Bird eggs have been a common food and is one of the most versatile ingredients used in cooking. They are highly important in many branches of the modern food industry. The most commonly used bird eggs are those from the chicken. Duck and goose eggs, and smaller eggs such as quail eggs are occasionally used as a gourmet ingredient, as are the largest bird eggs, from ostriches. Gull eggs are considered delicacy in England, as well as in Scandinavian countries, especially in Norway. In some African countries, guineafowl eggs are commonly seen in marketplaces, especially in the spring of each year. Pheasant eggs and Emu eggs are perfectly edible but less widely available. Sometime they are obtainable from farmers, poulterers, or luxury grocery stores. Most wild bird's eggs are protected by laws in many countries, which prohibit collecting or selling them, or only permit these during specific periods of the year.
Most commercially produced chicken eggs intended for human consumption are unfertilized, since the laying hens are kept without any roosters. Fertile eggs can be purchased and eaten as well, with little nutritional difference. Fertile eggs will not contain a developed embryo, as refrigeration prohibits cellular growth for an extended amount of time.
Chicken eggs are widely used in many types of dishes, both sweet and savory. Eggs can be pickled, hard-boiled, scrambled, fried and refrigerated. They can also be eaten raw, though this is not recommended for people who may be especially susceptible to salmonella, such as the elderly, the infirm, or pregnant women. In addition, the protein in raw eggs are only 51% bio-available, whereas a cooked egg is nearer 91% bio-available, meaning the protein of cooked eggs is nearly twice as absorbable as the protein from raw eggs. As an ingredient egg yolks are important emulsifier in the kitchen, and the proteins in eggs white makes all kinds of foams and aerated dishes possible.
If a boiled egg is overcooked, a greenish ring sometimes appears around egg yolk. This is a manifestation of the iron and sulfur compounds in the egg. It can also occur when there is an abundance of iron in the cooking water. The green ring does not affect the egg's taste; overcooking, however, harms the quality of the protein (chilling the egg for a few minutes in cold water until the egg is completely cooled prevents the greenish "ring" from forming on the surface of the yolk).
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