The Egg and You

Easter is nearly upon us, and no matter how you look at the holiday, you can’t escape this simple fact: Easter and eggs cannot be divorced. Dyed eggs, Ukrainian wax-painted eggs, chocolate eggs, peanut-butter eggs, even those Peeps eggs. And then there’s plain old ordinary chicken eggs.
I’ve been known to say a few uncharitable things about eggs in the past, mainly having to do with the smell of eggs when they’re cooking and the fact that some people can’t seem to leave well enough alone and sneak eggs into perfectly good potato or macaroni salads. A low trick, that one.
But in the spirit of the coming holiday, I have decided I need to give eggs credit where it’s deserved and, while I’m at it, do them a favor by providing a bit of instruction on Care and Training of Oeufs (CATOO for short.) So here we go, and Happy Easter to all!
Oh, and I’ll just have a chocolate egg, please.

Eggs have gotten a bad reputation in recent years, owing to their undeniably high cholesterol content (213 milligrams per egg.) But eggs still pack a powerful nutritional punch for their size; they’re high in protein, iron, riboflavin and vitamins A and D.
The color of the eggshell, contrary to popular belief, has no bearing on either the taste or the nutrition of the egg. Some chickens lay white eggs, some don’t.
Likewise the color of the yolk is due to the hen’s diet: hens fed mainly on alfalfa, for example, produce lighter-colored yolks than hens fed a wheat-based diet.
What are those cord-like strands running from the egg white to the shell? Those are chalazae, and the more noticeable they are, the fresher the egg. Which brings us to the most important aspect of eggs, freshness.
It goes without saying that eggs must be refrigerated. They lose as much quality in one day at room temperature as they would in a week of refrigeration.
Eggs should be stored in the door of the refrigerator, in their original carton. Moving them into another container increases the chance of their being damaged or picking up odors. They should be stored large-end up and away from any strong-smelling foods like onions or garlic. As long as the shells are intact, eggs will keep up to a month, although they’re at their best if used within a week.
How should leftover eggs be stored? Cover yolks with cold water and refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to 3 days. They can be frozen, but 1/8 teaspoon salt or 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar or corn syrup must be added for each ¼ cup of yolk. Whites will keep up to 4 days, tightly covered, and can be frozen as is for up to 6 months. The easiest way to freeze them is to put one egg white in each section of an ice cube tray. After they’ve frozen, you can transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. Both yolks and whites need to thaw out overnight in the refrigerator before use. And hard-boiled eggs will keep in the refrigerator for no more than a week.

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