Eggs should keep a consistent and low temperature. This is best achieved by placing their carton in the center of your fridge. The eggs should also remain in their original packaging to avoid the absorption of strong odors.
It is wise to follow the “best by” date to determine overall freshness, but eggs can be tested by simply dropping them into a bowl of water. Older eggs will float while fresh eggs will sink. This is due to the size of their air cells, which gradually increase over time.
Cooked eggs have a refrigerator shelf life of no more than four days, while hard-boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, are safe to consume up to one week after they’re prepared.
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The beauty of an egg is its versatility. Eggs can be cooked in a variety of ways. Here are some tips in accomplishing the four most common preparations.
Scrambled: Whip your eggs in a bowl. The consistency of your scrambled eggs is a personal preference, though it seems like the majority of breakfast connoisseurs enjoy a more runny and fluffy option. In this case, add about ¼ cup of milk for every four eggs. This will help to thin the mix. Feel free to also season with salt and pepper (or stir in cream cheese for added decadence). Grease a skillet with butter over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. As the eggs begin to cook, begin to pull and fold the eggs with a spatula until it forms curds. Do not stir constantly. Once the egg is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and serve.
Hard-boiled: Fill a pot that covers your eggs by about two inches. Remove the eggs and bring the water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, carefully drop in the eggs and leave them for 10-12 minutes. For easy peeling, give the eggs an immediate ice bath after the cooking time is completed. For soft-boiled eggs, follow the same process, but cut the cooking time in half.
Poached: Add a dash of vinegar to a pan filled with steadily simmering water. Crack eggs individually into a dish or small cup. With a spatula, create a gentle whirlpool in the pan. Slowly add the egg, whites first, into the water and allow to cook for three minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer to kitchen paper to drain the water.
Sunny Side Up/Over Easy/Medium/Hard: For each of these preparations, you are cracking an egg directly into a greased frying pan. For sunny side up, no flipping is involved. Simply allow the edges to fry until they’re golden brown. To achieve an over easy egg, flip a sunny side up egg and cook until a thin film appears over the yolk. The yolk should still be runny upon serving. An over medium egg is flipped, fried, and cooked longer until the yolk is still slightly runny. An over hard is cooked until the yolk is hard.
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Eggs can easily be frozen, but instructions vary based on the egg’s physical state. As a general rule, uncooked eggs in their shells should not be frozen. They must be cracked first and have their contents frozen.
Uncooked whole eggs: The eggs must be removed from their shells, blended, and poured into containers that can seal tightly.
Uncooked egg whites: The same process as whole eggs, but you can freeze whites in ice cube trays before transferring them to an airtight container. This speeds up the thawing process and can help with measuring.
Uncooked yolks: Egg yolks alone can turn extremely gelatinous if frozen. For use in savory dishes, add ⅛ teaspoon of salt per four egg yolks. Substitute the salt for sugar for use in sweet dishes and/or desserts.
Cooked eggs: Scrambled eggs are fine to freeze, but it is advised to not freeze cooked egg whites. They become too watery and rubbery if not mixed with the yolk.
Hard-boiled eggs: As mentioned above, it is best to not freeze hard-boiled eggs because cooked whites become watery and rubbery when frozen.
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Poaching an egg brings out its essence in the simplest and most sumptuous way. This contemporary pairing with creamy grits—an old southern favorite spreading in popularity across the country—doubles the luscious richness. We serve the dish here with a Creole sauce on top, but even if you skip that step, you’ve got a sublime but homey start for the day.
Game plan: Many people who like poached eggs believe only a professional chef can do them correctly. Not true.
It’s no big challenge to corral an egg in water, despite what the manufacturer of egg-poaching devices would like you to believe. All you need is a broad saucepan and a slotted spoon.
Start with fresh eggs. The thicker albumen of a fresh egg clings around the yolk. Older eggs develop what experts call “angel wings,” attractive on heavenly bodies but ragged-looking on the plate.
Cook in gently simmering water, not a hard boil.
The addition of a tablespoon or so of vinegar to the cooking water helps the egg white coagulate. Forget it if the subtle flavor contribution bothers you.
Break eggs into a cup or small ramekin and use it to ease the egg into the water. Don’t drop the egg in.
After 30 seconds the white will have coagulated softly, so gently but quickly nudge the bottom of each egg to loosen any white that has stuck to the pan.
The egg industry suggests you poach eggs in simmering water for up to 5 minutes for complete safety, but that’s way too long for us. We prefer, personally, to take a tiny risk to get perfect results.
Drain the eggs well before serving them. If working with a bunch of eggs, we spoon them onto sections of paper towel as we fish them out of the water, then gently transfer them to the finished dish.
Eggs can be poached in a variety of liquids—cream, wine, stock, tomato juice, sauces—but keep in mind they will take on some of the color as well as the flavor of whatever you use. You may like the slight tan of a meat broth better than the purplish tint bequeathed by red wine.
You can flavor the eggs, albeit subtly, by seasoning the poaching liquid. For example, we like using curry powder or paste in water or chicken stock. Keep in mind that you need a comparatively large amount of spice or other flavoring because of the short cooking time and the amount of liquid used.