I have a thing for eggs. For me they are pretty much the perfect food. They are packed full of protein, only have 70-80 calories per and are cheap. I make them all the time in all sorts of ways. They even come wrapped for easy transport. Simply the world’s perfect food.
The shell of the egg enthralls me. It’s made of calcium carbonate which protects against microbes and keeps the moisture inside. If you’ve ever wondered about the color of the egg (some are white, brown and even blue) it depends on the breed of the hen. The shell really has no say when it comes to quality, taste or nutrition.
The yolk is my favorite part. Feared for its cholesterol levels, it should also be revered; for here is where the minerals, vitamins and fats lie. If it was not for the lecithin in the yolk, we’d have a much harder time making Hollandaise (lecithin works as an emulsifier). The color of the yolk changes depending on the hen’s feed and it is said that color does not affect taste in any way; but I love nothing more than a bright sunny orange yolk.
Egg whites have their place as well. The albumen (it’s proper name) carries more than 50% of the protein in the egg as well as Riboflavin. This is a great option for those who need to watch their cholesterol and still need to get their protein.
If you’ve ever been grossed our by those little squirmy looking chalazae chords; you need not be. You actually want to see them in the egg. These are not embryos. The more conspicuous the Chalzae is, the fresher your egg is. Leave them in since they do not affect the flavor or cooking of your egg in any way.
This is where I disagree with lots of people. It is said that eggs should be stored at below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and at 70 percent humidity. I’ve lived in other countries, traveled to lots of them and never seen them stored in a fridge. I keep my eggs away from the sun in the coolest place in my kitchen. They keep for about a week and I get better results when cooking. You can always test for freshness by placing the egg in water to see if it floats. If it does, the egg should be thrown out. Eggs will absorb smells, so keep them away from strong smelling foods.
We’re all afraid of salmonella. Salmonella is found in the intestinal tract of the chicken which somehow get on the shells of the eggs. This is where salmonella is transported (just as in the case with Wright County Egg). Even though egg farms and packing house wash eggs, bacteria can still remain. Do your best to prevent the shell from touching the actual egg to prevent contamination.
Eggs are fantastic. They contain vitamins A, D, E and K as well as B-complex vitamins. They also have lots of minerals and are not as high in cholesterol as people once thought.
I trust my local farmer and buy from her twice a week. She assures me that her chickens have true access to the outdoors where they can hunt for their own worms and grubs. She does not give them antibiotics and adheres to stricter than organic standards. She makes me happy.
If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market where you can get to know your suppliers, go for organic. This will at least assure that you do not get eggs from chickens that were fed genetically modified corn. They will also not be exposed to artificial pesticides and given antibiotics. This means that your organic chickens lead a slightly better life, since they are not given antibiotics, they cannot be packed together too closely for fear of disease transmission. It also means that there will be less chance of said antibiotics entering your body and messing with your immune system.
Vegetarian feed has been used as a marketing term to tug at the heartstrings of consumers. Don’t be fooled; this means corn feed. Which also means no access to the outdoors, no grubs, no worms and most likely antibiotics.
Free Range is another term used to confuse shoppers. The United States Department of Agriculture says that free range chicken ”Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside”. Did the chicken go outside? Could it get outside? Nah, it only has access.
Omega-3 and Born-3 eggs are more misleading marketing terms. Chickens are given supplements such as fish oil to boost the omega-3 content in eggs. Eggs from free-range hens have a naturally occurring level of Omega-3 due to the diet of natural vegetation and grubs and insects they consume (not vegetarian feed). If you want Omega-3′s stick to flax seeds and tofu.
These are some of my favorite egg recipes. You will find some basics as well as some more complex recipes: