Eggs-ceptional Facts: The Truth About Egg Colors and Why Europeans Don’t Refrigerate

This photo was taken at an outdoor street market in Alicante, Spain 03/2023

Eggs, oh eggs! These little bundles of nutrition come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and are a staple in many kitchens around the world. As Canadians living in Spain, we immediately noticed some interesting differences in how these oval-shaped goodies are handled and consumed.

The Colors of Eggs: A Myth Debunked

Let’s start with the colors of eggs. In Canada, brown eggs are often associated with free-range or organic farming, while white eggs are assumed to come from caged hens. But guess what? This is just a myth! The color of an eggshell depends on the breed of the hen and has no bearing on its nutritional value or taste. Here in Spain, brown eggs are more common than white eggs, and let me tell you, they are just as delicious!

Grading and Sizing of Eggs: A Comparison between Canada and Europe

Now, onto grading and sizing. In Canada, eggs are classified according to their grade, which ranges from A to C. Grade A eggs are the highest quality, while grade C eggs are the lowest. The grades are based on factors such as shell quality, yolk shape and texture, and the size of the air cell. In Europe, eggs are usually categorized by weight, with sizes ranging from small to extra-large. The sizes are the same in Canada and Europe, so don’t worry about being caught off-guard if you’re used to buying a specific size back home.

Beyond Chicken Eggs: Exploring Quail and Goose Eggs

But wait, there’s more! Did you know that there are other types of eggs besides chicken eggs? That’s right! There are quail eggs, which are tiny and adorable, but pack a big nutritional punch. And then there are goose eggs, which are massive and can weigh up to three times as much as a chicken egg. I haven’t tried cooking those yet, but I’m curious to see what kind of omelette I could whip up with one of those bad boys. Actually, we did taste goose eggs in a cake that was made by a friend. Turns out she is allergic to chicken eggs but can enjoy goose eggs. Honestly, no difference in flavour.

The Great Refrigeration Debate: Canadian vs European Practices

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – refrigeration. In Canada, it’s common practice to store eggs in the fridge to prevent bacteria growth and extend their shelf life. However, in Europe, eggs are often left out on the kitchen counter because farmers are required to vaccinate their hens against salmonella. This significantly reduces the risk of contamination, so there’s no need to refrigerate them. Plus, eggs in Europe have a protective layer that keeps them fresh even at room temperature, unlike in Canada, where they’re washed and sanitized before being sold, which removes this layer and makes them more susceptible to contamination.

Eggs are a fun and fascinating food that comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. From quail eggs to goose eggs, they’re a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether you prefer your eggs in the fridge or on the counter, just remember to handle them with care, cook them thoroughly, and enjoy their nutritious goodness!

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