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Egg Safety





Buying


To ensure top quality, buy only grade “A” eggs that have been kept refrigerated and that have clean, oval, un-cracked shells. All regulated farms in the Province produce eggs without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

All eggs sold in grocery stores are grade “A” eggs. These eggs also have a firm white, a small air cell at the wide end and a centered yolk. In other words, grade “A” eggs are fresh, high-quality eggs!

When buying eggs, check the “Best Before” date on the carton. It indicates the length of time the eggs will maintain their grade “A” quality. If you want to eat them after that date, they are best used in thoroughly cooked dishes, i.e., baked, hard-cooked or scrambled rather than soft-poached or fried.



Chilling


Eggs are perishable. When shopping, pick up eggs last. Ask the cashier to pack them with frozen items to keep them cold longer. Get them home and into a refrigerator immediately.

Keep eggs as fresh as possible by storing them in the refrigerator in their original carton. The carton protects the eggs from absorbing flavors and odors of other foods nearby, especially from strong-smelling foods like onions, cheese or cabbage. Keep raw foods (meats, poultry and eggs) separate from cooked foods in the refrigerator.

Leftover raw egg whites and raw yolks should be put in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator immediately. To prevent yolks from drying up, cover them with a little cold water. Drain the water before using. Hard-cooked eggs should also be refrigerated.



Freezing


Raw eggs can be frozen. Lightly beat whole eggs just until blended. Pour them into a freezer container, seal tightly, label with the number of eggs and the date, and freeze. Substitute 3 tbsp (45 ml) thawed whole eggs for 1 large fresh egg. Eggs should not be frozen in the shell.

Egg whites can be frozen “as is.” Pour them into a freezer container, seal tightly, label with the number of egg whites and the date, and freeze. Substitute 2 tbsp (30 ml) thawed egg whites for 1 large egg white.

Egg yolks will thicken or gel when frozen and therefore cannot be used in a recipe unless they receive special treatment. To prevent this ‘gelation’, beat in either 1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) salt or 1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) sugar or corn syrup per 1/4 cup (50 ml) egg yolks (about 4 yolks). Label with the number of yolks, the date and whether you added salt (for main dishes) or sugar (for desserts or baking). Substitute 1 tbsp (15 ml) thawed yolks for 1 large fresh yolk.

Freeze eggs in small quantities and defrost only what you need. An easy way to freeze them is to put them in an ice cube tray. When frozen, transfer to a freezer container and label.

It is best to thaw eggs in the refrigerator and use them as soon as they are thawed. Use them only in dishes that will thoroughly cooked.



Storage Times


· Eggs should be stored in their original egg carton. The carton protects the eggs and prevents them from absorbing strong odours and flavours of other foods in the fridge through the thousands of tiny pores in the shell.

· Keeping eggs in their carton also means the Best Before date is visible.

· Eggs should not be stored on the refrigerator door, but in the main body of the refrigerator to ensure that they keep a consistent and cool temperature.

· Leftover raw egg whites and yolks should be put in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator immediately. To prevent yolks from drying out, cover them with a little cold water. Drain the water before using.

· When storing hard-cooked eggs, you may notice a “gassy” odour in your refrigerator. The odour is caused by hydrogen sulphide, which forms when eggs are cooked. It’s harmless and usually dissipates in a few hours.



Recommended Storage Times for Eggs


Fresh shell eggs by best before date

Leftover yolks or whites Within 2 to 4 days

Hard-Cooked eggs Within 1 week

Prepared egg dishes Within 3 to 4 days

Pickled eggs Within 1 month

Frozen whole eggs (blended) Within 4 months



Cooking


After removing eggs from the refrigerator, use them immediately. To prevent toughness, always use moderate heat and controlled cooking times for eggs.

Eggs are used in a wide variety of ways and are an essential part of cooking. They can bind ingredients, as in meatloaves or croquettes. They can also leaven baked high-rises such as soufflés and sponge cakes. Their thickening ability is seen in custards and sauces. They emulsify mayonnaise, salad dressings and hollandaise sauce and are frequently used to coat or glaze breads and cookies. They clarify soups and coffee. In boiled candies and frostings, they delay crystallization. As a finishing touch, they can be hard-cooked and used as a garnish.