Eggs & Easter – You Can’t Have One Without The Other
Apr 1, 2012 - 10:14:11 AM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Eggs and Easter have always gone hand and hand. Eggs symbolize rebirth and fertility and most Christian religions include hard-cooked eggs in their Easter meals. Children love to dye and decorate eggs and many cultures produce elaborately painted eggs. This is a good time of year to take a closer look at eggs.
Did you know?
In 2011 Americans bought nearly 200 million eggs during the Easter season.
Nearly 14,000 dyed eggs are used yearly for the White House Easter Egg Roll.
Every year, around the Easter season, American egg farmers donate more than
12 million eggs to hunger relief organizations.
Laying hens produce one egg every 25 hours. Chickens lay 72 billions eggs in
the US yearly.
Brown shelled, white shelled, speckled shell – it doesn’t matter. All eggs are nutritionally equal. Eggshell color tells you nothing about the quality of the egg, the health of the chicken, or how well the animal was raised. But it does tell you the breed of hen. White shelled eggs are from white longhorn chickens, brown shelled from Rhode Island Reds, and blue shelled from South African Araucanas. Some breeds even produce freckled eggs. In certain areas of the country you pay a premium for brown-shelled eggs, in other places white-shelled cost more. Marketers want you to believe that the color of the shell somehow makes the egg more natural or healthier. Neither is true and remember you throw away the shell you may have paid a premium to buy.
It can be a challenge to make perfect hard cooked (but not hard boiled) eggs. Here is a full-proof method. Place eggs in a saucepan in a single layer (a deep frying pan works well). Add cold water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Heat the eggs over high heat just to boiling. Remove the pan from the hot burner and let eggs stand in the hot water: 9 minutes for medium egg; 12 minutes for large eggs; and 15 minutes for extra large. Rinse in very cold water and store in the refrigerator in their shells for up to one week.
This method produces tender hard cooked eggs without cracked shells. Boiling or over-cooking produces rubbery whites and the dreaded green tinge or ring around the yolk. The ring is caused by sulfur and iron compounds that occur naturally in the egg. It can also be caused by a high iron content in cooking water. In either case it does not affect taste and the egg is safe to eat.
Hard cooked eggs are perishable and should not be kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Hard-cooked eggs collected from an Easter egg hunt should not be eaten because they may have been out too long. Raw eggs may contain salmonella bacteria. Don’t eat raw or undercooked eggs, and refrigerate eggs in their original carton rather than on the refrigerator door.
Salmonella doesn’t make a chicken sick but it can live in their bodies and get into uncracked whole eggs. Eating raw eggs, raw cookie dough or batter, Caesar salad dressing, or health drinks containing raw eggs could make you sick. Thoroughly cooking eggs kills all bacteria. In 1998 the USDA set up the Egg Safety Task force with the goal of reducing salmonella outbreaks by 50% by 2010. The numbers have gone down yearly. Some brands are also now producing pasteurized raw eggs in the shell which reduces bacteria a good deal.
Eggs are one of nature’s truly remarkable products – they contain every nutrient needed to support life in their own handy container. Eggs have the highest quality protein; contain the pigments lutein and zeaxanthin which protect your eyes; have 12 minerals and 13 vitamins; are low in overall fat and saturated fat; and average 75 calories in a medium egg. The one downside is that eggs contain cholesterol, all of which is found in the yolk. The average large egg, today, has less cholesterol than was found in a large egg a decade ago – 186 milligrams, down from 213 milligrams. How can this be you wonder?
The USDA, which analyzes food for nutrient content, re-evaluated eggs in 2010 approximately 10 years since their last evaluation. The vitamins, minerals and calorie values were the same but the cholesterol was lower. There could be many reasonr for the difference – selective hen breeding and improved feed composition which causes less cholesterol in eggs or simply improved cholesterol measuring techniques which provide a more accurate assessment.
Research has shown that the cholesterol in eggs is less likely to raise blood cholesterol than saturated or trans fat. If your cholesterol is within normal range, it’s fine to eat 5 to 7 eggs a week.
© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.
Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of the nutrition counter series for Pocket Books with sales of more than 8.5 million books.
The Complete Food Counter, 4th ed., 2012
The Diabetes Counter, 4th Ed., 2011
The Protein Counter, 3rd Ed., 2011
The Calorie Counter, 5th Ed., 2010
The Ultimate Carbohydrate Counter, 3rd Ed., 2010
The Fat Counter, 7th ed., 2009
The Healthy Wholefoods Counter, 2008
The Cholesterol Counter, 7th Ed., 2008
Your Complete Food Counter App: Click Here
For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to: TheNutritionExperts/">
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