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Do You Know Nutrition: Eggs unscrambled

By By Phylis Canion
Sept. 3, 2013 at 4:03 a.m.


I notice from time to time that when I break an egg, there is a red, bloody-looking spot in the egg that I find disgusting. I have learned to crack the egg in a separate bowl to prevent ruining my ingredients that I am preparing. What causes this, and is it unsafe to eat?

Occasionally, red spots can be found in eggs. As the yolk membrane travels down the reproductive track, before it is surrounded by the albumen, it is possible for a small drop of blood to attach itself to the yolk. The blood may be the result of a small arterial rupture or from some other source of bleeding. It does not indicate that fertilization has taken place, and if the egg is properly cooked, it is not harmful.

While blood spots are red (bright red indicates a fresh egg), it will eventually turn brown with time. Since most eggs are removed from the nesting box and refrigerated immediately, the red spot is unlikely the start of a baby chick.

Why not, you ask? It takes a consistent temperature of approximately 99.5 degrees and at least 21 days for a chick to begin to develop inside the egg. If you feel uncomfortable with the blood spot, you can easily remove it with a knife tip or a piece of the egg shell. Egg manufacturers use a process called candling - when the eggs are rolled over, high intensity lights can detect the red spots, and those eggs are normally removed.

Less than 1 percent of eggs with the blood spot may slip through the candling process, so called because in the beginning of egg inspections many years ago, the egg was simply held up to a candle to detect abnormalities.

And here are a few other answers to your egg questions. No, you do not need a rooster for a hen to lay eggs - she will lay eggs continuously for two years and about every 18 hours or so (depending on the breed).

Yes, you need to refrigerate the egg immediately if you wash them. Why? When eggs are laid, they are coated with an oily substance called the bloom.

The bloom seals the pores on the eggshell and prevents bacteria from entering. If the egg is washed to remove feathers, blood or other undesirables, it is necessary to refrigerate immediately.

And yes, farm-raised eggs, as opposed to factory-farmed chicken eggs, produce eggs that contain 10 percent less fat, 34 percent less cholesterol, 40 percent more vitamin A and 400 percent more omega-3 fatty acids.

Thought for the week: When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch up.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant. Email her at doc.phyl@yahoo.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.

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