What's the Weird White String in Raw Eggs?

Yep, it’s totally safe to eat.

EC: What’s That Stringy White Thing in Raw Eggs?
Photo: Photo by Carlina Teteris via Getty Images

Whether you're cracking eggs for a baking project or just scrambling up your breakfast, you're bound to notice that there are four parts to every egg you pick up at the grocery store: the shell, the clear white (albumen), the yolk and whatever that white string is.

That string is called a chalaza—pronounced kuh-LAY-zuh. According to the American Egg Board, eggs actually have two chalazae inside their shell. The chalazae are "twisted, cordlike strands of egg white" that anchor the yolk from the top and bottom of the shell membrane, keeping the yolk from getting busted before you crack the egg. In a fresh egg, the chalazae will be especially visible—so don't feel like you need to remove them.

Plus, eggs of the best quality will have prominent chalazae that stand out against the thick white, according to the American Egg Board's standards for Grade AA, Grade A and Grade B eggs. If your eggs have no chalaza at all, they could be growing stale or be lower quality.

Once you cook an egg, the chalazae will disappear into the rest of the egg white, no strategy necessary. But if you're cooking something where you need completely smooth eggs, like a custard or curd, consider removing the chalazae with a fork, the folks at our sister publication MyRecipes suggest.

The next time you fire up the frying pan for an eggy breakfast, feel free to leave that stringy sidekick in place. Since eggs are a complete protein chock-full of health benefits, they're a good vegetarian option for any meal, and egg whites are low in calories and a good source of protein, so the chalazae will add to the punch of protein.

Make sure there's a visible chalaza the next time you crack an egg. That way you'll know you have a fresh, high-quality ingredient on your hands.

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