The Egg

Albumen: Also called the egg white, the albumen is the clear liquid inside the egg. It’s primary purpose is to protect the egg yolk. It is mostly made of water, high quality protein and some minerals.

Best Before Date: The Best Before date is an indication to the consumer of how long an egg will retain its maximum freshness. It is usually set for 42 days after an egg has been laid or 35 days after grading. However, eggs past the best before  date are still perfectly safe for use such as when cooking hard eggs, scrambling and baking. To tell if an egg is fresh put it in water. Old eggs float, so, if it sinks, it’s fresh.

Blood Spot: Blood or "meat" spots are occasionally found on an egg yolk. These tiny spots are not harmful and are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel during the formation of the egg. Candling methods reveal most blood spots and those eggs are removed, but even with electronic spotters it is impossible to catch all of them. If desired, the spot can be removed with the tip of a clean knife prior to cooking.

Chalaza: A pair of spiral bands that anchor the yolk in the centre of the thick albumen. The fresher the egg, the more prominent the chalazas but when the egg is cooked, the chalaza is completely unnoticeable.

Shell: The shell is the egg’s first line of defence against the entry of bacteria. It accounts for about 9 to 12% of the weight of the egg and is made mainly of calcium carbonate. The shell has approximately 10,000 tiny pores to allow moisture and gases in (O2) and out (CO2). Odours can be absorbed through the shell, so eggs should be stored in their carton and always in the refrigerator. Depending on the breed of hen, the shell is white (White Leghorn) or brown (Rhode Island Red).

Yolk: The yolk is the egg's major source of vitamins and minerals, including protein and essential fatty acids. It accounts for about 1/3 of the egg's weight. The colour of the yolk ranges from light yellow to deep orange, depending on the hen's food. The hen's diet can also influence the nutritional value of the egg