When it comes to eggs, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. So I decided to take a minute to clear up a few of them for you. I used to giggle every time someone asked me about myth 1, but then I had to remind myself, not everyone grew up in the country, or raises chickens. So without further ado, here are 12 Myths (and realities) about chicken eggs…..
Myth 1 – You need a rooster (male chicken) in order for hens to lay eggs.
Fact – Hens will lay eggs regardless of if a rooster is present. Think of it this way, woman ovulate every month weather she has a boyfriend or not, right? The roosters serve the same purpose as any other mate in the animal kingdom, and that is to FERTILIZE the egg.
Myth 2 – You can’t eat fertilized eggs.
Fact – Even if you have a rooster and he mates with your hens, as long as the eggs are collected daily, you CAN eat them. Fertilized eggs do not start to develop until they are SAT on/ incubated by a hen. This is why you can purchase fertilized eggs to be sent via mail and hatch them yourself in an incubator.
Myth 3 – You should always wash eggs after collecting them from your hens.
Fact – When a hen lays an egg, it has a protective coating called the “bloom.” The “bloom” seals the pores of the egg to keep out bacteria. When you wash your eggs, you wash away the “bloom” and thus the protective coating. Brush your eggs off gentle and only wash them right before you use them.
Myth 4 – If the shell of a fresh egg is smooth and un-cracked, it’s safe to eat raw.
Fact – Nope! Even the most perfect-looking fresh egg can harbor Salmonella. However, choosing eggs with no cracks is always a good idea, because once an egg is cracked, bacteria can enter them. This being said, I have personally eaten cookie dough raw for 41 years and haven’t died yet. Just don’t go slurping raw eggs on a daily bases.
Myth 5 – You can pasteurize fresh eggs at home in the microwave.
Fact – What?!?!?! That would be a big fat, ummm, NO! All you’re doing is cooking the contents of the egg, not pasteurizing it.
Myth 6– The darker the yolk color, the better the eggs is for you.
Fact – The color of the yolk does not always reflect the nutritional value of an egg. Yolk color is determined by what the chicken eats. If the chicken eats food rich in yellow pigments (corn, grass, etc.) the yolk will be a deeper yellow.
Myth 7 – Eggs should be stored in the refrigerator.
Fact – America is one of the few, if not the only country, that refrigerates eggs. But why? It’s done to prevent the spread of Salmonella. In the United States, hens are not required to be vaccinated against Salmonella, unlike many other countries that do require it. If an egg is infected with salmonella (due to sanitation conditions during production), the bacteria will multiply more quickly if the egg is stored at room temperature instead of in the refrigerator. Would I leave a store bought egg on the counter? Personal, no way! Would I leave one of our freshly laid eggs on the counter? Because I know the sanitation conditions in my coop, for weeks!
Myth 8 – The darker the color of the eggshell, the healthier the hen that that laid it.
Fact – Egg color is a lot like the ink in your printer…. When it is new, it makes great colors, but as it empties, the colors get lighter. This is the same thing with chickens. At the beginning of the laying season, eggs tend to be much richer in color then those laid by hens nearing molt. Our Americana lays beautiful green/blue eggs, until she gets close to molting, and then they become lighter and lighter in hue.
Myth 9 – Brown eggs are better for you than white eggs.
Fact – The color of the eggshell depends on the breed of chicken that laid it. The “quality” and flavor of the egg are directly linked to the diet of the hen that laid it. So just because an egg is brown, doesn’t make it better. How nutritious an egg is depends on what the chicken eats, not what color the shell is. Store bought eggs (brown or white) come from chickens who are, for the most part, feed a strict commercial diet, whereas “farm eggs” more than likely come from chickens who get on the ground, peck and scratch, eat bugs and thus have a much more varied and rich diet, which produces a more nutritious and flavorful egg.
Myth 10 – Eggs are bad for you/have too much cholesterol.
Fact – Did you know, cholesterol is vital to your body? Cholesterol is need for the production of hormones, like testosterone, and to build and repair cells. While too much cholesterol is bad, everything in moderation, folks! I will no sooner give up ice cream, mac and cheese or lobster (in moderation) then I will give up my eggs.
Myth 11 – Eggs are bad for you because they are high in fat.
Fact – There are roughly 5 grams of fat per egg. About half of that is saturated fat, which means the other half is unsaturated fat. Since the ideal ratio of dietary fat is 1:1 (saturated to unsaturated) it looks like the fat in eggs is a perfectly balanced thing! Of course sitting down to an twelve egg omelette is not advised!
Myth 12 – Egg yolks are bad for your calorie count.
Fact – If you are trying to cut calories, removing yolks from your diet may help, but it also means you will miss out on the benefits of eating the yolks, which include vitamins A, D, and E. Also, the yolk contains HALF the protein of the egg, so you will lose value protein in your diet.
I am sure there are other egg myths floating around, but I think I will stop here for now. I hope some of this info has helped you gain more knowledge about eggs, and who know, maybe someday you will be on Jeopardy and you never know, some of this might come in handy!