Good Eggs, Bad Eggs: Everything You Need to Know About Eggs
There is much to say about the noble egg, and @bjnovak, so glad you asked. Rather than overload one huge list, I've decided to do an Egg List series, beginning w basic definitions & pointers. Nutrition notes and basic cooking methods will get their own spotlight. Vamos!
- •Shopping for eggsIn a perfect world, we are all getting our eggs from farmers' markets or chicken-raising neighbors. Short of that, check the date stamp, go for an AA rating, and inspect each egg to be sure it's not cracked or stuck to the carton.
- •The myth of brown eggsNever be duped into paying more for brown shells: they are not superior to white ones. All they indicate is the hen's pigmentation (specifically, they mirror the hen's little ears) (yes, hens have ears). 🐓
- •New age egg glossary:
- •--organic eggs--The hens were fed only certified organic feed.
- •--vegetarian eggs--The feed contained no animal products or by-products.
- •--free-range eggs--There's an open door in the coop and theoretically, the hens can roam around and scratch outside. Somewhat misleading, as there could still be enough overcrowding to prevent this from actually happening, so...kind of a hoax, sorry to say.
- •--pastured eggs--The best option, if available. The chickens really do run around outside and peck actual nature for their food. They thus get more exercise and a more varied & natural diet. Pastured eggs tend to have deep orange yolks and clear whites that stay thick and hold their shape. Do pay extra here: totally worth it.
- •--fertile eggs--The eggs are laid after the hen mates w a rooster, so they could possibly 🐣 down the pike. There is no proven benefit to consuming fertile eggs, so don't pay more for them.
- •--enhanced eggs--The hens have been fed a nutrient-dense diet to pump up the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in the eggs. This is a good thing; do pay extra for these.
- •How fresh should eggs be, and for which purpose?Seems obvious that the fresher, the better, but that's not true across the board. Use very fresh ones for frying, poaching, soft-boiling, scrambling, or omelets. Hard-boiling (specifically peeling hard-boiled) eggs = far more successful with eggs close to their sell-by date. Date not so important w baking.
- •How to store eggs?Unwashed eggs that come directly from egg farmers can be stored for a few days at room temperature. That's because they are insulated by a protective coating - courtesy, the chicken. Supermarkets require that eggs be washed (regulations to prevent salmonella) so storebought eggs need refrigeration.