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“Eggs…a food geek’s guide”

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As the title suggests, we’re going to go beyond the recipes and look at eggs.

Eggs. One of the most versatile ingredients there is! There are 100 pleats in a chef’s hat because there are 100 ways to cook an egg. What other ingredient can claim that?! From providing texture, structure and richness, to binding, giving flavor, and providing a golden and shiny glaze to breads, eggs play so many roles in so many recipes, and are an important part in most baking recipes!

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I get lots of questions from many people about eggs oddly enough. so I thought I would post the most common questions and answers before moving on to the different types!

How should i keep my eggs?

To be honest, that depends on a lot of factors. For example, if your eggs come straight from the farm unwashed, there is an enzyme on the outside of them that helps them last longer outside of the fridge. More often than not though, the eggs you’ll be getting are going to be from the grocery store. Unfortunately, by the time they hit the shelves, they’re already at least a month old. This makes them perfect for baking and for hard boiling. This also means that when you crack it for a fried egg, the white is going to spread out and run rather than keep your yolk held up on that beautiful pillow of albumen. These eggs should always be stored in the refrigerator. When in doubt, refrigerate.

Most overlooked though, is storing your eggs rounded end down! This not only helps prevent moisture loss, but also helps to prevent the absorption of smells through their porous shells. Like the diced onions for tomorrow night’s meal, or the cooling bacon we just pulled off the smoker…

Does the Freshness of the egg matter when I’m baking?

When it comes to freshness, eggs that are a few days to a couple of weeks old are best for baking. It’s especially important for eggs to be a little less than fresh when whisking the whites, as week-old or so eggs have the ability to hold a greater volume of air than very fresh eggs.

How can I check my eggs for freshness?

There’s 2 easy ways to check if your egg is still good.
The first way is the easiest in my opinion to tell if it’s still good, if you’re unsure of the date. Take a bowl or a cup of water and gently drop your egg into it. If it floats, it’s bad! Throw it out, if it sinks, that means there are no gasses being produced inside and it’s still ok to eat. If it’s on it’s side, it means it’s very fresh, if it stands on end, it’s at least a couple weeks old.

If you’re looking for accurate freshness, and there’ s no date, then it’s best to crack the egg and look at the egg itself. Egg shells are quite porous and so as an egg ages, it loses moisture, the white gets more watery and less viscous and clings less to the yolk, and the yolk becomes flatter and less spherical. So by just looking at the egg you can estimate how old it is. If the yolk is sitting up and has a definite shape and the white is thick then the egg is quite fresh, if not you can presume it is older.

Are eggs best used at room temperature or straight from the fridge?

For baking, eggs are best used at room temperature, as they are easier to incorporate into mixtures. Also, if you need to whisk your eggs or egg whites it is easier to incorporate a greater quantity of air if the eggs are at room temperature. You can bring them to room temperature quickly by putting them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes.

What’s the best way to separate eggs?

There’s always controversy on this subject. Some use the egg shell trick, there’s a lot of use of the water bottle trick now for some reason…in my opinion if you’ve got big beautiful eggs, the water bottle trick is going to tear that yolk every time.

I like to crack the egg into my hand and let the white run through my fingers into a bowl. That way i have direct control of the yolk and how gentle i am with it.

 

 

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Now a little about a few commonly obtainable eggs including goose, duck, chicken and quail eggs.

 

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Chicken Eggs:

Now everybody has had chicken eggs. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by farmers everywhere that have delicious eggs. I’ll always prefer fresh eggs to the store bought ones. When you crack that shell and the yolk is just resting on top of that beautiful pillow of albumen, it brings a huge smile to my face. They’re sweet and delicate and delicious no matter how you eat them.

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Duck Eggs:

These are a little harder to find unless you live in the country…I just so happen to live in the country. These are slightly bigger than chicken eggs and a little bit longer. The shell is thicker and more difficult to crack, but what’s inside is delicious. The white is a little thicker on these, so if they’re really fresh, they’re a little harder to get out of the shell. The flavor of a duck egg is very distinct. Meaty and the creamy yolk is very fatty and rich with just a little hint of gaminess. They can still be substituted for chicken eggs in most baking applications. If you do this, figure on around 1.5 chicken eggs equals 1 duck egg. Because the yolk is so much richer, the food you make will obviously be richer too. These in cake are amazing…

 

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Goose Eggs:

It’s rare that i find these. Geese only lay from mid March to late April. These eggs are huge though! These also have a very distinct flavor with a hint of gaminess. This is my favorite egg to scramble. It almost tastes like you saved a half dozen egg yolks and scrambled them on their own. It’s smooth and creamy, without any help from milk or cream. It holds up to almost any flavor you can put in with it. Wild mushrooms are amazing with just a little bit of boursin cheese. If you see them anywhere for sale…get them…just get them!

 

 

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Quail Eggs:

These tiny little eggs are all the rage. Very similar taste profile to duck eggs, and the shell is more of a pain. You have to take a paring knife and puncture the middle. Then pull it apart. The yolk is very bright in flavor and buttery in texture. They’re the perfect thing to garnish a crab cake. But other than garnish, they’re too small to really eat as is unless you hard boil a bunch of them.

 

There are many other kinds of eggs out there, but these are the more common ones. You can always order an ostrich egg online, but it’s going to cost you anywhere from $30-$100 each depending on size, plus shipping. I might do this eventually to try one…I’ve always wanted to. If anybody has any other eggs that they’ve tried, please feel free to comment and I’ll be sure to look into it!

            

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3 COMMENTS

  • Deb on May 16, 2016

    Thoroughly enjoyed the reading. I found it to be very informative and interesting.

    I have a question… a dozen chicken eggs I bought from market had bright orange yolks that made bright orange scrambled eggs. Very.pretty but odd. What caused them to be this way?

    • JustinBorecky on May 16, 2016

      Hi Deb, and thanks for commenting.

      The color of the yolk has to do with the hen’s diet. If they eat more yellow-orange carotenoids, or natural pigments, it affects and changes the yolk’s color.

      In fact, while artificial color additives are not allowed to be added to chicken feed, naturally pigmented substances like marigold flowers are sometimes added to feed to enhance yolk color.

      As for the nutritional value of the yolks, darker, more colorful yolks have the same amount of protein and fat than lighter yolks. However, eggs from pasture-raised hens can have more omega-3s and vitamins but less cholesterol due to healthier, more natural feed.

      Despite the fact that there’s no real proof that egg yolk color is related to flavor, some people still claim they find darker yolks more flavorful. Any noticeable difference in flavor, though, is probably again due to the hen’s diet.

  • Heather on May 16, 2016

    Great information! I look forward to reading your posts each week!

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