EGGzact Science

Something has come up that rivals the age old question of, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” No you are not about to go down a deep philosophical hole of our existence on earth but rather prepare to receive some advanced knowledge on eggs. Let’s start at the beginning… Did you know that a hen is born with a finite amount of eggs already inside her arranged as what looks much like a DNA spiral cued up for release when the time is right. When a female chick matures into a pullet and the daylight hours start getting longer, it triggers her cycle and if she feels like she has a safe and secure lifestyle she will begin her time amongst the layers. As the egg passes through her oviduct it gets coated in a calcium rich coating which eventually solidifies and creates what we know as the egg shell. Whether or not the egg has been fertilized it still travels through her eventually making its way to wherever she has deemed a safe place to lay. If she feels that her surroundings are too stressful she may decide to peck the egg until it breaks, leaving it rendered useless. If she is feeling broody and really wants to give her maternal instincts a shot, she will sit on that egg keeping it warm with her body heat and love for about 21 days until it hatches. BUT WAIT, did it get fertilized? Roosters… no cocks don’t have cocks, they have cloacas as do Hens. Cloaca are a common cavity at the end of the digestive tract for the release of both excretory and genital products. So if you ever see a rooster do a little circular dance around a hen, then jump on her back, pull at her neck feathers while giving her a quick 1,2,3, pump while he stands on her back, that’s the moment that he may or may not have fertilized within her. It’s usually not very consensual.

Let’s now take it out of the barn yard and into the kitchen. If you are lucky enough to get farm fresh eggs, days or maybe only hours old you must know this. If an egg has not been washed, it has a “magic shell coating” on it that gets excreted as the shell is being created. This coating is designed to protect the embryo for its 21 day gestation as the mother hen sits broody keeping it warm. So there is no reason for you to need to refrigerate, leave them on your counter if you need. If they have been washed, or refrigerated before you acquired them, then its a good idea to keep them refrigerated.

Now for the whole reason why this article has come to fruition, the secret, the little known fact, the morsel of knowledge which will now raise your social status from a feeble cook to the ranks of a chef connoisseur. Have you ever hard boiled an egg and had the hardest time peeling the shell off? And perhaps prepared the eggs the exact same way but experienced an almost effortless peeling? Apparently the older the egg is the easier it is to peel, the more fresh the harder it is. Now remember when you buy eggs from a grocery store, they may have very well traveled quite a distance to get to you. Sat on a truck, the store room then finally getting to the fridge of the grocery store AND THEN to your kitchen. Where as when you buy direct from a farmer, you should be surprised if those eggs are even a week old! Granted, local and fresh is always best SO if you are aiming to prepare some hardboiled eggs, THINK AHEAD and let those farm fresh eggs sit for a little while and simplify your peeling efforts!

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