Hacks For Eggs
Have a dozen eggs you need to use? Here are a dozen kitchen hacks to take care of, cook, and extend the life of your eggs. There are even ideas for the left over shells, whites and yolks!
1. Check For Freshness
By law, an egg can be sold for up to 30 days after the date it was put in the carton. And farmers have up to 30 days to go from when the egg is laid to the carton. That means those supermarket eggs can be two months old by the time you buy them. The dates stamped on the carton only tell you when eggs are at peak freshness. They’re fine to eat for longer than that.
A true test uses a simple glass of water. Fill a pint glass or mixing bowl halfway with room temperature water and place an egg in it. If the egg stays horizontal at the bottom, it’s very fresh. If it starts to bob and tilt, it’s around 10 days old. If it floats vertically, it’s stale.
Why is this? Eggs have porous shells. So over time, the water inside the egg starts to evaporate. And to maintain equilibrium it takes in air and smells. This isn’t all negative though. Tilting eggs are actually great for making hard boiled eggs because the extra air pocket makes them easier to peel.
See my Tip Friday Keeping Eggs for more ideas.
2. Center Your Yolk For Deviled Eggs
It can be frustrating to make a batch of deviled eggs and not know where the yolk will settle when you boil the eggs. When they rest on their sides during cooking, the yolks follow gravity and the whites are pushed aside. This leaves thinner areas of white. After peeling and cutting the eggs in half you can end up with broken sides of the whites that aren’t strong enough to hold the filling.
This has a very simple solution. Just stir the eggs around in the pot a few times during cooking. A slow centrifugal force will keep the yolk from leaning one way or the other.
Here is a favorite of mine, Oprah Winfrey’s Deviled Eggs
3. Get Rid Of The Dreaded Green Ring
When you make hard boiled eggs you’ll sometimes see a greenish grey ring around the yolk. It is still safe to eat. And it doesn’t change the taste, but is unappealing. The ring appears in over cooked eggs when the sulfur in the egg white reacts with the iron from the yolk. It also smells a little strong because of the sulfur.
One way to avoid the ring is to “shock” the eggs by placing them in a large bowl of ice cold water immediately after boiling. This will stop the cooking process right away.
Another way is to reduce the intense direct heat of boiling by using a gentler cooking method. Steaming or pressure cooking the eggs are good alternatives. Make sure the eggs are completely shocked and cooled before storing in the refrigerator. They are safe to use for up to a week.
Steaming also makes coop to table eggs peel easier. I cover using fresh eggs in this Tip Friday Peel Hard Boiled Eggs Hands Free and More.
4. Use Baking Items To Control Your Eggs
Preparing brunch has never been easier. You can make a lot of eggs in the oven all at once with the help of a muffin tin.
For hard boiled eggs, place one egg into each cup and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then plunge them into an ice bath until cooled.
You can also use a muffin tin to make batches of baked eggs, frittatas, bread puddings, poached eggs and quiches. Most of these can then be frozen if you’re looking for a quick, microwave friendly breakfast for busy week day mornings. My Florentine Quiche with Spinach is a great one to try.
Muffin Tins are also great for making perfectly shaped cookies as you can see in Tip Friday A Baker’s Tale.
5. Shape Your Eggs To Suit The Occasion
Want to make your Eggs perfectly round? How about Heart Shaped? Even shaped like bunnies and snow men? The idea is endless. Simply crack your egg into a greased cookie cutter and fry to the hardness you prefer!
6. Make Peeling Easier
Want to make the task of peeling eggs a little easier? I like to peel hard cooked eggs under a steady stream of cold water or submerged in a bowl of cold water.
Similarly, you can also put an egg in a plastic container or jar with a little water, close, and shake! The shell will slough off and then you can just pluck the shelled egg out and give it a quick rinse.
For more tips on peeling eggs see this article Tip Friday Peel Hard Boiled Eggs Hands Free And More
7. Eggshell Oops?
It happens to everyone. When cracking eggs, a little bit of the shell falls into the bowl. Don’t waste time chasing it around with a finger or a spoon. The fastest and easiest way to fish it out is with the broken half of the eggshell that you’re already holding.
Another way is to simply wet your finger and grab it (the water will attract the shell like a magnet).
For large volumes of eggs, I’ve found the egg shells stick to the bottom of the bowl after simply transferring the eggs to another container. A caveat of using your finger is the oil in your skin will prevent the eggs from fluffing as high as they can.
If you’re really struggling, strain the beaten eggs through a fine mesh sieve to make sure there won’t be any crunch when you take a bite.
See this Tip Friday on Separating Eggs
8. What To Do With Leftover Whites
Don’t let unused egg whites go to waste. There is a lot of ways you can put the whites to use. Whip up egg white omelets, angel food cake, marshmallows, macarons, or any fluffy cake. Even some mixed drinks use the whites.
If you don’t plan on using the leftover whites right away, you can freeze them individually in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer them to a plastic zipper bag. When you want to use them again, just bring them to room temperature.
9. What To Do With Leftover Yolks
One of the most classic ways to use egg yolks is in mayonnaise. They can also enrich ice cream and hollandaise sauce. See my Hollandaise Sauce Recipe.
It’s easy to cure them, too. Salt cured eggs are amazing when shaved over pasta. And dropping a few yolks in soy sauce for two days yields a fudgy, salty condiment for rice bowls.
Egg yolks don’t freeze the same way as whites, so it takes an extra step to store them if not using right away. Per four egg yolks, add either ⅛ tsp. of Kosher salt or 1 1/2 tsp. sugar, honey, or corn syrup, depending on whether you’ll use them in a savory or sweet dish. Beat well before storing in the freezer.
10. A Perfect Circle
Use a circular cookie cutter to cook an egg to fit exactly on an English muffin or bun. You can try all sorts of cookie cutters, but it’s best to stick to general shapes because elaborate detail will get blurred. Don’t have a cookie cutter? Try using a donut or muffin ring. Even better? Slice an onion or a bell pepper ring and place it in the pan. Crack the egg into the middle and cook.
11. Ready To Cook, In The Shell
Sous vide cooking (meaning “under vacuum”) used to be a secret of fine dining establishments. Now, sous vide circulators are available for home cooks. This French technique is used to cook foods perfectly in a temperature controlled water bath. Typically, meats or vegetables are vacuum sealed before submerging, but eggs don’t require a bag. They’re already in sealed shells.
Cheesecake can also be cooked in a water bath called a Bain-Marie. This prevents it from cracking. You can see more here in Tip Friday 6 Tips to a Perfect Cheesecake Experience.
Both egg whites and yolks coagulate at temperatures below the boiling point, but they cook at different rates. Cook large batches of sous vide eggs at 147 degrees F yields soft eggs that are perfect to crack over soups, especially ramen. At 148.1 degrees F, the white will be runny and falls away easily but the yolk can be breaded and deep fried.
12. What About The Shells? What is next?
The shells also have lots to share. Store them in cold water to draw out the nutrients and then use the fortified liquid to water your plants.
Crush up egg shells and scatter them around your garden to prevent slugs and other pests from bothering your garden. Egg cartons can also serve as packing material or fire starters for your grill.
Knowing these tips will prevent unnecessary waste and also make life easier! If you know any other tips please leave them in the comments.
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This post is part of the Tip Friday Series. You can read about it at Tips That Help in the Kitchen.