♦ Each of the roughly 280 million laying birds in the U.S. produces from 250 to 300 eggs a year. In total, the U.S. produces about 75 billion eggs a year, about 10% of the world supply.
♦ About 60% of the eggs produced in the U.S. each year are used by consumers and about 9% are used by the foodservice industry. The rest are turned into egg products which are used mostly by foodservice operators to make restaurant meals and by food manufacturers to make foods such as mayonnaise and cake mixes.
♦ In addition to regular, generic eggs, most stores offer a variety of specialty eggs, including nutrient-enhanced, pasteurized, organic and vegetarian eggs. As a consumer choice, a small number of producers also sell eggs from hens raised cage-free or free-range.
♦ In modern henhouses, computers control the lighting, which triggers egg laying. Most eggs are laid between 7 and 11 a.m. A hen requires about 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg. After the egg is laid, the hen starts all over again about 30 minutes later.
♦ Egg size and grade are not related to one another. Size is determined by weight per dozen. Younger hens tend to lay smaller eggs. The size increases as the hen grows older and bigger. Grade refers to the quality of the shell, white and yolk and the size of the air cell.
♦ The white of a Large egg measures about 2 tablespoons’ worth of liquid, the yolk is about 1 tablespoon and the whole egg is about 3 tablespoons.
♦ Yolk color depends on the plant pigments in the hens’ feed. Natural yellow-orange substances, such as marigold petals, may be added to light-colored feed to enhance color. Artificial colors are not permitted.
♦ Egg protein is both high in quality and low in cost. It’s easy to compare the price of eggs to the price of other protein foods. A dozen Large eggs weigh 1 1/2 pounds, so the price per pound of Large eggs is two-thirds of the price per dozen. For example, if Large eggs cost 90¢ per dozen, they cost 60¢ per pound. At $1.20 per dozen, Large eggs are only 80¢ per pound.
♦ Dates on egg cartons and all other food packaging reflect food quality, not food safety. An ‘expiration’ or ‘sell-by’ date on an egg carton tells the grocer to pull the eggs if they haven’t sold by that time. A ‘best-by’ or ‘use-by’ date tells you that your eggs will still be of high quality if you use them by that date.
♦ You can keep fresh, uncooked eggs in the shell refrigerated in their cartons for at least three weeks after you bring them home, with insignificant quality loss. Properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil. If you keep them long enough, eggs are more likely to simply dry up. But don’t leave eggs out. They’ll age more in one day at room temperature than they will in one week in the refrigerator.
♦ As an egg ages, the white becomes thinner, the yolk becomes flatter and the yolk membrane becomes weaker, making it more likely that the yolk may break inadvertently. These changes don’t have any great effect on the nutritional quality of the egg or its functional cooking properties in recipes. Appearance may be affected though. When poached or fried, the fresher the egg, the more it will hold its shape rather than spread out in the pan. On the other hand, if you hard-boil eggs that are at least a week old, you’ll find them easier to peel than fresher eggs.
♦ The eggshell accounts for about 9 to 12% of an egg’s total weight, depending on egg size. The hen uses about the same amount of calcium carbonate and other minerals to make a shell, no matter how big the egg, so the shells of smaller eggs are usually thicker and stronger than the shells of larger eggs.
♦ There are 7 to 17 thousand tiny pores on the shell surface, a greater number at the large end. As the egg ages, these tiny holes permit moisture and carbon dioxide to move out and air to move in to form the air cell. The egg can also absorb refrigerator odors through the pores, so always refrigerate eggs in their cartons.
♦ Eggs are enormously versatile. The chef’s hat, called a toque, is said to have a pleat for each of the many ways you can cook eggs. Beyond basic scrambled, fried, poached and baked eggs, you can cook eggs in the shell and turn them into omelets, frittatas, quiches and strata casseroles. In baking, eggs are used in cakes and cheesecakes, cookies, both stirred and baked custards, hard and soft meringues, pie fillings, soufflés and even pastries, such as cream puffs and eclairs.
♦ Although you can use any size egg for frying, scrambling, cooking in the shell or poaching, most recipes for baked items such as custards and cakes are based on the use of Large eggs.
♦ You can scramble, fry and poach eggs in the microwave. But you can’t cook an egg in its shell in the microwave. The steam builds up so rapidly that the egg can’t ‘exhale’ it fast enough and the egg may explode.
♦ To ‘go green’, you can dye all-natural eggs with natural things from the kitchen. You can use fruits, vegetables and their peels and juices, herbs and spices and even coffee to decorate your Easter eggs. If you have a garden, you can put eggshells in your compost.
(Material above republished from aeb.org)
Interesting Odds & Ends
♦ Howard Helmer, former American Egg Board representative, is the Omelet King. Helmer holds three Guinness World Records for omelet making – fastest omelet-maker (427 omelets in 30 minutes); fastest single omelet (42 seconds from whole egg to omelet); and omelet flipping (30 flips in 34 seconds).
♦ The name meringue came from a pastry chef named Gasparini in the Swiss town of Merhrinyghen. In 1720, Gasparini created a small pastry of dried egg foam and sugar from which the simplified meringue evolved. Its fame spread and Marie Antoinette is said to have prepared the sweet with her own hands at the Trianon in France.
♦ To tell if an egg is raw or hard-boiled, spin it. Because the liquids have set into a solid, a hard-boiled egg will easily spin. The moving liquids in a raw egg will cause it to wobble.
♦ Double-yolked eggs are often produced by young hens whose egg production cycles are not yet completely synchronized. They’re often produced too, by hens which are old enough to produce Extra Large-sized eggs. Genetics is also a factor. Occasionally a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It’s rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all.
♦ An egg roll can be any one of three very different things: 1) an Asian specialty, usually served as an appetizer, in which a savory filling is wrapped in an egg-rich dough and then deep-fat fried, 2) an annual Easter event held in many places, including the White House lawn and 3) an elongated hard-boiled egg made for the foodservice industry. When the long egg roll is sliced with a special slicer, every piece is a pretty center cut.
♦ It is said that an egg will stand on its end during the spring (vernal) equinox (about March 21), one of the two times of the year when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length everywhere. Depending on the shape of the egg, you may be able to stand it on its end other days of the year as well.
♦ Long before the days of refrigeration, the ancient Chinese stored eggs up to several years by immersing them in a variety of such imaginative mixtures as salt and wet clay; cooked rice, salt and lime; or salt and wood ashes mixed with a tea infusion. The treated eggs bore little similarity to fresh eggs, some exhibiting greenish-gray yolks and albumen resembling brown jelly. Today, eggs preserved in this manner are enjoyed in China as a delicacy.
♦ You really can have egg on your face. As egg white tends to be drying, it has long been used as a facial. Egg yolks are used in shampoos and conditioners and, sometimes, soaps. Cholesterol, lecithin and some of the egg’s fatty acids are used in skin care products, such as revitalizers, make-up foundations and even lipstick.
(Material above republished from aeb.org)
♦ According to the Guinness World Records, a team in Portugal cracked 145,000 eggs to make the world’s largest omelet, which weighed in at 14,225 pounds, 6 ounces. Talk about a big breakfast. (http://www.boothbayregister.com/article/eggs-citing-recipes/32535)
Facts About the Egg Production Process
When considering the purchase of eggs for your operation, there are a number of available options. America’s egg farmers produce eggs from multiple production systems – conventional, cage-free, free-range and organic. Here are some facts about the egg production process that you may want to consider:
Conventional cage eggs - are produced from hens living in communal cage systems. There are multiple cage systems, depending upon the size of the birds, and the facility as well. Farmers that utilize the cage system participate in handling and care practices as well. While providing hens with access to fresh food and water, cages also work as nesting space. Cage-laid eggs are collected with an automatic collection system. Cage systems help protect against predators.
Cage-free eggs - are laid by hens living on indoor floor operations, sometimes called free-roaming hens. The hens are usually housed in a barn or poultry house, and have unlimited access to fresh food and water, while some may also forage if they are allowed outdoors. Cage-free systems vary and include barn-raised and free-range hens, both of which have shelter that helps protect against predators. Both types are produced under common handling and care practices, which provides floor space, nest space, and perches. Depending upon the farmer, these housing systems may or may not have an automated egg collection system.
Free-range eggs - are produced by hens raised outdoors or that have access to the outdoors, as weather permits. Shelter is provided during inclement weather and to help protect from predators. In addition to having continuous access to fresh food and water, these hens may forage for wild plants and insects and are sometimes referred to as pasture-fed hens. These hens are also provided with floor space, nest space, perches. Free-range hens also are cared for under common handling and care practices.
Organic eggs - are produced according to national USDA organic standards related to methods, practices and substances used in producing and handling crops, livestock and processed agricultural products. Organic eggs are produced by hens fed rations having ingredients that were grown without most conventional pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers. Antibiotics and growth hormones are prohibited (growth hormones are also prohibited in conventional systems as well). All organic systems are cage-free.
Other Egg Facts
♦ The nutrient content of eggs from the same breed of hen fed the same diet is not affected by whether hens are raised free-range or in floor or conventional operations. It is solely determined by the feed.
♦ Approximately five percent of eggs come from cage-free systems and they are typically more expensive than conventional eggs. Due to higher production costs and lower volume per farm, free-range eggs are generally more expensive.
♦ Research has indicated that hens kept in cage-free or free-range systems have higher rates of mortality than those kept in conventional production systems.
♦ Research shows that eggs from modern conventional systems have lower shell bacteria levels than eggs from cage-free or free-range eggs.
(Source: American Egg Board)
Our family is proud to be a Rosemary farm family! We are very happy to have access to local cage free eggs; not everyone is so lucky! We're frequently helping Albertson's in Lompoc, sell out of them. I can recall in elementary school when I was a child, we incubated and hatched chicks from your farm. Thank you for the care you put into everything you do, it is an honor to have you as part of the central coast community!
I grew up in Santa Maria and grew up eating Rosemary Farm eggs. Well I went to the Tower Mart here in Marysville Ca. There were your eggs so I got them and guess what? Not only did they bring back memories they were as good as I remember if not better. Keep up the great job. You want quality you want Rosemary Farm eggs.
Just love these eggs! A couple of times got double yokes...reminds me of my childhood when my mother would call for me to show me double yokes saying it was our lucky day!