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egg, white, shell, fresh, storage, dark and yolk

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EGGS: one of the most generally valuable of food products, because of the many ways in which they are utilized.

When lightly cooked, eggs are easily digested and are well suited to sick or cate people. Boiled hard or fried, they are more difficult of assimilation. A fresh egg is said to equal in nourishment one and a half ounces of meat and one ounce of bread. In ordinary parlance, hen's eggs are always understood when "eggs" are tioned, but the omnivorous human diet includes also those of various other creatures. There is, for example, a limited consumption of the eggs of ducks, geese and fowls, and in some sections of gulls and other wild birds, those of the plover being considered a great delicacy. The eggs of turkeys and, in California, of ostriches are also occasionally eaten, but they are ordinarily too valuable for hatching to use them for the table. Again, terrapin eggs are served with the meat, the eggs of the sturgeon as caviar, those of the shad as "shad roe," etc. These, however, are topics foreign to the article following, which refers to the eggs of domestic hens.

There is a great similarity in the proportion of shell, white and yolk in fowls' eggs. Roughly speaking, the shell makes up one-tenth, the yolk three-tenths, and the white about six-tenths. The white is nearly seven-eighths water. The solids of the white are practically all nitrogenous matters, principally albumen. The yolk is about one-half water, one-third fat and the remainder principally nitrogenous matter.

The egg meat varies though somewhat in different seasons and conditions. Those received in the spring are generally firmer and fuller than those gathered later in the summer and the thickness of the shells varies in different sections—those of Ohio and Indiana, for example, being generally harder and thicker than those of Michigan and New York—owing, perhaps, to the difference in the gravel of the soil.

All eggs are examined by "candling." The process, in a cold storage house, is per formed in a dark room where electric light spots glow inside dark green metal shades, each with a single open space or hole. The egg is placed against this hole and an elec tric ray penetrates its very being.

For months during the egg gathering season, a force of men stand at these light boles, candling eggs with marvelous rapidity and grading them in boxes which an ele vator is carrying ceaselessly to cold storage rooms.

New-laid eggs appear semi-transparent, of a uniform pale pinkish tint, with only a very small air-chamber—a separation of the skin from the shell, filled with air.

If incubation has begun, a dark spot is visible, increasing in size in proportion to the length of incubation, and the entire contents appear cloudy, becoming worse as the egg grows older. Other similar spots are caused by fungus growth. A rotten egg is dark-colored, almost opaque. The air-chamber also becomes larger with age.

There are various degrees of badness classified in the trade by different colors. Those absolutely unfit for food are used in the tanning industry.

A great many eggs are not "full"—the fact does not mean that the egg is not a good product, but it must not be rated as either a "fancy fresh" or a "fresh-gathered extra." Again there are "checks." A "check" is an egg that has met with an accident that has cracked the shell so slightly that the crack is ordinarily invisible—the egg is not necessarily bad, but it must not be sold at the same price as a perfect one.

A writer the New England Grocer says of the egg trade : "The original owners of the eggs know as little about the history of their distribution as do the men and women who finally devo\ur them.

"To these first and last persons who handle the product, the eggs are either good or bad, and there's an end on't ! But to the man who handles them between the farm and the breakfast table there are Fancy Fresh, Fresh Gathered, Storage Packed. Storage, Limed, Known Marks, Extras, Firsts, Seconds, Dirties, Checks, etc. The dis tinctions become very necessary when one realizes that practically the whole enormous egg business is conducted by telegraph and that the dealer who purchases a carload of eggs has no opportunity to examine them until they arrive." With the exception of those which, because of their proximity to a large city, can profitably be shipped by express, eggs always travel in refrigerator cars—winter as well as summer, for the heavy construction of the perambulating ice-chests is equally serv iceable for protection against cold and heat. One carload contains four hundred cases, or one hundred and forty-four thousand eggs.

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