The Symbolic Significance and Science Behind the Humble Egg
Eggs have been symbols of fertility, eternity, and the circle of life across many cultures and religions. In ancient Egyptian mythology, eggs were linked to the creation of the universe, suggesting that the Earth was born out of an egg. The new life dormant in the egg was associated with life energy. Historical records indicate that eggs date back to 6000 BC in China and India.
Hens’ eggs are the focus here, with an average hen producing 300 to 325 eggs per year, taking 24 to 26 hours to produce a single egg. The eggshell is porous, with as many as 17,000 pores, which allow odours and smells to permeate and reduce the egg’s freshness. The egg’s floating sinking test in water is an excellent way to test the egg’s freshness.
The egg has five main parts – the shell, white, yolk, membrane, and chalaze. The albumin, or the white part, is 100% protein and contains over half of the egg’s total protein with no fat. As it contains approximately 66% of the egg’s liquid weight, it has alternating layers of thick and thin.
The yolk is the yellow part and comprises all the fat, fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D, and less than half of the protein. It contains about 34% of the egg’s liquid weight and is richer in vitamins and minerals like calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc than the white.
Eggs have been linked to cholesterol, which is a biochemical made by our liver and is necessary for producing essential hormones.
Wholewheat Pancakes with Almond Butter, Blueberries and Banana
Overconsumption of cholesterol and the body’s natural production of it has been associated with heart disease. However, scientific evidence over the last 20 to 30 years has varied considerably, leading to mixed messaging on egg consumption. Studies conducted by the Journal of American Medical Association in 1999 suggested no link between egg consumption and heart disease.
However, there is a link between cholesterol and eggs, with eggs having a higher risk of heart disease by 2.2% due to other lifestyle factors like not eating enough fruit and vegetables, smoking, being obese, and not exercising. Only those with a genetic link to heart disease are sensitive to dietary cholesterol, while plant extracts like certain sterols can help absorb cholesterol.
When it comes to cooking eggs, boiling for five to six minutes is ideal, while hard-boiling takes ten minutes. The trick to perfect jammy eggs is to cook for six minutes and shock them in cold water. Omelets made with two eggs and dill and cheddar can be cooked until they are underdone, while air fryer eggs should be approached with caution. Enjoying eggs with plant sterols like beans and mushrooms can also help absorb cholesterol.