Not long ago, I struck up a conversation with a woman intently inspecting eggs at the local supermarket. She carefully opened a couple of cartons checking for any broken ones — a very wise move. But she also was comparing size and shell color and was favoring the brown eggs but was not sure they were worth 36 cents more per dozen.
Wanting to be helpful, I related that the shell color did not affect the nutritional value of the eggs — both brown and white shell eggs contained equal nutrients. Right there in the egg aisle, we discussed the merits of eggs. We concurred the color of the shell depended upon the breed of the hen; the yolk color was dependent upon the diet of the hens. Actually, one carton even indicated the eggs were from hens fed a diet containing marigolds; such diet produces very deep golden yolks.
However, my new friend was not swayed. She smiled shyly and carefully placed a couple dozen brown eggs into her cart. Although I like brown eggs, too, I returned her smile while I popped a couple dozen Grade AA Large white ones in my cart and saved myself 72 cents.
Although eggs are a very common commodity, questions still arise, so we’ll answer some of them now.
Q. How long should I let my eggs cook for hard-boiled eggs? Sometimes my boiled eggs are hard to peel; other times not a problem. What is the secret?
A. Technically, eggs should not be boiled as the boiling water will toughen the white and make it rubbery. Very fresh eggs are harder to peel, so select eggs that are a few days old. I learned how to boil eggs from Julia. here is her method:
Place room-temperature eggs in a heavy saucepan one layer deep. Cover eggs with cold water; it should be one inch above the eggs. Bring the eggs to a rapid boil. Turn off the heat and cover pan with a lid. Let stand 18 minutes. Drain and immediately immerse the eggs in ice and cold water to cool quickly. When cool, crack and peel the eggs, starting at the large end. It helps to hold the egg under running water to remove the shell with the membrane. Peeled eggs may be placed in a container in cold water, covered and refrigerated. They will keep for one week, but the water will need to be changed daily.
Q. Do eggs purchased at the grocery store contain chicken embryos?
A. Eggs in our supermarkets are produced from hens specifically raised for laying eggs. No rooster is present, so eggs are not fertilized and no embryo formed.
Q. Is it safe to eat raw eggs?
A. Raw eggs may put you at risk for Salmonella food poisoning. Although it only occurs in one egg in 20,000, it is a risk. Cooking the egg properly destroys any salmonella, if present.
• Bonnie’s cooking tip: When beating egg white, you always will get more volume if the egg whites are at room temperature.