Edible eggs: what they are and characteristics

The egg they have been in human nutrition since very ancient times. But how many types of edible eggs exist? Difficult to say precisely because every food culture has different types of eggs. However, it is possible to say with certainty that among the eggs that can be eaten there are not only chicken eggs. Also present in vegetarian diets, all eggs are high in protein and, in some cases, of Omega-3. This is not a mistake, because we are talking about edible eggs even when we are referring to fish eggs of which Japanese cuisine, but not only, is rich.

Here is a list of edible eggs that are more or less easy to find on the market.

Chicken eggs

These are the most common edible eggs and of the oldest food use. Chicken eggs can vary in colour of the shell according to the breed of the animal. Their taste also varies and can be more or less intense. Chicken eggs can be classified according to 3 parameters: breeding, category and size.

Classification of chicken eggs by type of farming

  • 0 = eggs from organic farming
  • 1 = free range eggs
  • 2 = free-range eggs
  • 3 = cage eggs

Classification of chicken eggs by category

  • Categoria A: fresh or extra fresh eggs, they can keep this wording up to the seventh day from the packaging date or up to the ninth day after laying.
  • Categoria B: second quality or preserved eggs.
  • Category C: downgraded eggs for domestic consumption and intended for the food industry.

Classification of chicken eggs by size

  • XL: defined very large, weighing over 73 g
  • L: defined large, weight from 63 g to 73 g
  • M: defined medium, weight from 53 g to 63 g
  • S: defined as small: weighing less than 52 g

Quail eggs

Surely the best known and most common after chicken eggs, quail eggs they are very small and have a very distinctive flavour. Their shell is gray with brown tips and is speckled. These eggs weigh about 1/5 of chicken eggs, but they are no less tasty for this. They are excellent fries and boiled inside salads or appetizers.

Ostrich eggs

Edible, but very difficult to find on the market, ostrich eggs they weigh about as much as 25 chicken eggs. They taste great and are perfect for omelettes. It is not recommended to prepare them hard-boiled, considering their size and the thickness of the shell it could take a long time.

Flying fish roe

In the Japanese language, flying fish roe is called tobiko. You will surely have tasted them in the sushiare very small (between 0.5 mm and 0.8 mm), are very crunchy, almost crackle in the mouth, and their color can vary between bright red and orange. They have a pleasant savory flavor with smoky hints. You can find tobiko in glass jars at Asian food stores. Try it on raw fish, but also on vegetables such as avocado or salad.

Uova in lompo

The 80’s buffets were packed with toast e flying in the wind con red and black lumpfish roe. For years, lumpfish roe has been the cheap substitute for caviar and has been quite successful too. Their flavor is rather delicate with sweet and sour notes that make them perfect to accompany fish and shellfish dishes.

Salmon roe

These are small translucent pearls with a bright orange color. Salmon roe is called it grows o caviar in Japanese cuisine and are used for the decoration or preparation of sushi. Today very common also in Italy, the salmon roe they are rich in Omega-3 and vitamin B-12 and are a high source of protein for our body. On the palate, the salmon roe is particularly savory and its texture is exceptional. They are very delicate from the point of view of treatment, in fact they must be extracted as soon as the salmon is caught. The outside of these small spheres is crunchy and encloses a soft core, similar to a thick liquid. The marine flavors are concentrated in these eggs which are perfect for enhancing the flavors of fish and shellfish, but also of vegetables.

Trout roe

Very similar to those of salmon, the trout roe they are slightly smaller, but have the same texture and offer the same pleasant sensation in the mouth. They crackle on the tongue and this makes trout roe a precious ingredient in creams or dishes with a particularly soft consistency. They are pink tending to bright orange and you can find them in glass jars. Their conservation is long precisely because they are pasteurized. They have a savory tastebut at the same time delicate.


You can find it with tuna, but also with mullet like the (very precious) Sardinian one. Bottarga is the sack of eggs that is processed and dried to then be cut into very thin slices, to garnish bruschetta or canap├ęs, or grated to season precious pasta dishes. Excellent spaghetti with clams and bottargaa classic pairing that you won’t struggle to find in the restaurants on the coasts of our major islands.


Obtained only from sturgeon eggs, the caviar it is certainly the most valuable edible egg in the world. Even for caviar there are different types that increase in price depending on the rarity. Why does caviar cost so much? The reason is simple, the egg sack of a sturgeon is decidedly small and contains little product so the price inevitably rises. Also, the sturgeon eggs they are very delicate and must be treated with time-consuming techniques. It seems that there are about 25 species of sturgeon and that caviar has been tried from all of them. But what is the most valuable caviar? Here is the classification:

  • Beluga: coming from the sturgeon that bears the same name (in Italian sturgeon ladano), it is a fish that can reach 9 meters in length for about a ton and a half in weight. This sturgeon can deliver up to 150 kg of caviar. Its eggs are coarse-grained (over 3 mm in diameter) and their color varies from pearl gray to dark grey. Today, beluga sturgeon is also farmed.
  • Ossietra: also called Oscietra or Osetra, it comes from the Russian and Persian sturgeon. These are fish weighing from a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 60 kg. The caviar obtained from these sturgeons has a delicate flavor with nutty notes. The color of small eggs, considered medium, is dark brown and hazelnut. This is often considered by experts to be the finest caviar.
  • Sevruga: comes from the starry sturgeon, a small fish that weighs up to 25 kg and rarely exceeds one and a half meters in length. Its eggs are small, reaching 2 mm in diameter and the color varies from light gray to anthracite gray. The flavor is particularly aromatic.

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