This post isn’t about cooking eggs, although you might want to have a look at this for dippy eggs and soldiers!
My daughter recently had home economics homework about eggs which got me thinking about how many misnomers there are about this food staple. So here’s a basic guide on how to store them, avoid wasting them, test if they are fresh and various other tips and info about the humble egg.
So one common misnomer – one repeated by Izzy’s home ec teacher – is that eggs need to be kept in the fridge. They don’t. In fact the door of the fridge, where the egg storage part is usually located, is the worst place for them as all the movement can cause them to start to break down inside the shell. You shouldn’t cook eggs straight from the fridge anyway, so they’d need to be taken out of the fridge an hour or so before use. Eggs should be stored away from strong odours so keeping them in a confined space with your stinky cheese is also a bad idea. As much as they don’t need to be in the fridge, avoid direct sunlight or any heat source too.
Peeling a hard boiled egg – pop the cooked egg into a cup or glass in an inch or so of water, cover with your hand and shake vigorously for about a minute. The shell will then just pinch off in one go.
When you are separating eggs, particularly where you need egg white for things like meringue when any yolk will mean they don’t whisk up properly, use three separate bowls. One for the yolks, one for the whites and one in which to break the eggs. That way if you have one bad egg, you don’t contaminate the rest of the ingredients and also, if you break the yolk by accident, you’ve only spoiled one white.
If you do break one, beat it and add a dash of cold water to use as egg wash. I very rarely use up a whole egg as egg wash, so unless you are having a mammoth baking session, freeze what you aren’t going to use in an ice cube tray. Eggs freeze really well although I’ve never tried freezing an uncooked, whole, yolk so don’t know what that would be like on defrosting.
Egg wash is far easier to spread over your pastry etc if you have added a dash of water.
To test if an egg is fresh, pop it in a glass of cold water. If it floats, it’s stale.
When baking fruit pies, once you have rolled out the pastry base, wash with egg white and return to the fridge for about 10 minutes before putting the fruit in for baking. The egg white creates a seal so that you don’t get a soggy bottom.