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nutrients: a substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and maintenance of life
protein: an essential nutrient responsible for building structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, and collagen
Nutrients are chemical elements that are essential to plant and animal nutrition. While no one food (other than mother’s milk, perhaps) provides all the nutrients a human needs, the egg contains a wide array of essential nutrients. After all, the egg was designed by nature to supply everything needed for the creation and nourishment of a baby chick.
All eggs contain the nutrients; protein and fat. Egg protein is of such high quality that it is often used as the standard by which other protein foods are measured. Egg protein contains all the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein which the body needs but cannot make) in a pattern that matches very closely the pattern the human body needs. This is why eggs are classified with meat in the Protein Food Group and why egg protein is called a complete protein. With the exception of vitamin C, an egg contains varying amounts of all the essential vitamins plus many minerals. An egg yolk is one of the few foods which naturally contain vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.
Although eggs are widely known as breakfast entrées, they also serve in many other ways. In fact, the cooking properties of eggs are so varied that eggs have been called “the cement that holds together the castle of cuisine”.
Eggs bind ingredients in dishes such as meatloaves or crab cakes, leaven such baked high-rises as soufflés and sponge cakes and thicken custards and sauces. Eggs emulsify mayonnaise, salad dressings and Hollandaise sauce and are frequently used to coat or glaze breads and cookies. Eggs clarify soups and coffee and retard crystallization in boiled candies and frostings. Eggs add color, flavor, moisture and nutrients to baked goods such as cakes. As a finishing touch, hard-boiled eggs often serve as a garnish.
Technology runs the world, and it’s no different for the American egg farming industry. With U.S. egg production averaging 75 billion eggs per year, the egg industry depends on technology to continue to meet rising consumer demands. This lesson highlights real-world examples of the role technology plays in modern egg farming. Students will explore ways in which science has driven innovation to improve hen health and ensure that production practices result in eggs of consistently high quality for the consumer, and how science has expanded the role that eggs play beyond their value as a food.
Several factors influence the size of an egg. The major factor is the age of the hen. As the hen ages, her eggs increase in size. The breed of hen from which the egg comes is a second factor. Weight of the bird is another. Pullets significantly underweight at sexual maturity will produce small eggs. Environmental factors that lower egg weights are heat, stress, overcrowding and poor nutrition. All of these variables are of great importance to the egg producer. Even a slight shift in egg weight influences size classification and size is one of the factors considered when eggs are priced. Careful flock management benefits both the hens and the producer.
Activity 1: An Egg-ceptional Meal
Activity 1: An Eggs-traordinary Multi-Tasker
Activity 2: T-egg-nology?
Activity 3: Egg Sizing
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After completing these activities, review and summarize the follow key concepts:
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Discuss family culinary traditions. Using the attached A Family L-egg-acy handout, have students discover if there is a traditional recipe in their family that features eggs.
American Egg Board
American Egg Board