Eggs are not only nutritional powerhouses, they are also a budget-friendly, versatile and quick cooking item to have in your kitchen arsenal. Experiment with egg cookery to make the most of this readily available protein.
All eggs we offer in our dairy case are cage-free, and we’re going beyond that with our Whole Foods Market Animal Welfare Standards for Laying Hens. All eggs used in our own kitchens and bakeries are cage-free, too!
- Most recipes are portioned for large eggs, so be sure to consider this if you are using extra-large or medium-sized eggs in a dish.
- Keep your eyes peeled for white, speckled, brown, blue and green eggs, but know the shell color simply points to a different breed of laying hen and has no impact on taste or nutrition.
- Nearly all eggs you see in stores are Grade A, which means the eggs have been evaluated for shell shape and consistency, internal quality and have no dirt or stains on the shell and no blemishes on the yolk.
- Organic eggs are from hens that receive only organic feed and live in a cage-free environment. Plus, they must meet all standards set by the USDA National Organic Program.
- Omega-3 or DHA eggs are from chickens that have been fed a diet supplemented by a source of omega-3 fatty acids (often flax seed).
- One large egg has only about 70 calories, 6 grams of high-quality protein and loads of vitamins and minerals including B12 and iron.
- If you are concerned about cholesterol in eggs, an egg a day may be part of a heart-healthy lifestyle as long as other sources of cholesterol and saturated fat are kept in check.
- Much of an egg’s nutrition is concentrated in the yolk, and the yolk also contains the egg’s fat and cholesterol. Consider adding additional egg whites to a dish to lighten things up.
- Eggs are some of the most versatile items in our kitchens and can appear in any and every meal of the day from main dishes to desserts to sauces.
- Eggs bind frittatas, add richness to noodles and custards and add height to cakes and popovers.
- Boiled eggs are cooked in the shell in boiling or simmering water.
- Boil older eggs first. The fresher the hard-boiled egg, the harder it is to peel.
- To make it easier to remove the shell from hard-boiled eggs, immerse in cold water as soon as the eggs are removed from the heat.
Poached eggs are cooked by breaking the egg into simmering water with a touch of vinegar added. The vinegar helps to keep the white around the yolk, making a perfectly poached egg possible.
Baked eggs can be cooked whole in a prepared baking dish (nestled among cheeses and vegetables like the Parmigiano Reggiano Baked Eggs with Swiss Chard, above) or scrambled and combined with extras as part of frittata or strata (see recipes below).
Fried eggs are prepared out of the shell in a shallow pan with a touch of added fat to prevent sticking. Fry the freshest eggs. They’re more likely to hold their shape in the frying pan.
Scrambled eggs must be cracked and whisked together to combine the egg white and yolk.
- Whisk eggs with a splash of water for light and fluffy results.
- Stirring constantly at a lower temperature will result in smaller curds and a creamier texture, while stirring less frequently allows the eggs to cook in larger curds and the resulting eggs will be firmer in texture.
- Omelets start as scrambled eggs but are carefully cooked in a flat plan then rolled or folded around a filling before serving.
- Soufflés consist of separated eggs and are lightened by folding whipped egg whites into the batter.
Shortcuts to Egg-y Bliss
- Crack eggs on a flat surface to avoid eggshell bits getting into the egg.
- When adding eggs to a recipe, crack eggs into a separate liquid measuring cup or bowl so there will be no need to fish eggshells from the sauce or batter.
- Try pasteurized eggs for recipes requiring lightly cooked eggs.
- Hard-boil enough eggs to keep on hand for quick snacks, easy lunchtime salads and sandwiches and impromptu hors d’oeuvres. When refrigerated, hard-boiled eggs in the shell keep for 6-7 days, while peeled hard-boiled eggs keep for 4-5 das.
Egg Substitutes and Alternatives
- Commercial egg replacers are potato starch-based and are great for binding baked goods.
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons warm water approximate the texture and binding effect of an egg in vegan cooking and baking.
- Bananas, applesauce and tofu can also act as egg substitutes in baked goods and casseroles.