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Eggs

Egg Tips

Buy Clean Eggs: At the store, choose Grade A or AA eggs with clean, whole (not cracked) shells. Make sure the eggs have been refrigerated in the store. Any bacteria present in an egg can multiply quickly at room temperature.

Refrigerate Eggs: Take eggs straight home and store them immediately in the refrigerator. Store eggs in the carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator (not the door). Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the fridge. Don't wash eggs.

Use Eggs Promptly: Use raw shell eggs within 3 to 5 weeks (check date on carton). Hard-cooked eggs will keep refrigerated one week. Use leftover yolks and whites within 4 days. If eggs crack on the way home from the store, break them into a clean container, cover tightly and keep refrigerated for use within 2 days.

Freeze Eggs for Longer Storage: Eggs should not be frozen in their shells. To freeze whole eggs, beat yolks and whites together. Eggs whites can be frozen by themselves. Use frozen eggs within one year. If eggs freeze accidentally in their shell, keep them frozen until needed. Defrost them in the refrigerator. Discard any with cracked shells. Unopened carton of egg substitutes can be kept frozen for one year.

Handle Eggs Safely: Wash hands, utensils, equipment and work areas with warm, soapy water before and after contact with eggs and egg-rich foods. Don't keep eggs, including Easter eggs, out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. Serve cooked eggs and egg-rich foods immediately after cooking, or place leftovers in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerate at once. Use within 3 to 4 days.

Cook Eggs: Hard cooked eggs should be safe for everyone to eat. Those with compromised immune systems, the elderly, children and pregnant women should avoid eating soft-cooked or 'runny' eggs. To tell if an egg is raw or hard-cooked, spin it; if the egg spins easily, it is hard-cooked, but if it wobbles, it's raw.

Use Safe Egg Recipes: Egg mixtures are safe if they reach 160°F. Homemade ice cream and eggnog, for example, can be made safely from a cooked base. Heat the egg-milk mixture gently. Use a thermometer or be sure the mixture coats a metal spoon. Dry meringue shells, divinity candy, 7-minute frosting (made by combining hot sugar syrup and egg whites) are safe. Meringue topped pies should be safe if baked at 350°F for about 15 minutes. Chiffon pies and fruit whips made with raw, beaten eggs whites cannot be guaranteed safe. Substitute whipped cream or whipped topping. To make key lime pie safely, heat the lime (or lemon) juice with the raw egg yolks in a pan on the stove, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Then, combine it with the sweetened condensed milk and put into the baked pie crust. For meringue topping, bake as above. For egg dishes such as quiche and casseroles, insert a knife in the center. It should come out clean.

Don't Eat Raw Eggs: This includes 'health-food' milk shakes made with raw eggs, Caesar salad dressing, Hollandaise sauce and any other foods like homemade mayonnaise, ice cream or eggnog made from recipes in which raw egg ingredients are not cooked.

Using Raw Eggs: To make a recipe safe that specifies using eggs that aren't cooked, heat the shelled eggs in a liquid from the recipe over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Then combine it with the other ingredients and complete the recipe. To determine doneness in egg dishes such as quiche and casseroles, the center of the mixture should reach 160°F when measured with a food thermometer. Use pasteurized eggs or egg products when preparing recipes that call for using eggs raw or undercooked.

The above Egg Tips are from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Food Safety and the US Dept of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Egg Cooking Recommendations Using an Electric Frying Pan

SCRAMBLING: With an electric fry pan set at 250°F, after one minute the temperature of the scrambled eggs should be 160°F.
POACHING: Cook at least 5 minutes in boiling water.
SUNNYSIDE EGGS: With an electric fry pan set at 250°F, fry for at least 7 minutes to ensure heat reaches top of egg yolk.
SUNNYSIDE EGGS COVERED: With an electric fry pan set at 250°F, cook for at least 4 minutes.
FRIED EGGS LIGHTLY OVER: With an electric fry pan set at 250°F, cook at least 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other.
BOILED EGGS IN SHELL: Cook in boiling water for at least 7 minutes.

Keep Eggs from Sticking: Eggs and other high-protein foods tend to stick more than others to metal surfaces, so here are some tips to help. The pan must be perfectly clean. Add enough oil to more than coat the pan. Pan and oil should be pretty hot before adding egg. At the right tempterature, the oil keeps the egg elevated off the metal surface; the result of a bit of trial-and-error. Egg should be at room temp. Break egg in bowl and gently lower into hot oil. You should hear a sizzle (right temp) but not a popping sound (too hot).

For greater ease of use, and when adding less oil or fat is more desirable, we generally recommend non-stick pans, or well-seasoned steel and iron pans, for cooking high-protein foods like eggs.

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