A Dozen Fun Facts About Eggs

More Than A Dozen Fun Facts About Eggs

Welcome to the wonderful world of eggs! (cue nostalgic memory of the incredible edible egg commercial). These delightful orbs are indeed incredible, but they are more than just a breakfast favorite. From the protein-packed punch of a single egg to the astonishing reproductive habits of the animal kingdom, eggs are a marvel of nature. In this article, we're cracking open some of the most fascinating, quirky, and downright surprising facts about eggs. If you are at all curious about these oval wonders, prepare to be amazed by the egg-citing world that awaits. Yes, there will be more egg puns. Let’s go!

1. One egg has an average of 6g of protein. 

For someone following a 2,000 calorie diet, the recommended amount of daily protein is 50-175 grams. That’s 8 to 29 eggs a day if you’re trying to max out on egg protein. 

2. The Haugh unit is a measure of egg protein quality based on the height of its egg white. 

An egg is weighed, then broken onto a flat surface, a micrometer is then used to determine the height of the egg white that immediately surrounds the yolk. The height, correlated with the weight, determines the Haugh unit, or HU, rating. The higher the number, the better the quality of the egg (fresher, higher quality eggs have thicker whites).

3. Madonna (the pop star) was once in a film titled “The Egg”.

In 1974 student Wyn Cooper made a film for class simply titled The Egg which featured classmate Madonna eating a raw egg on Super 8 film. It was very artsy. We don’t know the grade the Wyn received, but we can assume it was egg-ceptional.

4. You can pickle that. Pickled eggs have been a staple for Germans as far back as the 1700’s. 

The tradition moved to America and has been preserved (ba-dum cha) by Germanic immigrants in the Pennsylvania-Dutch region. You can find these delicious orbs in many bars as far east as the Delaware River and one place in Northern California. 

5. More than 99% of animals, discovered and unknown, lay eggs!

There are even egg laying mammals, although not many. There are only five living monotreme (mammals who lay eggs) species: the duck-billed platypus and four species of echidna (aka spiny anteaters). All of these species are exclusively found in Australia and New Guinea.

6. Who lays the biggest eggs? Although you might think ostriches have this distinct title, it’s only on land! Whale sharks are the planet's largest egg laying animals.

One egg recovered from a whale shark measured an astonishing 30 cm (12 in.) long, 14 cm (5.5 in.) wide, and 9 cm (3.5 in.) thick - making it the biggest egg of any animal ever recorded.

7. Although whale sharks seem to be viviparous (meaning they have live births) whale sharks are in fact ovoviviparous ("egg live birth"). 

In this form of reproduction, the internally fertilized eggs are retained inside the female's body. The embryos develop in membranous "shells." They shed their membranes inside the female, who then gives birth to live offspring.

8. The smallest egg laid by any bird belongs to the bee hummingbird. 

Usually, the bee hummingbird lays eggs that weigh only 0.0009 ounces and measure 0.275 inches long (6.985mm). That’s about as heavy as a single grain of rice!

9. Eggs are mostly a function of reproduction, but that’s not always the case! Trophic eggs are classified as unfertilized eggs that are meant to be eaten by offspring.

Some worker bees for example have ovarian development and can lay trophic eggs within the brood combs that are later eaten by the queen bee and her progeny, including workers and future queen larvae.

10. Poison Dart frogs are another species that lay trophic eggs for their young.

They are unique in the frog kingdom for being the only type of frog in which the males and females care for their tadpoles until they reach the froglet stage. Males “water” the tadpole nursery, usually a bromeliad flower, by depositing water (or other frog fluids) to ensure the young have enough water to swim around. Females lay trophic eggs for their young each day to ensure they are well fed until they can catch their own flies and springtails. 

11. Let’s get specific. There are several different types of classification for eggs based on their size.

Simple eggs with little yolk are called microlecithal, medium-sized eggs with some yolk are called mesolecithal, and large eggs with a large concentrated yolk are called macrolecithal. That’s a mouthful.

12. There are seven types of eggs that are classified between species. 

Jawless fish have Mesolecithal eggs, Cartilaginous fish, bony fish and amphibians have macrolecithal eggs, reptiles have large macrolecithal eggs which develop independent of water, birds in the grand scheme of things have large to very large macrolecithal eggs and mammals  have macrolecithal eggs in monotremes and marsupials, and extreme microlecithal eggs in placental mammals.

13. Eggs found in stores will never hatch.

Eggs you find in grocery stores are unfertilized, meaning they will never hatch into chicks. This happens because the hens laying these eggs haven’t been exposed to roosters, so there’s no mating involved. Without the rooster's contribution, the eggs only contain the hen's genetic material and nutrients, leaving them undeveloped and perfect for human consumption.

14. There are different labels on egg cartons like cage-free, free-range, certified organic, natural and they all mean something different.

When you're facing a sea of egg cartons in the grocery aisle, knowing what the labels mean can help you make the best choice. Cage-free eggs come from hens that aren't kept in cages, allowing them to walk around, spread their wings, and lay eggs in nests, all within an indoor area. Free-range eggs come from hens that live cage-free and also have some outdoor access, allowing them to forage and enjoy more natural behaviors. Certified organic eggs are from hens that eat a vegetarian diet free from pesticides, GMOs, and antibiotics, and these hens are also raised cage-free with access to the outdoors. The term "natural" is less meaningful as it lacks a standard definition by the USDA and usually means the eggs undergo minimal processing. By understanding these labels, you can pick eggs that match your views on animal welfare and farming methods.

15. The date on an egg carton isn’t an expiration date.

When you pick up a carton of eggs, the date stamped on it isn't an expiration date but a guide to when the eggs are at their peak quality. Eggs are generally safe to eat for 3 to 4 weeks beyond this date, so you can enjoy them even after the date has passed. To keep eggs fresh, store them in their original carton in the refrigerator, which minimizes exposure to air. If you're unsure about their freshness, try the water test: place the eggs in a bowl of water—fresh eggs will sink, while older ones will float. This way, you can ensure you're only using good eggs. So, remember that the date is just a guideline, and with proper storage, your eggs can stay safe and delicious well beyond it.

16. There is a nifty way to tell an egg's freshness with just water.

To determine the freshness of an egg using the water test, fill a tall glass or bowl with enough water to fully submerge the egg. Gently place the egg in the water. If it sinks and lies flat on the bottom, it's fresh and perfect for use. If it sinks but tilts or stands on one end, it's older but still safe to eat. If the egg floats, it has gone bad and should not be consumed. This test works because fresh eggs have minimal buoyancy and stay at the bottom, while older eggs, with a buildup of gases, will float. This simple method helps you quickly assess whether your eggs are fresh and suitable for cooking.

17. Different types of chickens lay eggs at different frequencies.

Chicken eggs are not all created equally when it comes to how often they can be laid, largely due to the hen's breed. Some breeds can lay eggs nearly every day, while others might lay eggs every second day or only once or twice a week. This variability showcases the natural diversity among chicken breeds and their egg-laying capabilities.

18. This is handy, you can tell if an egg is raw or hard boiled with a simple trick.

There's a clever trick to tell if an egg is hard-boiled or raw without cracking it open. Simply use the spin test method: find a smooth, flat surface like a kitchen counter, and give the egg a swift spin. If the egg spins smoothly and steadily, it’s hard-boiled. If it wobbles or spins erratically, it’s raw. This works because the fluid inside a raw egg moves around, causing an imbalance, while the solid interior of a hard-boiled egg allows for a smooth spin. It's quick, easy, and effective!

19. Older eggs are much easier to peel.

Older eggs are easier to peel due to natural changes they undergo over time. As eggs age, they lose moisture and carbon dioxide, causing the contents to shrink slightly and creating larger air pockets at the blunt end. Additionally, the pH level of the egg whites increases, which helps loosen the membrane from the shell. As a result, when boiled, older eggs often have shells that come off more cleanly than those of fresher eggs.

20. Some chickens lay white eggs only, and some go all-in on brown.

When considering which chicken breeds are responsible for laying the majority of white and brown eggs, we can pinpoint specific breeds popularly known for each egg color. The predominant breed for laying white eggs is the White Leghorn. These chickens are known for their consistent and prolific white egg production. On the other hand, if you're looking at brown eggs, the Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks are the go-to breeds. These hens are highly favored for their reliable brown egg-laying capabilities.

21. White eggs are far more popular and common that brown (commercially speaking).

White eggs are a favorite in commercial poultry production for a few practical reasons. Hens that lay white eggs are usually smaller than those that lay brown eggs, leading to significant benefits for egg producers. Smaller hens eat less feed, which cuts down on costs, and they take up less space, allowing farmers to house more hens in the same area. These factors make white eggs a more economically viable choice for large-scale production, contributing to their popularity in the market.

22. Chicken eggs are consumed more than any other egg.

Chicken eggs dominate global consumption due to several practical and economical factors. Chickens have a higher egg-laying capacity than other birds, consistently meeting the large demand for eggs. They also require less space for nesting, allowing for higher-density rearing and lower costs. Additionally, chickens typically lack strong protective instincts towards their nests, making egg collection easier and less labor-intensive. These factors make chicken eggs the most accessible and cost-effective option for mass consumption, explaining their preference over other bird eggs.

23. Refrigeration of eggs is the best, except when it is not.

The necessity of refrigeration for storing eggs often sparks debate. In many parts of the world, eggs are kept at room temperature without issues. However, in the United States, refrigerating eggs is common practice due to its impact on safety and quality. Once eggs are refrigerated, they must stay cold because temperature fluctuations can cause condensation on the shell, creating an environment for bacteria to thrive and potentially penetrate the shell. Therefore, if eggs are initially refrigerated, they should remain so to prevent harmful bacteria growth and ensure they remain safe to consume, especially considering how eggs are processed and handled before reaching your home.

24. In China, fake chicken eggs are a problem. Blah.

The issue of counterfeit chicken eggs in China is a significant concern for consumers and the food industry. These fake eggs, made from materials like resin, coagulant, and starch, with an artificial shell, closely mimic real eggs. The ability to produce up to 1500 fake eggs per day worsens the problem, posing health risks to unsuspecting consumers and undermining trust in the food supply chain. This not only affects the market for real eggs but also causes economic and reputational damage to legitimate egg producers.

25. Statistically speaking, bacteria-infested contaminated eggs are not common.

Bacterial contamination in eggs, particularly salmonella, concerns many consumers. However, statistical data shows the likelihood of encountering a contaminated egg is relatively low—about one in every 20,000 eggs, or a 0.005% chance. For regular egg consumers, the risk of encountering a contaminated egg is extremely rare, potentially only once every 84 years on average. This demonstrates that while the risk exists, it is infrequent, allowing egg enthusiasts to enjoy their meals with minimal concern for salmonella.

26. There is a group in America that exists only to spread the good word about eggs.

The American Egg Board (AEB) plays a crucial role in the agricultural sector by promoting the visibility and consumption of eggs. Its primary focus is on marketing strategies that showcase the benefits and versatility of eggs to consumers. A key aspect of the AEB's efforts is their memorable advertising campaigns, including the famous slogan, "The Incredible, Edible Egg," which emphasizes eggs as a nutritious and adaptable food option. Through these initiatives, the AEB aims to support egg producers by increasing demand and fostering a positive image of eggs.

27. Here’s a way to peel hard-boiled eggs with utter ease.

To easily peel hard-boiled eggs, try the blowing technique. First, boil your eggs as usual and transfer them to a cold water bath immediately after boiling to stop the cooking process and ease peeling. Next, crack the eggshell by lightly tapping each end on a hard surface. Peel off a small amount of shell from both the larger and smaller ends, ensuring the openings are wide enough for air passage. Hold the egg close to your mouth and firmly blow into the smaller end, creating enough pressure to push the egg out of the larger end. Catch the egg as it pops out. This method may require practice but can significantly speed up your egg-peeling process. Perform this over a bowl or sink to catch any drips.

There’s more than a dozen fascinating tidbits about eggs, and we could go on. From the tiny marvels laid by bee hummingbirds, and the unique reproductive strategies of whale sharks and Poison Dart frogs, eggs are a testament to nature's ingenuity and diversity. Next time you crack open an egg, remember there's a whole world of wonder encapsulated in that fragile shell. If you liked these facts, check out our Fun Facts About Eggs print, or read our other food-related fun fact articles.

About the author(s):

Christman & Raelina

Christman and Raelina are both professional designers, writers and have been working with educational content for nigh on 30 years (between the two).

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