We have heard and read many facts and findings about eggs. Sometimes we hear that eggs are good for us and other times we hear that eggs can create health problems. We have found a few facts and tips about eggs which you might find helpful and beneficial.
An egg is very nutritious and makes a valuable contribution to the diet. Eggs may be eaten in place of meat, as they are an excellent source of high quality protein. Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids as well as
supply 11 essential nutrients including vitamins A, D, E, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin plus iron and
phosphorus. One to two eggs are considered a serving and may be substituted in place of a 2-3 ounce (60-90 g) serving of meat, fish or poultry.
The color of the egg yolk is determined by the diet of the hen and does not affect the nutritional value or quality of the egg. When hens are fed a larger proportion of wheat in relation to other ingredients in a diet, they produce eggs with pale yolks. A diet containing a high proportion of yellow corn, will result in eggs with darker yolks. The color of the shell is determined by the breed of hen and both brown and white eggs are equally nutritious.
Eggs can be frozen in their shells, and can still be hard-cooked successfully, but other uses are limited. Raw eggs may be frozen at -18°C (0°F) for up to a year. Egg whites can be frozen in a freezer, airtight container as they are; be sure to leave room for expansion. To freeze yolks or whole eggs, break them into a bowl, and mix gently so as not to add air. To prevent lumpiness in the yolk, add salt, sugar or corn syrup (depending on the intended use) in the following amounts:
* 2 tsp (2 ml) salt for every 1 cup (250 ml) eggs
* 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar or corn syrup for every 1 cup (250 ml) eggs It is best if you freeze eggs in small quantities so you can easily thaw what you need. An easy way to freeze eggs is to place them in an ice cube tray and then transfer them to a plastic bag. It is safest to thaw eggs in the refrigerator and use them in recipes in which the eggs are thoroughly cooked. Hard-cooked eggs do not freeze successfully,
because the cooked egg whites tend to become tough and rubbery.
The "Best Before" date is written on an egg carton two to three weeks after the eggs are graded and indicates the length of time the eggs will maintain their good and/or fresh quality. After that date they may still be used but are best for scrambling, baking or hard-cooking. Eggs are packed in cartons with the larger, rounder ends up to keep the yolks centered and thus gives a more attractive appearance to hard-cooked and devilled eggs. Use fresh eggs for frying and poaching. In fresh eggs the yolks are higher, and whites are thick.
For microwave cooking, choose a good quality container suited for micro waving. Round shapes work best for cooking eggs. Use moderate heat when cooking eggs. If you cook eggs at too high a temperature, or for too long at a low temperature, both the egg white and the egg yolk will become tough.
You can poach eggs several hours or even a day or two ahead. Under-poach the eggs slightly and store them in ice-cold water. Immerse the poached eggs in simmering water for one to two minutes just before serving them.
Although it is best to serve scrambled eggs immediately after cooking them, you can hold them warm for a short time by covering them and placing them over a pan of hot water. Do not keep scrambled eggs hot by placing them over direct heat, as they will become rubbery.
To hard boil eggs:
- Do not overcook your hard-boiled eggs or you will get a gray ring around the egg yolk. Place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough water to at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the eggs. Cover the eggs and bring them rapidly to boiling. Reduce heat or remove pan from heat to prevent further boiling. Let eggs stand in hot water until cooked as desired:
2 to 5 minutes for soft-cooked;
16 to 20 minutes for hard-cooked.
- Cool soft-cooked eggs for a few seconds in cold water to stop further cooking. Immediately cool hard-cooked eggs thoroughly in cold running water. Hard-cooked eggs can be kept in the refrigerator in or out of the shell for up to a week.
- Eggs are porous and should be kept away from strong smelling foods in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. If you store eggs in their cartons, you provide eggs with additional protection and to prevent them from absorbing odors. Store leftover egg yolks or whites in airtight containers and use as quickly as possible. Cover yolks with cold water to prevent them from drying out.
- Because eggs are a perishable food, they should be stored in the refrigerator. For optimum quality, eggs should be consumed before the "best before" date expires. For every hour eggs are kept at room temperature, they age an entire day.