.
Place an egg in the bottom of a glass. Fill the glass up with water. If the egg floats, it’s old.
If a hen gets spooked, she won’t lay an egg for a couple of days.
All the sizes or eggs- medium, large, extra-large, and jumbo, aren’t determined by the size of the egg, but by the weight!
Now you know a lot about eggs!
But what about National Egg Day?
National Egg Day has been an annual tradition in America since 2015. That’s the first time that it was mentioned. Who started it? Well, that’s a bit of a mystery.
It was either started by the American Egg Board, or someone who really loved all things egg. Either way, National Egg Day is a day to celebrate the egg!
Here’s a super-simple recipe to try out:
Shoyu tamago or Japanese Soy Sauce Eggs
4 boiled eggs, peeled
¼ to ½ cup of Soy Sauce
Put the soy sauce in a glass dish.
Add the peeled boiled eggs and let them hang out.
Use a wooden spoon and move them around a bit to get them coated in the soy sauce.
You can leave the eggs soaking for as little or as long as you like. The longer the soak, the darker and saltier the eggs will get.
Experiment with it and have some fun!
You can try other amazing Japanese recipes in our Japan box from eat2explore!