The Incredible, Edible Egg, Modified
Eggs are a basic, nutrient-rich food that humans have been consuming for thousands of years. They are an excellent and inexpensive source of high quality protein and an important source of Vitamins B12, E, riboflavin, folacin, and minerals iron, and phosphorus. From a culinary standpoint, they can be eaten alone or used to enhance innumerable other foods. Examples include being used to lighten cakes, to thicken soups or sauces, as accompaniments, or used as a central ingredient.
But alas, the egg does have one major drawback—its yolk contains approximately 210 milligrams of cholesterol (about 2/3 of the total suggested daily maximum intake of cholesterol).
For those concerned about elevated blood cholesterol levels, eggs should be limited to one whole egg per week. Egg whites can be used freely since they are almost pure protein.
Many egg substitute products are now readily available in the grocery store and can easily be used in recipes that call for eggs. A ¼ cup portion is equivalent to one whole fresh egg. They come in frozen, refrigerated, or powdered form and have egg white as their main ingredient. Some have vegetable oil, flavoring, and color added to give the effect of having a yolk.
All egg substitutes are pasteurized so that salmonella is not a concern. These products can be used in recipes or eaten like scrambled eggs. The calorie content of grocery store egg substitutes may range from 15 to 60 calories per serving. Whole eggs contain about 80 calories. Most substitutes have no cholesterol but some contain as much as 4 grams of fat. As always, being careful reading labels is your best guide.
When purchasing eggs, be sure to buy from a reputable source. Eggs should always be refrigerated in order to maintain their freshness. Eggs age as much in one day at room temperature as they do in one week of refrigerated storage. Therefore, buy eggs only from stores that keep them in chilled cases.
Look for a date or freshness code on the carton. All USDA inspected eggs are required to carry a three-digit number that indicates what day of the year they were packed (i.e., January first is 001 and December thirty-first is 365). Look for the highest-numbered carton you can find. If kept refrigerated, the eggs should be good for four to five weeks from the packing date.
If eggs are sold from a farm, they may not be graded or dated and so the seller’s reputation may be your only assurance of quality. Be sure they are kept under refrigeration in order that their farm-fresh quality is preserved. Check eggs carefully to be sure that they are free from cracks, breaks, or excessive dirt.
To store eggs, keep them in their original cartons in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The container helps to protect them from picking up aromas from strong-flavored foods in the refrigerator. The large end of the egg should be up, the way the eggs come in the carton.
It is not necessary to wash or wipe eggs before storing them. Washing eggs will cause them to lose their protective coating. Hard-cooked eggs can be refrigerated up to one week. They should be stored in a covered container.
In cooking, be sure the egg is thoroughly cooked to prevent an outbreak of salmonella. Never serve eggs raw.