Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about bird eggs as food; for the eggs of sea animals, see roe and caviar, and for other meanings, see egg.
Bird eggs are a common food source. The most commonly used bird eggs are those from the chicken, duck, and goose, but smaller eggs such as quail eggs are occasionally used as a gourmet ingredient, as are the largest bird eggs, from ostriches. Eggs are frequently used in both sweet and savoury dishes as a source of protein and/or to bind the other ingredients in a recipe together. Sometimes the whole egg is cooked together. Sometimes the egg yolk is used separately from the egg white.
Many who practice vegetarianism feel it is acceptable to eat eggs as the bird is not killed and the eggs remain unfertilised. People concerned about animal welfare (especially vegans) are reluctant to eat mass-produced eggs as factory farming is considered cruel. Even free range eggs are sometimes unacceptable to those who are concerned about animal welfare as it is felt that alleged free range birds may not be much better off than confined birds. Many vegans feel the view that eating eggs does not cause an animal to be killed is inaccurate since most farms (both free-range and factory farms) kill the chickens once their egg production declines. Most farms also buy the chicks from hatcheries where the male chicks are killed at birth.
The primary cooking techniques for eggs are:
Some common egg dishes are
Eggs, particularly their yolks, are important as binding agents in many preparations in European cooking for thickening emulsified sauces (such as mayonnaise and Hollandaise), preparing custards (such as crème anglaise, crème brûlée, flan and lemon custard) and holding together sausages and pâté.
Eggs may also be pickled, hard-boiled and refrigerated, or eaten raw, though the latter is not recommended for people who may be susceptible to salmonella, such as the old, the infirm, or pregnant women.
When eggs become rotten, the yolk will turn green and the egg will emit a sulfurous smell when broken. Although deemed offensive by most Western palates, fermented eggs are considered a delicacy by some in China, when prepared using a special method which includes letting them sit for three months to age (or rot, depending on one's interpretation).
Shell colour preference
Different breeds of chicken can lay eggs varying from whites through to brown and rarer colours such as speckled green. Although there are absolutely no nutritional differences, there is often a cultural preference for one colour over another. For example, in most regions of the United States eggs are generally white, while in the northeast of that country, and in the United Kingdom eggs are generally light-brown. These habits may be associated with perceptions of greater purity in white-shelled eggs or greater wholesomeness in brown-shelled eggs.
- cruelty investigations at egg factory farms
- criticism of the "Animal Care Certified" logo found on most eggs in the United States
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