Eggs are a delicious source of protein, not to mention easy to make. When stored and prepared correctly, they make a great meal options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Open the carton. Never buy cracked or soiled shells at the supermarket since they don't provide a barrier to bacteria (yuck!).
Keep cool. Only buy eggs from refrigerated cases. Leave them in the carton and store them on an inside shelf of your fridge, not in the egg slots on the door (which are a few degrees warmer than the main shelves). The carton will also prevent the eggs from absorbing food odors.
Test freshness. Want to know if your egg has passed its expiration date? Drop it into cold, salted water. If the egg sinks, it's extra-fresh. If it stays suspended in the water, it's about two weeks old, so crack it soon. If it floats to the top, toss the sucker.
Be safe. Only one in 20,000 eggs is affected with salmonella, but why gamble? Don't leave raw eggs unrefrigerated for long, allowing bacteria to multiply. Refrigerate egg dishes if you're making them more than two hours ahead of time, and wash your hands, utensils and work surfaces with hot, soapy water after they come in contact with raw eggs.
Separate it. When separating an egg, crack it open over an empty bowl rather than the batter you are making -- this way, you'll catch shells or yolk drips. Pass the yolk between two shell halves, so the egg white falls into the bowl. Egg whites keep for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge or a few weeks in the freezer.
Grade: Eggs are graded kinda like bras: AA, A and B. AAs have firm, thick whites and high, round yolks; ditto with As, except the whites are less firm. Skip the B grades—you're slumming it freshness-wise!
Size: The common size of an egg in the US is "large." "Extra large" or "jumbo" means the egg has a greater mass, but it won't affect egg dishes you make.
Brown vs. White: The chicken's breed dictates the shell's color, but the flavor is exactly the same.
Organic: These eggs are from hens fed organically grown foods with limited chemicals. They cost more but are healthier.
Free Range: Eggs made by hens who are raised outdoors or have daily access to the outdoors have deep yellow yolks with a richer flavor.
Enriched Eggs: that are enriched with omega-3s come from hens whose diet included omega-3 fatty acids, which have many heart-healthy benefits.
Egg Beaters: Thought they were fake? They're actually a real egg-based product with little or no yolk, which reduces or wipes out the fat as well as the cholesterol.
Now that you've gotten a handle on handling eggs, try these egg recipes from TheNest.com!
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