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The Egg and Us

Fresh Egg photo
by John Raven, Ph. B.

Eggs got a lot of bad press there for a while. The latest reports seem to indicate that eggs, in moderation (as all things should be except fun), are a good nutritional addition to your diet. For a quick, easy meal they can't be beat. (There's a pun in there somewhere).

Like any other food, eggs should be fresh and of the best quality. The only way you can be sure of the age of your egg is to have your very own laying hen. Otherwise you will just have to trust your market. Buy your eggs where they sell a lot of them so there is a quick turnover and you will get the freshest eggs.

The grade on the egg box should be either "AA" or "A". The "AA" egg will have a thicker white and the yolk will be firmer. The "A" will spread out a little more in your frying pan.

The size of the egg refers to the weight of a dozen specimens. Jumbo eggs, usually the largest available, will weigh no less than 30 ounces per dozen. Extra Large will weigh no less than 27 ounces per dozen. On down the line to the Small, which will weigh in at no less than 18 ounces per dozen.

The color of the egg matters only to the hen or the Easter Bunny. I am told that the variety of eggs that come naturally in green, pink and blues have less cholesterol than the others but I'm not sure that is true.

Yard eggs, which come from chickens that have been raised outdoors, will have a more colorful yolk due to the chicken getting green forage. I think yard eggs taste better, but they are difficult to come by unless you raise chickens or have a neighbor who does.

Contrary to popular belief, the blood spot that is found in the yolk of some eggs does not indicate that the egg is fertile. The spot is caused by a breaking of a blood vein in the egg when it is being formed. The blood spot is neither harmful nor beneficial. It can be removed from the yolk with the tip or a knife or some similar instrument if you don't like the way it looks.

Chicken eggs are the most popular form of egg in the States, but there are folks who consume duck eggs, turkey eggs, goose eggs and most any other eggs on a daily basis.

Now that you know everything there is to know about eggs we are ready to eat a few. A fresh egg with no cracks in the shell can be eaten raw with no fear. It's the eggs with cracks that you have to be leery of. The cracks can let in bad things.

Fried eggs are probably the most popular. Just slip a couple of eggs into a hot skillet that has been lubricated with a pat of butter and simmer them until they are as done as you like them.

Boiled eggs come in two varieties -- soft and hard. For soft boiled eggs, put the eggs in a single layer in a pot and cover with at least an inch of water. Rapidly bring the water to a boil and remove the pot from the heat. Let the eggs stand for one to four minutes according to how soft you want them. Then run cold water on the eggs until they are cool. For hard boiled eggs, let the pot sit for about fifteen minutes before cooling the eggs. The green coating you sometime find on your hard boiled eggs is harmless; it just looks bad and is caused by overcooking the egg. Hard boiled eggs are easier to peel if they are not real fresh. By that I mean, boil the eggs you have had on hand for a couple of days instead of the ones fresh from the hen. Gently crack the shell all over, and put it under a stream of cool water while peeling. Works real good.

Scrambled eggs benefit greatly from having about a tablespoon of water per egg beaten in before you scramble them. The water turns to steam and makes the eggs fluffier and softer. Put your eggs, water and salt and pepper in a bowl and use a whisk to mix them up. Don't overdo the whisking. You can scramble your eggs in a non-stick pan with a little cooking spray if you are avoiding fats. Just keep the eggs moving with a wooden or plastic spoon. If you just let them lay there, they will scorch on the bottom. When they have reached the consistency you like put them in the serving plate.

Omelets are just scrambled eggs with stuffings. The stuffing can be nearly anything you can think of. The egg base is prepared just like scrambled eggs, but the cooking procedure is different. An omelet pan makes it easier, but a regular skillet or frying pan will do. The two-egg omelet is the standard size for one person. Two eggs, two tablespoons of water, salt and pepper. You want your pan medium hot for omelets. You can test for the proper heat by dropping a drop of water into the pan. The drop will sizzle and dance when the proper temperature is reached. Pour the eggs into the pan and work them from the edge to the center. Lift the edge and let the uncooked egg run under until it's all cooked. The topping or stuffing goes on top and the omelet is folded over and slid into a plate.

Poached eggs are just eggs cooked in water or stock. The whole egg is dropped in the liquid and then fished out with a sieve or slotted spoon when it's done. This has to be done carefully to keep the egg from becoming ragged.

Baked eggs are steamed in an oven in a ceramic container with a little cream and butter.

Quiche is scrambled eggs and other things baked in a pie shell.

Frittata is a quiche without the pie shell.


When we had a special occasion my mama would make stuffed eggs, although most folks refer to them as deviled eggs.

Mama would take a dozen hard boiled eggs and split them lengthwise. The yolks would go into a bowl where she added some mayonnaise, salad mustard and salt and pepper. The yolks would be mashed up real good and put back into the egg halves and served cold on a bed of lettuce.

Huevos Rancheros

(WAVE-ohs ran-CHAIR-ohs)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Oil
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Pace's Picante sauce
In a large skillet, cook each tortilla in hot oil about one or two minutes until it is hot but not crisp. Drain the tortillas and wrap in foil and keep them warm in oven while the rest is being prepared.

Fry each of the eggs in butter until they are the desired doneness. Season with salt and pepper. Place each egg on top of a tortilla and garnish with cheese, about two tablespoons of the picante sauce and two avocado slices. Serve hot.

Eat your eggs.

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