Eggs-acting Details about an Egg-cellent source of Protein

Posted 06/11/2013 | By HealthCorps

It’s called the incredible, edible egg, and it’s a good source of healthy protein, but what do all the letters and other nutrition terms mean on that carton of eggs that you grab?

The color of the eggs actually depends on the hen that lays it.  The Leghorn breed lays large pearl-white eggs; the Rhode Island Reds lay medium dark brown eggs.  The differential in color relates to the diet the hen consumes, and in no way does it affect the quality of the egg inside.  Free range hens who are allowed to roam, may consume a variety of pigmented foods which can darken the yolk color.

There are three U.S. grades of eggs, AA, A, and B.  Those grades refer to the condition of the egg shell and the quality of the interior of the egg contents.  Special probes are used to inspect the shell for cleanliness, texture, shape and presence (or lack) of cracks.  Decades ago, a candle was held up to the shell to see the interior, but though the internal inspection process is still called “candling,” the eggs are now held over a special high-intensity light and rotated for the examination.  The smaller the air space between the egg white and the shell, the better the grade.  The candling also examines the firmness of the yolk.

  • To get a grade AA – high round yolks, thick whites
  • To get a grade A – the whites are considered reasonably firm
  • To get a grade B – the whites are thin and the yolks are a bit flat (these eggs will usually end up liquid, frozen or other egg products)

Egg size has nothing to do with egg grade, but rather with minimum weight per dozen eggs:

Jumbo – 30 ounces per dozen

Extra-large – 27 ounces per dozen

Large – 24 ounces per dozen

Medium – 21 ounces per dozen

Small – 18 ounces per dozen

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