Chicken eggs offer you an incredible source of essential nutrients in a perfectly smooth, palm-sized package. While they do contain some cholesterol, an egg is a complete protein food. That means that it contains all of the essential amino acids required to ensure that your body absorbs protein in the right way. Chicken eggs also house B vitamins, Riboflavin and Selenium, giving you an extra bump of efficient energy.

chicken eggs vary in color

Whether brown, spotted, white or cream color, eggs are an integral part of a balanced diet. However, while these elongated spheres come in stacks and stacks by the dozens in the grocery stores, they are shrouded by a slight sense of mystery. Whether fresh or rotten, fertilized or not, they look the same on the outside. Here are a few chicken egg facts and tips to make sure you’re enjoying eggs in the safest, most efficient and most delicious way possible.

Check for Freshness

It doesn’t matter if you gathered your eggs from your personal flock or bought them at the store; checking the freshness of chicken eggs is simple. Take your egg and place it in a bowl of water that is deep enough to leave an inch or so between the egg and the water’s surface. Now, observe the egg. If it sinks to the bottom and lays on its side, then it’s fresh. If it begins to float and bob, it’s still fresh. When the wide end of the egg floats to the top and balances on the tip, you need to use the egg within forty-eight hours or so. If the whole egg floats, it’s bad. Don’t eat it.

Don’t get caught up too tightly in how long eggs will keep in your fridge, especially if you raise your own. Commercial eggs spend months in refrigeration before they’re even shipped out to stores. Keep in mind; eggs aren’t boxes of processed foods with exact use-by dates. Store them under refrigeration and check them after about a month. From then on, check them once a week or as you use them.

The Goodness Isn’t in the Color

Chicken egg colors are the center of many a debate.  Do you want to know what makes a brown egg different from a white egg? A brown egg comes from a brown chicken, whereas a white egg comes from a white chicken. That’s the secret. Nutritionally, all chicken eggs are pretty much the same. When it comes to taste, there might exist a slight difference detectable to some sensitive palates, but for the most part, eggs of different color taste the same, too.

One difference that does significantly affect eggs is the breed of chicken from which the eggs come. For chicken owners, there are two types of chickens: meat chicken breeds and egg laying chicken breeds. Yes, all chickens lay eggs. However, egg laying chicken breeds produce larger eggs more frequently. These chickens tend to grow to a smaller size than their meat-providing cousins do.

Fertilized Chicken Eggs are Okay, Too

It is extremely rare to find a fertilized egg from a commercial market. When you raise your own eggs and only have hens, you shouldn’t find any fertilized eggs, either. If you have a rooster strutting around with your flock, then the possibility for fertilized eggs exist. This is wonderful if you allow your hens to brood and hatch babies. However, if you’re not trying to grow your flock, you might need to take some action steps.

In the initial stages after fertilization, there is no detectable difference in egg taste. If a hen decides she wants her chickadees and begins to incubate them, the embryo will develop into a baby chicken. Eggs with developed chicks are still edible, and people in some countries consider fertilized eggs delicacies. If gourmet isn’t for you, the best thing to do is to collect, wash and refrigerate eggs daily. That way, even if there is an embryo, it won’t develop.

Size Does Matter

While the nutritional ratios remain consistent among chicken eggs, larger eggs have more volume, and therefore more nutrients per single egg. Companies rank commercial eggs based on size, allowing consumers to form an expectation of quality. When you raise your own, it doesn’t matter whether your egg is grade A or grade AAA. Larger egg laying chicken breeds produce larger eggs than their smaller counterparts do. Some backyard chickens who are constantly given love and loads of nutritious food can grow to get pretty large. The eggs they produce will reflect the nutritional state of the mother hen.

chicken eggs

Chicken eggs come in different sizes and colors

“While the nutritional ratios remain consistent among chicken eggs, larger eggs have more volume, and therefore more nutrients per single egg.”

Once you’ve followed all these tips, incorporate eggs into as many dishes as possible. Chicken eggs add incredible flavor, great texture and balance to almost any meal.