Tips and tricks for the perfect eggs

    Everyone has their favorite way of preparing, and eating eggs. They can deliver nutrition, flavor and excitement when prepared properly. We’ve gathered essential information for choosing and preparing eggs, so that you can enjoy the maximum flavor, without any fuss.

    One Egg, Many Possibilities

    Scrambled, in omelets, poached, hard-or-soft-boiled, or fried, the breakfast is not boring when eggs are served. There are many other ways to enjoy eggs beyond these classics, it just takes a bit of imagination. Scramble them up and add vegetables, ham and cheese to create a hearty frittata that enriches your breakfast table; or slide those dreamy poached eggs with their creamy yolks and firm whites atop toasted bread, avocado or greens and enjoy. 

    Egg Carton Labels: What does it all mean?

    There are a lot of different phrases and logos visible on egg cartons, including:

    Antibiotic Free: Prohibits the use of antibiotics in feed or water during growth period of pullets or while hens are laying eggs.

    Omega-3 Enriched: Allows cages, and feed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

    Free Range: Prohibits cages and requires access to outdoors. Does not regulate feed.

    USDA Organic: Prohibits cages and use of antibiotics. Requires access to outdoors and organic feed.

    Certified Humane: Prohibits cages, and requires space to roam and perform natural behaviors. Prohibits use of animal byproducts in feed and prohibits forced molting.

    Cage Free: Requires a free space to roam, but does not require access to natural light. Does not regulate feed or antibiotic use.

    Hormone Free:  Is considered a marketing gimmick, as egg-laying hens are not given hormones.

    Proper Preparation

    Whether they’re from a pot or an egg cooker, the perfectly cooked egg is a different masterpiece for everyone. It takes a bit of trial and error, but in no time at all (and following our suggestions below), you’ll master the right cooking time for your favorite consistency.

    Start by determining the size of eggs by simply looking on the carton. This will influence how many minutes your egg will spend cooking in the water.

    For medium sized eggs, cooking time ranges from 5 to 10 minutes. At 5 minutes, the eggs whites and yolks are cooked soft. After 6-7 minutes, the eggs are waxy and soft, with a slightly firm, jelly-like whites, and a yolk with a soft core. At 8 minutes, the egg whites are firm and the yolk is creamy. Hard-boiled eggs, with egg whites and yolk both firm, take 10 minutes.

    If using small eggs, shorten the cooking time by 30 seconds. For large eggs, the eggs should remain in the water 1 minute longer.

    Tip: The temperature of the eggs can also influence the cooking time. If just coming out of the refrigerator, they will take about 1 minute longer than those stored at room temperature.

    Peeling Eggs

    It is no secret that eggs are hard to peel. There are a variety of tips and tricks that can help make the process easier, but they are not always foolproof.

    One important tip is to start off with older eggs. The fresher the egg, the more difficult to peel. As a general rule, and to make things easy when trying to determine when the eggs were laid, store eggs in their carton for 4-7 days before hard-boiling. If not eating immediately, store eggs in refrigerator and don’t peel until ready to eat.

    For best results when peeling hard-boiled eggs, place cooked eggs in refrigerator for at least an hour and let cool completely. To peel, start at large end, and peel under cold, running water or in bowl with ice water. Tap the bottom of the egg (the wider part) and begin to peel, to loosen the membrane/skin. Slip a spoon under skin of shell, and slowly apply a bit of pressure under the membrane/skin.

    Storing Eggs

    It is recommended to store eggs in the refrigerator, far away from odorous food, and to use the eggs by the ‘best before’ date.

    If storing hard-boiled eggs, it’s best not to peel them until they are ready to eat. If the shell is not cracked, they can be kept in the refrigerator for two to four weeks. If the shells are cracked, consume soon, as cracks in the shell allow any odors or bacteria in the refrigerator to enter the egg.

    Fresh to Eat?

    This simple trick will let you know if an egg is fresh and good for consumption. Fill a large glass or bowl with cold water. Place the egg inside.

    If it is fresh, it will remain on the bottom, submerged. 

    • If it is spoiled, it will float to the surface. 

    • If the egg remains at the bottom, but is tilted, cook at high heat before eating

    Image: ©Lilechka75/istock