The only inedible part of an egg is the shell. An egg is both a simple and a complete food. It is versatile and nutritious.

The farmstead egg cookbook
Terry Golson ; photographs by Ben Fink.
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2006.
THE FARMSTEAD EGG COOKBOOK taps into the trend that eggs are healthy to eat again. High-protein, low carb diets have boosted egg sales, and the American Heart Association has relaxed their egg consumption guidelines. Golson believes strongly in eating organic farmstead eggs -- they have a richer flavor, deeper color, and a better texture than the average grocery store egg. She calls them the ultimate comfort food, reassuringly basic but always deliciously special at the same time. In the FARMSTEAD EGG COOKBOOK she gathers 70 healthy, hip and easy-to-make egg recipes with full color photos throughout. Learn how to properly cook everything from boiled and scrambled eggs to dishes that really celebrate eggs like: smoked trout and peeper frittata, pesto vegetable quiche, Moroccan tangine with meatballs, tomatoes and eggs, almond and orange pound cake with orange glaze, and sweet potato pie with bourbon-meringue topping
Michel Roux ; photography by Martin Brigdale.
Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, c2005.
"The egg is the simplest and most complete food, highly nutritious and versatile enough for the quickest of meals or the smartest of dinner parties. It's also a favorite of patissiers and dessert chefs. Michel Roux - for many years a chef at the top of his profession and a global traveler with a passion for different cuisines - is the ideal author to take a new look at one of the oldest foods of all." "Each chapter is based around a style of cooking eggs, from boiling, frying, poaching, baking and scrambling, to making the perfect omelet, crepe, souffle, meringue and custard. Classic recipes such as Hollandaise Sauce, Eggs Benedict and Lemon Souffle are given a modern twist, while Michel's original recipes boast new combinations of flavors or a lighter, simpler style of cooking. Illustrated with photographs."--BOOK JACKET.
The egg white cookbook : recipes for every meal, featuring nature's perfect protein
Margaret Blackstone & Barbara Leopold.
New York : M. Evans, c2005.
Low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, the egg white is not only the healthiest and most versatile part of the egg, it's also nature's perfect protein. This unique cookbook is devoted to showing you more than 75 ways to cook up scrumptious egg white dishes for any and every meal, from breakfast through dessert, including: Eggplant Benedict, Zucchini Pancakes, Crispy Egg Whites and Veggie Wrap Sandwiches, Spaghetti Pie, Egg White Drop Soup, Red Bean and Egg White Enchiladas, Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake, Impossible Coconut Lime Pie.

Eggs vary in weight and range from 1/2 ounce per dozen for peewee eggs, 18 ounces per dozen for small, 21 ounces per dozen for medium, 14 ounces per dozen for large, 27 ounces per dozen for extra large, to 30 ounces per dozen for jumbo.

U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies consumer eggs as Grade AA, A, and B.  These standards are based on the condition of the shell, yolk, and white.

Grading eggs

Egg whites are a vital ingredient in soufflés, mousses, and meringues. Unlike the yolks, egg whites vary significantly according to the size of the egg. One cup = 8 medium egg whites. In many sauce and pastry recipes, only the egg yolks are used. Egg whites freeze well so save them for future soufflés.

Eggshell colors vary according to the breed of chicken. Some special breed hens produce eggs with pretty colored shells in a range of pastel shades. White and brown eggs have the same food value.

The flavor of the egg is concentrated in the yolk and is determined by what the chicken eats - corn, wheat, etc. Its rich taste is composed of many different elements.

A few styles of cooking eggs are boiling, frying, poaching, baking, and scrambling.  Each technique produces a unique texture and flavor.

Cooking eggs

Organic eggs produced by hens fed on natural feed (free from additives), which have freedom to roam outdoors and are kept in relatively small flocks. Free-range eggs are produced by hens that also have continuous access to outdoor runs, and a varied diet.

Eggs are a good source of protein and provide an excellent source of iron and phosphorus. As well, the egg yolks are rich in vitamins A and D, and B.

Nutritious eggs

If you are in any doubt about the freshness of an egg, do the following simple test. Drop the egg into cold salted water (1/4-cup salt to 4 cups water). If the egg sinks, it is "extra fresh;" if it remains suspended in the water, it is about 2 weeks old; if it floats, the egg is not fresh enough to be eaten.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff