Time for Some Eggs-pertise
I use eggs all through the week—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. And I’m not unusual. Research says eggs are one of the top 5 foods found in the typical fridge. No surprise there—they’re so versatile.
And they’re healthy. Eggs are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D (it's all in the yolk, though). Speaking of health, if you want the healthiest egg you can get, pay attention to the mounting evidence. Research has proven that pasture-raised hens (that eat a variety of foods) produce eggs richer in vitamin A and omega-3, and are lower in cholesterol. We’ll pay a little more for them, but the benefits seem to be worth the extra cost.
That variety of foods hens eat shows up in the egg yolk. Darker yellow or orange egg yolks mean they contain more carotenoids, which usually means the egg is richer in micronutrients such as vitamin A and omega-3. But the protein and fat content is usually the same as that of a paler yolk.
And research also says that while egg whites are lower in fat, most of the vitamins and nutrients are in the yolk. And nutritionists say a little bit of fat (found in the yolks) improves the body’s absorption of vitamins.
But there can be questions when cracking an egg, no matter how healthy it is. For instance, those stringy things—what ARE they, and are they safe to eat? They’re called chalazae—little ropes that attach the yolk to the membrane. The more chalazae you see, the fresher the egg. And yes, they’re perfectly safe to eat.
Then there’s another question: Blood spots—what are THEY? The National Egg Board says “Sometimes eggs have little blood spots, also called meat spots, in the yolk. Contrary to rumor, blood spots do not mean the egg has been fertilized. It happens sometimes when a blood vessel is ruptured while the yolk is being formed. These eggs are both chemically and nutritionally just fine to eat.”
So a blood spot doesn’t mean a bad egg, but floating sure does. Bad eggs float: The older an egg is, the more air has seeped into the shell's pores. It’s safest to avoid the floaters.
Moving from nutrition and food safety to cooking—did you know to avoid eggs cracking when you’re boiling them, start first with room temperature eggs, and then add a dash of vinegar to the water. And if you happen to be one egg short for a recipe, just substitute one teaspoon of cornstarch.
Still changing the topic, let’s talk clean-up. Did you know a dropped egg is much easier to clean up if you sprinkle it heavily with salt before you start wiping? You can thank me later.
Finally, let’s move topics again to camping with eggs. What’s a campsite breakfast without a sizzling pan of hashbrowns, bacon, and scrambled eggs? If this particular breakfast is on your menu, forget that space-hogging plastic egg carrier. Don’t bring whole eggs, period. Instead, make camping simpler by cracking all the eggs you intend to scramble at camp into a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. When ready to cook, add a little salt and pepper, milk, and any chopped veggies you like (diced bell peppers, chopped green onions, diced tomatoes, etc.) and give the jar a good shake. No muss, no fuss cooking is the name of my camping game. All it takes is a little “eggspertise!”
Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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