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Aug 03, 2021 | Samuel Albert
Are you one of those people who pre-plan your meals ahead of time so you don't end up in a tight corner just before a meal? Boiling eggs ahead of time can be your rescuer.
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Think of different egg recipes - poached, fried, boiled, scrambled, bull's eye, omelet, baked, or pickled. They can be the dish of the day or can merge well in the background. They can glaze, thicken, leaven, bind, and are great for the final garnish. Eggs are a relatively easy-to-make, delicious superfood. They are called poor man's protein due to their affordability. They are everyone's favorite, and their versatile nature completely blows me away. Scroll down with me to find out more on the topic and the do's and don'ts of egg handling in detail.
One, two, three - there you go! Pop in a warm, hard-boiled egg with a sprinkle of pepper and salt into your mouth, and it will vanish in seconds. Eggs, hard-boiled and warm, are a perfect breakfast accompaniment or simply a snack. However, people in the U.S. prefer to boil them in bulk and store them away for later use.
Pasteurization - In the U.S., all the eggs are pasteurized/sterilized. They are washed clean with a hot soapy solution and sprayed with a disinfectant to make them contaminant-free from a bacteria called Salmonella. Then they are refrigerated before they come to the market.
This process helps kill the bacteria, but the cuticle (bloom) or the egg's protective layer is removed. As a result, the egg is now susceptible to any bacteria that contact it after sterilization. In addition, the bacteria will now be able to gain easy entry into the egg contaminating it.
Refrigeration reduces the risk of any bacteria multiplying and thus keeps the egg safe.
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Now, what happens if the refrigerated eggs are taken off refrigeration? The eggs will form a layer of moisture on the top of its shell (condensation), through which the bacteria can easily penetrate the eggshell. So, keeping the eggs constantly under refrigeration is advisable.
Eggs Under Electron Microscope - We all know that the eggshells are fragile though they seem to have tough exteriors. Under an electron microscope, they look like a loosely woven structure. The shells have numerous pores in them and are semipermeable, meaning they can transfer air and moisture.
Cooking of Hard-Boiled Eggs -
This method works the best for me all the time. First and foremost, bring the eggs to room temperature. Next, after placing the eggs, fill the pot with cold water for about an inch or two above the eggs. Now, transfer the pot onto the stove and heat it over medium heat, gradually bringing it to a boil. Let the eggs sit in the pot for 10-12 minutes or till they are hard-boiled.
The length of the time may vary depending upon the room environment, size of the pot, size of the eggs, and the type of eggs. Try and experiment to get the texture of the yolk you are looking for and find the one that suits you the best.
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Preparation for Storage - Now that our eggs are perfectly hard-boiled, the next thing is to store them. Cool them down completely by adding them to an ice bath or by running cold water on them to stop the cooking process. Then, take them out and wipe them clean with a dry clean towel. Store them away in an airtight sealed container inside the fridge. Never leave them on the counter. Also, try to avoid storing them in the refrigerator door as the temperature tends to wax and wane every time you open it.
Peeled or Unpeeled – The boiled eggs stay good for a week, peeled or unpeeled, under refrigeration. Take extra care to store the peeled eggs by storing them in with a damp paper towel so that they don't dry out. Never keep them out of the refrigerator unless you want to eat them immediately. The eggs should go into the fridge within two hours of boiling them for more extended storage.
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Ah, I hate that feeling when the doubt arises! But make sure you crack it open before you can come to any conclusion. The grayish-green color is not an indication of a rotten egg, as explained above.
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Putrid smell - is the first giveaway sign of an egg gone bad. You can throw those eggs right away if you even detect a whiff of malodor.
Color – You know exactly how a fresh egg looks. You will always know it right away when something is amiss. Trust that intuition of yours. It deserves to be tossed out if both color and smell have gone awry.
Texture – The chalky, slimy texture indicates that bacteria has grown on the insides of your hard-boiled egg. Go ahead and discard them right away.
To play it safe, consume the boiled eggs stored in the refrigerator before seven days, or sooner the better.
Eggs harbor a bacteria called Salmonella, mostly externally but sometimes internally as well. If you eat a rotten egg, it will cause food poisoning due to the presence of Salmonella in it.
The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Very often, antibiotics are not needed. However, people may require hospitalization in severe cases.
Older people, young children, and immune-compromised individuals, both organ transplanted and HIV-positive, are most susceptible to these bacteria.
Washing hands after handling raw eggs.
Keeping eggs under refrigeration.
Watch out for the expiry date and discard eggs past the expiry date.
Using thoroughly cooked eggs.
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Have you ever tried preserving your eggs?
There are myriad ways of storing the eggs, freezing them - raw, boiled, yolk and whites separated; dehydrated; making them into pasta; baking cakes and cookies; fermenting them; there are just too many out there.
When people raised their own poultry in the olden days, the chicken laid way-too-many eggs during the spring than in winter. They didn't know what to do with those extra eggs. Come winter, it is time for celebration, and lots and lots of eggs are needed to make those wonderful baked goodies. But the egg production takes a dip, as the hens are taking their holiday break. So, people tried many ways of preserving the eggs during the spring when their production is bountiful to fill up the deficit.
Frozen – Both frozen, boiled eggs and raw eggs (with yolk and egg white separated) keep well for many months. However, once thawed, they are not great for regular dishes, nor can the whites make stiff peaks or remain stiff. But you can incorporate them in your baking perfectly well.
In addition, you can use them in baked goodies that require loads and loads of eggs and deep freeze them. Try and lookup for baked recipes that are savory rather than sweet to keep your calories down. Using them to make your homemade pasta is an excellent choice.
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The salt kills the bacteria responsible for spoiling the eggs but allows the lactic acid bacteria to thrive. Lactic acid microbes are the ones that are present in the yogurt.
The fermented eggs should be refrigerated after keeping them for three days at room temperature. It slows down the culturing process in the cold environment. Consuming them within two weeks is the safe bet.
Yolks preserved in salt, or a mix of sugar and salt are deliciously stunning. They are relatively easy to make at home and are great for toppings. Just use your imagination.
Century eggs, thousand-year eggs, millennium eggs, eggs stored in salt, wood ash, wheat bran, salt, slack lime water, and many others are among the oldest traditions of preserving eggs with little to great success.
Coating eggs completely with mineral oil, butter, lard, isinglass, water glass, beeswax, or Vaseline are also fantastic ways of storing eggs that the older generation practiced.
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Pickled eggs are a whole new dimension of eating eggs. Of course, preserving eggs and pickling eggs are two different things. However, pickled eggs are a great instant snack to have around. I am sure you will fall in love with the taste once you try them.
Here's how the pickling process goes. First, bottles or mason jars are sterilized, eggs hard-boiled to perfection, cooled, and peeled. Now, prepare a brine of your choice with half vinegar and half water. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar and a teaspoon of salt or only salt if you make them savory. Next, warm up the solution so that the salt and sugar dissolve into the solution.
Add a spice combo of your choice, like dill seeds, coriander, mustard, bay leaf, pepper, etc., to the bottom of the jar. Next, fill the bottle with eggs so that there is enough room for them to move around. Then, pour in the warm liquid. You can also layer the pickle jar with vegetables like onions, garlic, cucumbers, and jalapeno. Just be creative with what you want to put in the jar and choose the spices and veggies that suit your palate.
Go ahead and close the lid, and once cooled, refrigerate them. Allow the juice to soak into the eggs. It takes about 1-2 weeks for the pickling liquid to steep in smaller eggs and three weeks or longer for the larger ones. Thus, pickled eggs should last anywhere from 3-4 months in the refrigerator.
Remember to write the date of preparation on the jar. Finish off the contents of the jar well before the suggested time frame.
The most popular game in the Eastertide game is the egg hunt. While children spend their Easter holidays hunting the eggs, adults have a fun time preparing and decorating them. However, I am beginning to realize that this simple dish is not just part of Easter but is tucked more deeply into our everyday lives.
Going deeper into the egg cuisine world is like getting lost in a maze. So next time you eat that humble egg recipe, remember it can also adorn many a platter.
Have an egg-cellent day!
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