I would like to continue our discussion of Eggs in this Cooking Tip with a few more helpful tidbits. In last week’s Tip, I told you how to interpret the dates on the carton to determine how old your eggs are when you buy them. What if you have had them in the refrigerator for a while, how do you know if they are still fresh? Here is an easy test.
Freshness of eggs – Place the egg in a bowl of water. If it lays on its side at the bottom, it is still fresh. If it stands upright on the bottom, it should be eaten fairly soon. If it floats, it may be time to throw it away. According to the USDA, “an egg can float in water when its air cell has enlarged sufficiently to keep it buoyant. This means the egg is old, but it may be perfectly safe to use. Crack the egg into a bowl and examine it for an off-odor or unusual appearance before deciding to use or discard it. A spoiled egg will have an unpleasant odor when you break open the shell, either when raw or cooked.”
Egg Storage – When properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil. However, if you keep them too long, they are likely to dry up. Refrigerate eggs at 40°F or less. Store them in their original carton on an inside shelf and away from pungent foods. The temperature on an inside shelf remains more constant than one on the door, which is opened and closed frequently. The carton keeps the eggs from picking up odors or flavors from other foods and helps prevent moisture loss.
Raw eggs that have been removed from their shells should be refrigerated in a tightly covered container. Refrigerated whole egg yolks should be covered with water to prevent them from drying out; drain before using. The following chart shows how long hard-boiled eggs and raw eggs last when stored in the refrigerator.
EGG STORAGE CHART
PRODUCT REFRIGERATOR FREEZER
Raw eggs in shell 3-5 weeks Do not freeze
Raw egg whites 2-4 days 12 months
Raw egg yolks 2-4 days Yolks do not freeze well
Hard cooked eggs, in shell 1 week Do not freeze
Casseroles made with eggs 3-4 days After baking, 2-3 months
Quiche with any kind of filling 3-4 days After baking, 1-2 months
Egg sizes — Size tells you the minimum required net weight per dozen eggs. It does not refer to the dimensions of an egg or how big it looks. It is not the size of each individual egg but it is the total weight of the dozen eggs that determines the size noted on the carton.
Size of Egg Minimum net weight per dozen Weight per egg
Peewee 15 ozs 1¼ ozs
Small 18 ozs 1½ ozs
Medium 21 ozs 1¾ ozs
Large 24 ozs 2 ozs
Extra Large 27 ozs 2¼ ozs
Jumbo 30 ozs 2½ ozs
If you are wondering if you can substitute one egg size for another, the American Egg Board recommends the following.
Large Jumbo X-Large Medium Small
1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 3
3 2 3 3 4
4 3 4 5 5
5 4 4 6 7
6 5 5 7 8
Peeling eggs – I’m sure you all have had the problem of peeling a hard-boiled egg and taking off a large part of the egg with the shell. Is there a solution to this? Yes, but it involves using a technique that is very different than what you have heard before or what I was taught in culinary school. This topic arose in a class I just taught about hosting an Afternoon Tea party. I do not have an Instapot but many in the class did and raved about how easy it was to peel eggs cooked in this device. I believe this as it works similarly to the following method, which is what I use.
Serious Eats did a number of tests to determine the best way to cook eggs and be able to easily peel them without creating craters in your egg. The way most of us were taught is to put the eggs in cold water and then bring that water to a boil. What this does, in reality, is to cause the egg proteins to fuse to the inside of the shell, making it very difficult to peel. To prevent this, they suggest a different method.
They found carefully dropping the eggs into boiling water (or steam), lowering the water temperature then continuing to cook in barely simmering water is the best way. After removing, peel them under running cool water. While the eggs are still hot, the membrane and egg white are more easily separated. Here is a link to the actual recipe.
In this chef’s book, The Food Lab, he recommends adding some ice to help the water cool more quickly. If you have an Instapot, let me know if you agree if it is a wonder for boiled eggs. If not, give this technique a try and I think you will be pleased.
There is much more to this wonderful foodstuff we call Eggs. However, I suspect that you have had enough. So, I will finish this second Cooking Tip on Eggs. If there are other egg-related topics that you would like for me to discuss, just let me know!