We’ve always wondered whether Extra Large eggs were really much bigger than Large eggs. You sure can’t tell from the above picture! So we did some weighing experiments.
You probably see eggs by the dozen in several sizes in your market, most commonly large, extra large and jumbo. The adjacent picture shows large, extra large and jumbo eggs in their shells. The picture above shows their contents. How different are they? Well, the US standard egg sizes are given in ounces, 2 oz for Large eggs, 2.25 ounces for Extra Large eggs, and 2.5 ounces for Jumbo. In Canada and most of Europe, the weight standards in grams are just about the same sizes rounded down to the nearest gram.
In New England, we have the choice of brown or white eggs, with brown being culturally preferred. They are nutritionally identical to white eggs, however, and are produced by hens like the popular Rhode Island Red.
Of course, these sizes are the average size: in a given carton there will be some variability, but the total weight of a dozen large eggs will be around 24 ounces. Well, since extra large eggs are 0.25 ounces bigger, that’s sounds like about 12% more egg. That’s pretty substantial. Would you like a 12% raise? How about a 12% pay cut? That’s a lot either way, but as we’ll see, it actually isn’t true for the egg contents.
How much do the contents weigh? We decided to find out.
We bought 1 dozen large white eggs (Eggland’s Best, with the Easter Bunny initials on each egg) a dozen large brown eggs (The Farmer’s Cow), a dozen Extra Large (Sunnyland Farms) and a dozen Jumbo (Land of Lakes), and weighed the eggs.
Our dozen white large EB eggs weighed 24.63 oz or about 2.05 oz each. Just a little over the expected 2 oz.
Our dozen large brown eggs weighed 24.95 oz, or 2.079 oz each. Just a little bit larger.
Our dozen Extra Large eggs were a little short, over all weighing in at 25.44, or only about 2.12 oz each. However, they were more variable in size, and if you picked the left hand 6, they averaged 2.19 oz each. And our 1 dozen Jumbo eggs weighed in at 30.07 oz, or just about exactly 2.50 oz each.
What’s inside the eggs?
But what about what’s inside the egg? Suppose we just weigh the contents. We took three eggs representing their “breed specific” traits: in other words weighing as close to the standard as possible, weighed them and weighed their contents.
|Egg type||Weight||Wgt of contents||% bigger than large|
|Extra large white||2.26||1.91||3.6|
So, the contents of the large brown egg is actually 5.4% smaller than the large white egg of nearly identical size. This is apparently because the brown egg’s shell is a bit thicker. This may mean that the brown egg may stay fresh a little longer, but you get less egg. We repeated these measurements several times.
Now, if you compare the Extra Large egg with the Large egg, it is indeed bigger, but not 12.5% bigger as you’d expect from the weight requirements. In fact, it is only 3.6% bigger! Again, more shell and less egg. Bigger eggs have more shell as well as more contents. However, this is only true for large eggs. For extra large and jumbo, the weight measurements are exactly the same for both white and brown eggs.
So, to summarize, Extra Large eggs are not much bigger than Large eggs!
- if you normally buy Large eggs, you will get more egg in white eggs.
- If you normally buy Extra Large eggs, brown and white do not differ, but they are actually only 3.6% bigger than large eggs. Check the prices and see which is a better deal that week!
- The contents of Jumbo eggs are 11% larger than Large white eggs, and that is significant.
What did we do with all those test eggs? Scrambled eggs one morning and quiche a few days later!