Gail Braznell
Over the Centuries there have been many clever answers to the conundrum, which came first–the chicken or the egg? The church fathers sided with the chicken pointing out that according to Genesis, God created creatures first not their reproductive apparatus. Personally, I take the side of biologist Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution, so I choose the egg. When all is said and done whether you are ‘team egg’ or ‘team chicken’, the debate will continue for many years yet.

Millions of eggs are used every year as our kitchen champions but there’s more to eggs than just baking cakes. Whether you like them scrambled, soft boiled with soldiers or perfectly poached on a toasted muffin they have got every meal covered. As a nation, we consume over 11 billion each year and most of us will eat at least one egg daily in some form, even if it has been used to glaze, bind or clarify and flavour. Many of us tend to not think twice about this unsung kitchen hero, but the hen’s egg has long been imbued with a sense of magic, being a symbol of rebirth, Easter and the dawning of spring.

Undisputedly eggs are one of the ultimate convenience food, powerhouses of nutrition and packed with protein and vitamins. Eggs contain all the minerals vitamins and trace elements that the human body needs, except for vitamin C. Chickens make their own vitamin C and it is for this reason that eggs contain none.

Eggs contain fat, vitamins and minerals that nourish the body. Minerals and vitamins are used for vital functions in the body, while fat and proteins ensure that the body remains mobile with fully functional organs. Egg protein contains an excellent combination of amino acids which means human beings can process a lot of the protein found in an egg.

We have been eating birds eggs ever since the dawn of human time, whether it be duck, partridge, pheasant, goose or even ostrich eggs, the ancient Romans enjoyed peafowl eggs whilst the Chinese preferred pigeon eggs and there is even archaeological evidence for egg consumption that dates back to the Neolithic age.

The humble and versatile egg is far more than just a product, a good quality egg is laid by a healthy and happy chicken. More people are wanting to know where their food comes from in this day and age and the rise in popular baking programmes means that more of us are becoming more interested in the culinary properties of eggs and that they are being eaten at their very best. Did you know, for instance, eggs age more in one day at room temperature, than they do in a week in the fridge?

According to the NHS, there is no recommended limit on how many eggs people can eat, they are are a good source of protein, but it’s important to store, handle and prepare them properly.
If eggs are stored properly, the freshness and quality can be extended considerably. Proper storage is partly about correct temperature. Although the trade standards don’t have any official requirements for storage temperature they urge that eggs be stored and transported at a consistent temperature. The middle shelf in the fridge is the best place to keep eggs if they are kept in the door the temperature can fluctuate on opening and closing of the fridge. It is also important to keep eggs and other foods with the risk of salmonella separately to avoid infection.

Half a dozen fascinating facts about eggs

It takes 24-26 hours for a hen to produce an egg and half an hour later she starts again.

If you can’t remember if an egg is fresh or hard boiled, Just spin the egg. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.

A whole egg is about 3 tablespoons worth of liquid, the egg yolk measures about 1 tablespoon of the liquid.

There are about 70 calories in an uncooked egg and 77 calories in a cooked egg.

The blood sometimes seen in an egg comes from the rupture of small blood vessels in the yolk. It does not indicate the egg is unsafe to eat.

The egg shell protects everything inside and can come in a number of different colours. The colour of the shell comes from pigments in its outer layer and varies according to the breed. You can tell what colour egg a hen will lay by the colour of her ears and feathers.