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PIPS TIPS – Common Mistakes! – Some things you might not know!
Before you fry, poach, scramble or bake with eggs, be sure you're not making one of these common mistakes. While cooking eggs isn't difficult, there are some basic things to keep in mind so you don't ruin them and they taste eggcellent.
Not Using Fresh Eggs
Fresh really does matter when it comes to cooking eggs. Not only do fresh eggs just taste "fresher", it’s especially important to use fresh eggs for hard-boiling, frying poaching.
There's a big difference between a "fresh" eggs that's less than 2 or 3 weeks old - and an egg that's over a 6 weeks old. Still perfectly good to eat, an old egg just isn't as good.Bottom of Form
Boiling Old Eggs
If you boil old eggs into which air has had time to seep into through the shell, you’ll end up with a dip in one end which definitely doesn’t make pretty hard-boiled eggs, but if you are mashing them who care….they are super easy to peel when the are older.
But if you’re having trouble peeling fresh eggs, you’re not alone. As an egg ages, moisture escapes and air enters through the pores in the eggshell. This pushes the membrane away from the shell making peeling easier.
Fresh eggs will peel perfectly if you steam them over simmering water for 12 minutes, then put them into a bowl of ice water until they’re cool enough to handle. You can find this in my other tips on the blog on the website.
Frying Old Eggs
Since egg whites thin out as an egg ages, an old egg fried will run away all around the pan. The membrane holding the egg yolk together also thins as eggs age, so you’re more likely to break the yolk of your fried egg as well. You can see the picture below that the white is all thin and runny, not sitting up tall and proud.
Another tip: if you want crispy browned edges on your fried eggs, use oil in the pan, if you want a richer, creamier texture to your egg whites, use butter.
Poaching Old Eggs
Poached eggs won’t hold together nicely when they’re made with old eggs since the whites are thinner and runnier and less likely to form nicely around the yolk as they're cooking. It’s a waste of time trying to poach and eggs that is older than 21 days. Some times when the ladies get older, towards the end of their production, this can happen as well….still, since our chickens have pretty good lives….this doesn’t tend to happen to often, thank goodness!
Using the Wrong Pan
Eggs will turn out much better if the correct type or size of pan is used. For example, scrambling eggs in an enameled pan, nonstick, teflon-free frying pan (or cast-iron skillet using lots of oil or butter) ensures that they won’t stick.
For omelettes or crepes, a fairly lightweight, shallow skillet with sloped sides is optimal.
A pot deep enough and large enough that the eggs don’t touch the bottom, have plenty of room and aren’t crowded is important when you’re poaching eggs.
Hard-boiled eggs need enough room in the steamer that they can sit in a single layer without touching so they don’t break.
Not Whisking Scrambled Eggs
Eggs should always be whisked well in a bowl until the yolks and whites are completely combined then poured into the hot pan.
Eggs cook so quickly as soon as the heat touches them, and failure to properly whisk your eggs will result in weird clumps of white stuff (resembling clear snot) throughout which are hardly appetizing and doesn’t look to flash either!
Don’t over mix these babies either or they can go rubbery. I always chuck a blob of butter into the pan in the last 30 seconds of cooking…. Tastes better!
Salting Eggs Too Early
And never salt your eggs until they’re done cooking. The salt will draw moisture out of your eggs, causing them to separate in the pan and get watery. So salt your eggs after plating them, that’s when I put my pepper on too!
Cooking Eggs Too Quickly
As mentioned above, eggs cook unbelievably fast, and dry, overcooked eggs are really unappealing. So always cook your eggs slowly over low heat, moving scrambled eggs around with a wooden spoon or spatula as they cook to break up the large clods.
Fried eggs should also be cooked slowly, remembering that the whites cook faster than the yolk, so if you prefer a less runny yolk, try basting the yolk with the cooking oil or butter, or covering the pan.
When the eggs are just barely set and still wet looking, remove the pan from the heat. Plate them immediately to slow the cooking, although they will continue to set up a bit even once they're plated.
Cracking Eggs on the Edge of the Bowl or Counter
This is a really good tip and something I didn’t learn until I become wise at about 42…..Eggs should always be cracked on a flat surface like a cutting board or counter top. This prevents eggshell shards or even bacteria from possibly being pushed into the egg….who would have thought right?
Never crack an egg on the sharp edge of the counter or the rim of a bowl. Always use a flat surface.
Baking with Cold Eggs
Cold eggs should never be added to cake and muffin mixes. Eggs should be allowed to come to room temperature before being added to cake or cookie batter or mayonnaise because cold eggs can cause the fats in the other ingredients to seize up and either curdle or become lumpy.
Cold egg whites are also more gelatinous and won’t mix into the other ingredients as well.
Separating Cold Eggs
However, eggs will separate more easily when they're cold, so if you need to separate the yolks from the whites for a recipe, take your eggs out of the refrigerator, separate them and then let them warm to room temperature.
Usually about 30 minutes out on the counter is adequate to take the chill out of refrigerated eggs or they can be set in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes.
Beating Cold Egg Whites
Cold egg whites also won’t beat as easily into nice peaks. So let your egg whites warm up before trying to beat them. This is really important around xmas for those pavlovas….also pays to use older eggs for beating!
Not Cleaning Utensils before Beating Egg Whites
Speaking of beating egg whites, if there’s even a speck of grease or oil on the bowl, beater and other utensils being used to beat egg whites, that can cause them to fail to whip.
To be sure they're sparkling clean, run half a lemon over the surface of the bowl and beater, or wet a paper towel with white vinegar and wipe off your utensils before adding your egg whites to remove any last trace of grease.
Eating Just the Whites
Egg white omelettes became a fad among dieters years ago since they are a great source of protein. Most of the fat and cholesterol is contained in the yolk, but so are the majority of the nutrients.
By only eating the whites, you’re missing out on nutrients like calcium, choline, folate, iron, lutein, omega 3s and zinc and Vitamins A,B, D, E and K contained in an egg yolk. You’re also missing out on the great, rich taste of that yolk.
Tossing out Extra Yolks or Whites
Oftentimes a recipe will call for using either just the egg white or just the yolk and too many times the rest of the egg gets thrown away.
But both whites and yolks can be frozen for later use.
And some great uses for egg whites are egg wash on pie crust, meringues, macarons, souffles, foam on a whiskey sour or in angel food cake, while the yolks make delicious mayonnaise, tartar sauce, Caesar salad dressing or Hollandaise sauce.