- Food and Cooking
THE MANY WONDERS OF EGGS
Now under new ownership and named Whitesville Poultry LLC with Whitesville Farms on the carton. I wrote this article long before the transition had taken place, but everything still applies other than the management.
Nestled high on a hilltop just three miles from Whitesville, New York resides a well established poultry farm. Fitzpatrick’s Poultry Farm owned and operated by James Fitzpatrick has over 50 years of operating a conventional caged housing system and produces over 25,000 dozen eggs each day.
You are about to find out what it means to produce a product as valuable as this one super food. At Fitzpatrick’s they know well how to produce such a nutrient filled egg. There is not a better source available in nutrition than an egg. An egg is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and proteins to ensure a healthy life. Enjoy the many wonders of eggs as part of your nutritional diet.
According to research done by The American Egg Board the nutritional value of an egg is determined solely by the feed the hens consume. There is no difference in the eggs from free range hens than those from conventional cage housing systems. They researched the fact that conventional caged housing systems have a lower shell bacteria and a better mortality record than cage-free or free range farms. The reason maybe because eggs roll away from a caged bird after it is laid. The eggs from conventional caged housing systems are less expensive.
Due to the egg recall in the summer of 2010 many people avoid eating them for fear of salmonella contamination. This is a very rare occasion as egg producers in the United States are made to follow strict rules in order to operate commercially. The risk of salmonella becomes even smaller when you consider the fact that cooking kills the bacteria. Eating raw eggs are perfectly safe to eat if you make sure they have been stored properly without any crack present. With properly handled provisions like clean surfaces for preparation, the danger of them being contamination is very limited.
Eggs coming from commercial egg producers are washed with a hot pressure washer and some processing systems even coat the eggs with a mineral solution which acts as an extra barrier of protection.
Eggs are perishable and should be refrigerated. Raw and cooked eggs should be refrigerated and this means those fancy hard boiled Easter eggs should not be left in the baskets for days before consuming them. According to The American Egg Board, for every hour eggs are kept at room temperature they age an entire day. It’s best to use them within a few weeks from date of purchase. Expire dates are stamped on each carton.
Fitzpatrick’s and other commercial egg producers have large cooler rooms to store eggs at 40 degrees F and transport the eggs directly through an outside door onto the loading dock and into the delivery trucks. Eggs are sold to various places all over the world by these producers so they must go through all levels of inspections before arriving to your destination.
In the United States certain measures are taken both in the chicken houses as well as the processing facility. Inspections are done first by the producers then by state inspectors and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fitzpatrick’s has always sold eggs to the public right there at the farm for those wanting to skip the middleman for a reduced price. Due to new regulations, as of May 1st 2014, eggs are no longer available for the public to buy at the farm. You can still find Whitesville Farms fresh eggs at your grocery store.
Blood spots are safe to eat. The blood spot does not indicate a fertile egg as people have otherwise been told. A blood spot is caused by a ruptured blood vessel as the egg forms. Candling systems which are a group of lights which the egg passes over can detect most blood spots so it can be discarded. Even the best candling systems cannot detect all of them. But the blood spot can be removed with the tip of a knife or spoon if desired.
Candling detects defects like cracks, leakage, and dirt. Cracked ones are sold as checks at a reduced price. Checks are perfectly safe to eat as well but to reduce any risk of contamination it is best not to consume them raw.
Sometimes there may be a greenish color present in the raw egg whites. This too is harmless. It is only riboflavin (a vitamin B2) which gives the appearance of green in boiled eggs as well as raw ones. Even the cooked egg yolk may look green.
With all the nutrients packed into this one stable food children and adults alike can benefit from this natural super food. There is not another food source available as valuable in content as the egg. It doesn’t matter if you eat brown or white eggs as they both are equally nutritious. Both fertile and not fertile are the same in nutrition value.
Eggs produced commercially for table use are not fertile. Eggs enhanced with Omega-3, is done by feeding hens an Omega-3 rich diet. Omega-3 fights off heart disease, cancer, aids the immune system and gives an extra added value to what eggs already have. These are much more expensive.
In earlier years, the high cholesterol levels found in eggs made people worry about consuming them. The lecithin that is found in eggs prevents the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. All the cholesterol is found in the yolk. Egg yolks can lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol and at the same time increase the HDL (good) cholesterol.
A healthy weight can be achieved with the added high quality protein found mostly in the egg white (albumen). The egg yolks have anti-clotting proteins to help lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. Protein helps prevent muscle loss in aging adults. It also helps build muscle strength. The protein content in eggs contains amino acids to aid in the body’s metabolism. The yolk contains 80% of the 70 calories found in a single large egg. Egg whites alone may be more appealing to those worried about calories.
An interview conducted with Fitzpatrick’s Supervisor Jerry Lewis shed some light on the subject of what is fed to these hens to produce such a nutrient filled egg.
Mr. Lewis said, “We feed a mix which is 2/3 corn, that also contains canola, limestone, soy meal and a concentrate of vitamins and minerals.”
He mentioned that, “Nine different kinds of protein are added to the mix to make a protein content of 16-21 percent.”
More Egg Facts
Eggs have many values which include Cho line (vitamin B complex) a water soluble nutrient found in the egg yolk. It is necessary for the activities of the liver as it reduces the fat intake. Cho line aids in the development of the fetal brain and helps prevent birth defects. It’s essential for expecting mothers to include eggs in their diet. People who don’t eat eggs may not get enough Cho line.
Eggs are a natural source of vitamin D which regulates the immune system. Vitamin D can help the body absorb calcium. It reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and can help children ward off diabetes in later life. New benefits from vitamin D are being discovered every day. Eggs can be an added advantage to people who don’t get outdoors much to get their vitamin D from the sunshine.
Antioxidants found in egg yolk help prevent muscle degeneration that can cause us to go blind as we age. For healthy eyes it is important to have eggs in our diet. These antioxidants can fight against some kinds of cancers.
Eggs are packed with minerals like calcium responsible for building strong bones and teeth. Calcium is required for the function of the muscles and nerves. Calcium aids the heart. It prevents muscle spasms which is essential for those who spend long periods of time on their feet.
Eggs contain iron that is mostly found in the yolk. Iron prevents anemia and aids in metabolic processes in our body. The yolk contains 90% of the iron and calcium present.
Phosphorus is a mineral found in eggs needed for brain and nerve function. Phosphorus is needed for reproduction of humans and animals. It is needed for proper growth. Phosphorus aids in conception as well as a healthy fetus. This is a good reason for making eggs a part of a plan parenthood routine.
Eggs contain zinc that strengthens the immune system and prevent disease. Zinc regulates hormones and helps maintain the digestive tract. Balancing hormones during child bearing years and during menopause are crucial for women in their daily lives.
Eggs contain iodine to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. It has been known to aid Type II diabetes. Iodine prevents most types of cancer and possibly reverse breast cancer. It controls chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Iodine has been added to table salt to help people get enough in their system, but eggs already contain this needed mineral.
The high sulfur (an amino acid) content in eggs promotes healthy hair and nails. It is needed to produce collagen, a protein that protects our joints. Aging adults need this protection.
The potassium content in eggs can aid against high blood pressure. Potassium is needed for proper functions of the kidneys, muscles, nerves, and the digestive system.
The egg yolk has carbohydrates which are a good source of energy. The combination of carbohydrates and high protein make eggs a powerful aid to get anyone through an active day.
Raw eggs used as a conditioner adds body and volume to make a healthy shiny head of hair. An egg mask made of raw eggs decrease the appearance of scars on the face giving the skin tone a healthy shiny look.
Many popular pet foods contain eggs to give your dog and cat that healthy shiny coat of hair. An egg rich diet will add the same benefits for them as well as their owners. Offer your pet eggs as a treat. They love eggs and eggs are good for them.
As with any food source preparation plays an important part in many factors. Fried eggs can be less beneficial than poached or boiled ones because of the added fat. It’s a little bit like adding milk and sugar to your coffee. You’re adding calories and fat. Thinking wisely as we decide to add anything to our diet is crucial in the benefits it will provide.
For those on low salt diets rest assured eggs are low in sodium. For a healthy nutrition value as little as three eggs per week will do. What a powerful weapon to assist us in our busy lives. Enjoy the many wonders of eggs for a healthy family, a healthy pet, and a healthy you. For farm fresh eggs visit the folks at Fitzpatrick’s anytime.
American Egg Board www.aeb.org
Egg Nutrition Center www.enc-online.org
Egg Safety Center www.eggsafety.org
Fitzpatrick’s Poultry Farm, Whitesville, N.Y.