Egg facts

How well do you know the common egg?

By Jane RodmellJane Rodmell

large-egg

Photo by Steve Johnson

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Who can deny the versatility of an egg? Eggs are a staple of breakfasts and baked goods, the basis of foods from the hearty omelet to the delicate meringue. How well do you know your egg facts? Read on for your primer on everything egg.

What’s an egg’s grade?

In Canada, eggs are graded A, B, or C based mainly on the quality of the shell, the size of their air cell and yolk, and the firmness of the whites. Only grade A eggs are sold in our grocery stores.

How big is an egg?

Small eggs weigh 42-48 g each; medium are 49-55 g; large are 56-63 g; and extra-large are 64-69 g. The volume of a large egg is about 3 tbsp (45 ml).

If a recipe doesn’t specify the size of the egg, it usually means a large egg. If a recipe calls for 3 large eggs, you can substitute 4 medium eggs. If a recipe calls for 4 large eggs, you can use 5 medium eggs or 3 extra-large eggs.

Why are eggs different colours?

The colour of the shell is influenced by a chicken’s breed, not its diet, but a chicken’s diet and how it is raised do influence an egg’s taste and yolk colour. (In my experience, eggs from free-range chickens have the richest, deepest flavour.)

How to store eggs

Most eggs go from farm to table in 3-7 days. Eggs in their shell may be kept in the refrigerator 3-4 weeks. As a rule of thumb, in one day at room temperature an egg will deteriorate as much as it will in one week in the refrigerator (Health Canada advises against storing eggs outside the fridge).

Eggs are best stored on a shelf in the refrigerator: When they’re stored in the door they are frequently jostled around, which is detrimental to their texture.

Egg tips

It’s easier to separate eggs that are cold, but it’s much easier to whip egg whites that have been allowed to come to room temperature. Egg whites containing any trace of fat or yolk will not whip properly.

Egg nutrition facts

Eggs contain 14 essential nutrients, including iron; vitamins A, D, E, and B12; folate; choline to stimulate brain development and function; lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy eyes; and 6 grams of satisfying protein to sustain energy and stave off hunger. One large egg has 70 calories, with 4.5 g of fat in the yolk.


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