Sunday, August 3, 2008


Since i love eating eggs, i guess i should solve the doubts containing in my heart.

Century Eggs

The myth: century eggs are or once were prepared by soaking eggs in horse urine.

After wiki-ing it, i've got the answer: Century Eggs

Preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in mixture of clay, ask, salt, lime, and rice straw for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. After the process is completed, the yolk becomes a dark green, cream-like substance with a strong odor of sulfur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, transparent jelly with little flavor or taste. The transforming agent in century egg is its alkaline material, which gradually raises the of egg from around 9 to 12 or more.pH This chemical process breaks down some of the complex, flavorless proteins and fats, which produces a variety of smaller flavorful compounds.

Traditional method:
Using just clay, a mixture of wood ash, quicklime, and salt is included in the plastering mixture, thereby increasing the pH and sodium content of the clay mixture.
This addition of natural alkaline compounds improved the odds of creating century eggs instead of spoilage and also increased the speed of the process.
Each egg is then individually covered by hand with the paste/clay misture, with gloves being worn to prevent the corrosive action of the lime on skin.
Each egg is then rolled in a mass of rice chaff to keep the eggs from adhering to one another before they are placed in cloth-covered jars or tightly woven baskets.
In about three months, the mud slowly dries and hardens into a crust, and then the eggs are ready for consumption.

Modern method:
Soaking the eggs in a brine of sale and lye (sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate) for 10 days followed by several weeks of aging while wrapped in plastic is said to achieve the same effect as the traditional method. This is true to the extent that egg curing in both new and traditional methods is accomplished by introducing alkali hydroxide ions and sodium into the egg.

So..... it can't be horse urine since urine is usually acidic or very weakly alkaline, and would not actually preserve the eggs. The myth may arise from the ammonia smell created during some production processes.


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