Go to work on an egg

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By Robert Harland

What’s Cooking?

Monday, March 17, 2014


I LOOK forward to breakfast at weekends. On Saturdays and Sundays it’s two tasty boiled eggs accompanied by toasted bread – the best from Honey Grace’s bakery if I'm in Bacolod or French Sour Dough from the French Baker if I’m in Manila.

But eggs are not just for breakfast. They are the ultimate convenience food and they're hugely versatile with endless recipes for some great tasting dishes.

And they are packed with a number of nutrients. One egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals in varying amounts, high-quality protein, unsaturated fats and antioxidants, all for 70 calories.

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But delight can turn to disgust when the eggs are bad. Eggs can be the source of some superb meals, but they can also be the source of food poisoning if they are eaten when they've gone bad. Having had a bout of food poisoning recently, I am very wary these days.

Eggs in Negros tend to be a bit bland and the hens loaded with all kinds of chemicals and antibiotics. Eggs here also tend to have thin shells as I understand the hens have little calcium intake.

I'm always delighted therefore whenever I find someone selling free range brown eggs. This is not a problem in Manila as most supermarkets carry a vast range of different eggs.

So far so good, but one Sunday a while ago I almost threw up after a spoonful of what was obviously a bad egg.

This prompted me to do some research and I now have a note on my kitchen wall to check all eggs. I tested the remaining eggs from the market and all showed to be at least three weeks old, so I guess the lady who sold them to me has lost a customer.

Fresh or bad? Do the water test. Place the egg into a bowl of cold water. The water level should be about 2 times higher than the egg.

Observe what the egg does:

*Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom of the bowl and probably lie on their sides.

*Slightly older eggs (about one week) will lie on the bottom but bob slightly.

*If the egg balances on its smallest tip, with the large tip reaching for the top, it’s probably close to three weeks old.

*Eggs that float at the surface are bad and should not be consumed.

When cracking an egg open, look carefully to see if there is any mold or something unusual.

How fresh are your eggs? Blood spots (also referred to as “meat” spots) don’t signify a bad or fertilized egg. It’s caused by a ruptured blood vessel during the formation of the egg. Since blood spots are diluted as the egg ages, their presence actually means you have a fresh egg. You can eat it safely, or remove the blood spot with the tip of a knife, if it makes you feel better.

Stringy, rope-like strands of egg white are chalazae which are present in every egg to keep the yolk centered. They’re not a sign that the egg is bad or fertilized and they can be consumed safely or removed.

An egg white that is cloudy or has a yellow or greenish cast to it is caused by carbon dioxide not having enough time to escape from the shell and is especially common in fresh eggs.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 17, 2014.

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