Eggs are integral part of many diets around the world. They are very nutritious and easy to cook, making them the favorite dish for many of us!
Rich in protein and nutrients, experts agree that the egg is the preferred food for breakfast, unlike processed cereals filled with sugar. Eggs are also the best food to keep your weight under control. And contrary to popular belief, eggs are not harmful to the health of your heart, provided you consume them in moderation!
If you are a egg lover and you consume them regularly, it is quite possible that you have seen the strange thing named as the chalaza (or chalazae). From time to time when breaking an egg, you’ve probably wondered what could be the white string inside the raw egg (chalaza).
Relax and still cook your egg! This sticky thing called the chalaza and is perfectly edible. And if it looks like an umbilical cord, it is not one.
The chalazae, two spiral bands of tissue found in an egg, connect the yolk to the lining membrane at either end of the shell. And to reassure you, the more chalaze is apparent, the egg is fresher. It seems that these little strings fade as the egg matures, so if you don’t find one, than you should ask yourself if the egg is fresh!
Anatomy of the egg
The main components of the egg are: the eggshell, the shell membranes, the air cell, the yolk membrane, the albumen (egg white), the yolk (yellow) and chalaze.
Eggshell is rather hard and delicate at the same time, is very porous. It contains thousands of tiny holes which allow oxygen and moisture to penetrate the egg. Whether white or brown, more or less, the color does not affect the quality, taste or nutritional value of the egg: this color just depends on the breed of the hen that laid it.
Shell membrane, just below the shell, is this small layer that surrounds the entire egg. Once the egg is laid, it starts to separate from the eggshell to create an air cell in the bottom of the egg. Gradually, as the egg matures, the process of hydration and carbon dioxide are released and oxygen absorbed, which is reflected on the inner tube that is gaining volume.
Egg white or albumen is about two-thirds of the egg weight and plays the role of protector of the yolk. We find two substances of different consistencies: a white liquid, and another thicker. Both comprise more than half of the egg proteins without any fat.
Yolk – is approximately one third of the total weight of the egg and contains fat. It also contains protein, more vitamins and minerals than the egg white. Also includes lecithin, a natural emulsifier used in the preparation of various sauces and dressings.
The color of the yolk, ranging from light yellow to dark orange, more or less, depends on the feed given to the chicken.
Chalaza is formed by two spiral bands of tissue that anchor the yolk in place. It is not a “default” in the egg and needn’t be removed.
Sometimes we find small traces of blood inside eggs. They are due to rupture or burst of a blood vessel in the formation of the egg. They do not indicate that the egg is unsafe to consume, but can be removed before cooking by using the tip of a knife.
Some fun facts about eggs
A hen takes about 26 hours to lay an egg.
It can lay 100 to 300 eggs per year, depending on the age and breed.
A hen may have menopause between 7 and 9 years of age.
The size of the egg depends on the size of the hen that laid it.
Internationally, each person consumes an average of 220 eggs per year.