Eggs have had some tough years. Experts have warned us repeatedly of their high cholesterol content, but the American Heart Association’s guidelines are changing. The health benefits of eggs are gaining an upper hand, healthy adults can now enjoy an egg per day.
While we may not be gobbling up the egg – that perfect, pristine, primal object — as profusely as we used to, it is still memorable. My father grew up in Europe where soft-boiled eggs are consumed differently. Watching him carefully crush the top of an egg with the blade of his knife came first. Then, he removed the top allowing him to add salt and pepper. Holding the egg in one hand, he now inserted his knife, scraped the egg’s inside, and broke its yolk. Then he, stirred and drank its content! Because of my dad, we have always had egg cups at our house, along with tiny egg spoons.
Farm fresh eggs are best. Their large yolks, shockingly orange, sit high above their comparatively small whites. But did you know that eggs are candled for freshness? I watched the employees at our Red & White store do that in the when I was a kid. They were checking the condition of the air cell and whites. I can only guess they were buying eggs from local farmers. Poulterers still do this and yet I am amazed at the number of shoppers who peek inside a carton. I supposed they are checking for broken eggs. All store eggs have been washed, packaged, and kept cool. One can have peace of mind knowing that eggs are handled and labeled safely. Codes on egg cartons identify their source and age. Eggs have a long shelf life. Perhaps, more importantly, one should compare pricing – I have found that jumbo eggs are generally cheaper per oz.
Beyond a keto dieter’s dream, eggs are incredibly high in vitamins. An egg delivers half or more of our daily vitamin B12, 15% of vitamins D, E, B9, folate and riboflavin, and 10 % of our vitamin A plus several minerals, including selenium, lutein, and zeaxanthin. (B vitamins slow the progression of mental decline in the elderly by synthesizing brain chemicals and regulating sugar levels.) Drinking raw eggs every day will offer B-vitamins vital for cell regeneration. Selenium helps protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. Two eggs contain 56% of one’s recommended daily need.
While some warn that daily consumption may make one’s hair, skin, and nails look considerably better, others claim that eggs can also cause biotin deficiency resulting in hair loss, decreased immune response, developmental problems in children, issues with seeing and hearing, and dry, scaly skin. Which are we to believe? Raw eggs whites contain something called avidin, an antimicrobial protein that binds to biotin, which prevents absorption by the body. This is called egg white injury syndrome, and it can cause everything from thinning hair to depression to eczematic rashes, according to Science Direct. However, one would have to consume raw eggs for long periods of time. I suppose we must abide by the age-old adage – Moderation in everything and everything in moderation.
Cholesterol is found in eggs and has become a kind of all-encompassing villain for heart disease. There are, in fact, two different kinds: High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), the good kind, and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), the bad kind. Omega-3 fatty acids in eggs are important in promoting high levels of HDL cholesterol. Obese men consuming a high protein diet of three eggs a day were noted for an overall increase in HDL cholesterol without increasing LDL significantly.
All cookbooks issue dire warnings about handling eggs, make certain they are certified, carefully inspected, every sanitary precaution taken, and keep raw eggs refrigerated. We are warned to wash our hands, utensils, and kitchen work surfaces to avoid Salmonella, a germ that can cause very inconvenient intestinal tract issues for four to seven days. Some warnings appear to go on forever. It is a wonder we even want to eat eggs.
Salmonella happens in 1 in 10,000 eggs or 1 in every 833 dozen. One would have to consume 2 raw eggs a day for more than 15 years in order to risk contamination. According to the American Egg Board, however, it is only 1 in 20,000 — meaning one could drink 5 raw eggs a day for over 10 years before happening upon just one. So, if one freaks out about eating a raw egg, might I ask how often does one think nothing of snitching raw cookie dough? Raw eggs are actually quite safe, as whites of eggs do not readily support bacterial growth. So, what happens when one drinks raw eggs every day? Well, one will get a lot of protein and vitamins. Bodybuilders and others looking to pack on lean muscle routinely drink raw eggs every day, mostly because they are so high in protein.
One might have noticed that the yolk of an egg cooks much more slowly than the white because the major proteins in the yolks coagulate at a temperature seven degrees higher than the whites. Technically, the white is protecting the yolk. The perfect soft-boiled egg is defined as having it a firm white with a liquid gold center. Here are a couple of tried and true recipes for making them.
My Soft-boiled Eggs
Crack eggs into a bowl
Add a tsp of unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Microwaves on hi for 45 seconds.
I have learned this yields the perfect consistency that I like.
Add more seconds if one likes them firmer.
Regular Soft-boiled Eggs
Place eggs in 1 inch of boiling water.
Cover and cook for 6 minutes!
The steam trapped will cook the egg more quickly and evenly.
For fully hard-boiled.
Cover and cook for 9 minutes at 190ºF