Monday, April 27, 2009

A Bit on Eggs

It feels like a nice time to think on eggs. I don't know if it's the spring weather or just what, but if seems like the time of year to start cooking with lots of eggs. With picnics and barbecues coming, we always need to be ready to fire some deviled eggs. Brunches and light lunches definitely call for quiches and frittatas. Or how about light dinners of salad and souffle? I've got my own special event coming up in a couple of weeks, I will tell you all about it when the time comes, and I wanted to do a little investigating on the subject. I found some interesting information and I've shared it below.

While we're on the topic of eggs, I want to share a little story. I was at Fred Meyer this morning shopping around and while I was in the health food section picking up some eggs and creme, a little old lady came up to me. "Do you know where the organic eggs are?", she said asked quietly, her wrinkly eyes looking at me very directly. I happily helped her, I love helping the elderly folks. I just get tickled doing my best to help them get their needs. I feel honorable in that moment. Or something. Anyway, I pointed her to the eggs and told her which ones said they were organic to which she quickly remarked, "Oh nowadays, just because they say something doesn't mean bullshit." I agreed. I wasn't sure if she was referring to the whole organic business of technicalities and wording and what is really what, or if she was just referring to the general shadiness of the times nowadays. Anyway, I scrambled to find her a dozen of the best eggs I could find. She smiled and we wished each other a good day. Eggs and old folks. Aren't they the best?

Grade AA is best for frying and poaching, but A is okay, too. Because the whites are more firm, grade AA or A eggs will have better shapes when you break them out. They won’t spread out as much in the pan when you fry them. There won’t be as much white that breaks off from the egg and forms "angel wings" in the water when you poach them. Grade B eggs would spread out a lot if they were fried and a lot of the white would float off into the water if they were poached.

Grade A is better for hard-cooking. Because the smallest air cells are in grade AA eggs, the membranes just inside the shells are very tight up against the shells. This makes it harder to peel off the shells without taking some of the whites along with the shells. Because the thinnest whites are in grade B eggs, the yolks sometimes move around inside the eggs. This can cause the yolks to be off center. Off-center yolks can make pretty funny looking hard-cooked egg slices or deviled eggs. Grade A shells will usually be easier to peel than grade AA and grade A yolks are more likely to be centered than grade B.

Any grade can be used for scrambled eggs, omelets, quiches and baked goods or any other recipe in which the shape of the egg isn’t important. Once you beat them up, all the different grades of eggs will work the same in a recipe. It doesn’t matter if their whites are thick or thin or their yolks are tall or flat. Grade B eggs don’t look as pretty as grade AA or A, but they have the same good nutrition. You won’t usually find grade B eggs in the stores. Some are used by bakeries or restaurants, but most are made into egg products.

No matter what grade, eggs need to be kept in the refrigerator whenever you’re not cooking or eating them. Refrigerating eggs keeps their quality high for a longer time. If you leave eggs out at room temperature, their quality will go down faster. When the quality goes down, the eggs’ air cells grow, their whites thin and their yolks flatten. Scientists say that a day a room temperature will cause an egg’s quality to go down as much as a whole week in the refrigerator.


missmallory said...

I adore eggs! I just happened upon over 2 dozen organic farm fresh eggs from a guy in the county. Some are super tiny, some are really large, a few are white, many are green, some are a very light brown. All of them are so delicious and far better than anything I'm used to buying at the store!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I agree, eggs are a marvelous thing when fresh AND prepared correctly. Awesome post.

chrisfic said...

Great post! I love eggs and we have owned chickens a few times over the years. I wish we lived out of town so I could be a chicken farmer again. We had chickens in town once but I think our neighbors didn't like smelling them.
Anyway, we noticed differences in our fresh eggs compared with eggs from the store. Now I know why.