May is National Egg Month.
(There is a month for just about everything…)
|image source: sheknows.com|
Eggs are a good source of vitamins A, E, D, and E, iron, sulfur, lutein, zeaxanthin, fats and protein (all good stuff). They also contain a good bit of cholesterol (not so good stuff), which garnered heart health concerns for years. In 2000, the American Heart Association revised their dietary guidelines deeming it ok for healthy adults to consume an egg a day within the daily limit of 300 mg of cholesterol. One large egg contains ~200 mg cholesterol – that’s 2/3 the daily recommended allowance, so moderation is key.
I enjoy eggs a few times per week, primarily for the protein. Egg’s cholesterol and fat are in the yolk, and the whites are essentially protein. To keep my egg intake healthy and satisfying, I most often use whites only or a 3:1 whites to whole egg ratio (3 egg whites combined with one whole egg).
Here are some of my go to preparations.
|Typical scrambled scrambled egg/egg whites breakfast.|
A few egg facts and tips:
A bowl of water can tell the freshness of an egg. Carefully slip the egg into a clear bowl with enough water to cover the egg by a few inches. Watch the egg.
- If it immediately sinks and settles on its side at the bottom, the egg is very fresh.
- If the egg goes to the bottom but shifts such that the pointy end lifts off the bottom of the bowl – this egg is moderately fresh. It is still good and will be easier to peel when boiled.
- If the egg floats on the surface of the bowl of water – it is old and should be discarded.
It is best to crack an egg on against a flat surface, not the edge of a bowl or counter. Cracking against an edge pushes pieces of the shell inside which is messy and could contaminate the contents (unless you wash the egg before cracking – and who does that?). Cracking against a flat surface yields a much cleaner separation of the shell.
Store your eggs in their original cartons. Egg shells are highly porous. Strong odors and flavors easily penetrate altering egg quality. Egg cartons block this transfer.
Avoid storing eggs in the door of your refrigerator. Each time you open the fridge, items on the door are subjected to room temperature air. This temperature fluctuation is better suited for condiments, beverages, and other more stable items on the door. Eggs, milk, meats, etc. are better maintained on internal shelves or drawers where the temperature is cooler and more consistent.
Essentially, there is no difference between white eggs and brown eggs. The color of the hen’s feathers affects egg color. (White hens primarily lay white eggs. Hens with reddish brown feathers lay brown eggs.)
There is a substantial nutritional difference between ‘designer’ and conventional eggs. Hens that are fed well and/or treated humanely produce ‘designer’ eggs. Examples include: cage free eggs (eggs from hens raised in an open area vs cramped cages), vegetarian eggs (eggs from hens whose feed is plant-based and free of animal by-products), organic eggs (eggs from hens fed organic feed) or omega-3 enriched eggs (eggs from hens whose feed is supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids). These specialty eggs cost more, but better feeding and raising of the hens produces a nutritionally better egg for your body.
Additionally, a look at the feed and living conditions many traditional egg producers provide their hens may touch your heart and turn your stomach. Enough with the heavy stuff…
Free recipe booklet
Eggland’s Best and Taste of Home Magazine created an amazing collection of egg-based recipes.