Egg Basics

What to look for when buying eggs?

Chicken eggs are graded by size and quality and not by nutrition. The size of the egg is measured by the air pocket (the area between the inner and out shell membrane). The quality is measured by the shape and condition of the shell as well as the appearance of the yolk and the albumen.

Grade AA are the highest quality eggs, and have thick whites, plump and firm yolks and a small air pocket. These eggs are best for fried or poached as they hold their shape better.

Grade A eggs are only a little less in quality. Most recipes recommend large eggs (1 3/4 oz/ 50gms). These eggs are best for scrambling or where a recipe requires a beaten egg.

Eggs sold in supermarkets are thoroughly washed and coated in a mineral oil to seal out bacteria. When purchasing eggs, check no egg is cracked and the use by date is as furthest away from the current date.

How to store an egg

An egg that spends one day on the counter ages the same as if it spent one week in the fridge. Eggs will remain fresher longer the more you keep the cold. By keeping them in the coolest part of the refrigerator and in their own egg carton, will protect the egg from temperature fluctuations when you open the door and from other odors in the fridge.

Eggs on the counter

Eggs are packed with the broad ends up, this centers the yolk and they will keep for a further 3 to 4 weeks past the use by date. To tell if an egg is aging, the whites will become more transparent and will thin (more liquid) and the yolk will flatten out, not be so round. The egg will still keep its nutritional value.

Older eggs are good for baking and the whites are ideal for whipping. Younger eggs are good for making emulsified sauces such as mayonnaise.

Nutritional Value

An egg is a holds a lot of nutrition and is considered a powerhouse. It provides protein, vitamin A, D and E, minerals – magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and zinc.

Egg whites are low in fat and high in protein, egg yolks have the most flavor but are also higher in fat and cholesterol.

Freezing eggs

egg carton

Eggs will keep in a freezer for up to 9 months. Break the egg, combine the yolk and the white and seal in a container. Freeze egg whites only and when defrosted they whip up better than a fresh egg white.