July 25, 2018

Egg Secrets – My Favourite Tips & Tricks with Eggs

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

Hi, my name is Margaret Hudson, my family owns and operates Burnbrae Farms and has been farming since 1891. I am passionate about nutrition and health and of course eggs! I am excited to share some of my learnings from almost 30 years of working in our family’s egg business and a lifetime of being around our farm.  If you have enjoyed receiving this information and would like to receive more posts, please sign up in the link at the bottom of the page for our company newsletter.

Sure, you know how to scramble an egg. But do you know the best way to boil, peel and store eggs? How about sizing and determining freshness? Growing up in a farming family where eggs were the focal point, I have gathered so many great tips and tricks that I want to share with you. Here goes!

What’s the difference between brown and white eggs? Some people think brown eggs are healthier – perhaps because darker whole grain bread is more nutritious than white bread? But that’s not the case with eggs. Brown and white eggs have the exact same nutrient content. The difference between them is that white eggs are laid by hens with white feathers while brown eggs are laid by eggs with brown feathers. However, brown chickens are bigger, eat more feed and lay fewer eggs, so their eggs cost more. Nutritional differences are derived from the feed we give the hens, not the breed of the bird. Burnbrae Farms eggs that are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids provide enhanced health benefits, whether they are brown or white.

What’s the best way to store eggs? Keep your eggs in the carton they came in – it prevents cracking, keeps eggs safe and protects the egg shells from other odours in the refrigerator. Keep them in the main part of the fridge where the temperature is coldest, rather than on the fridge door.

What do egg sizes mean? Imagine a recipe calls for a large egg, but the dozen in your fridge say “medium” on the box. Can you use them? In Canada, all Grade A eggs are categorized by weight:

  • - Peewee - less than 42 grams

  • - Small - at least 42 grams

  • - Medium - at least 49 grams

  • - Large - at least 56 grams

  • - Extra Large - at least 63 grams

  • - Jumbo - 70 grams or more

So, a medium or large egg could be interchanged in a recipe, because a few grams won’t make a difference. But you couldn’t substitute a peewee for a jumbo, as the size difference is too big.

What’s the best way to crack an egg? Most people crack it on the side of a bowl, but you’re more likely to get shell fragments with that method. So try this: Crack it on a flat surface, such as your countertop. Use your thumbs to open the egg where it’s been cracked, and add the egg to your bowl.

What’s the best way to remove a shell from a bowl of cracked eggs? Use the most convenient tool you have – more eggshells! Use the broken leftover egg shell to scoop out the bit of shell in your egg. It attracts the shell fragment easily and without mess.

What’s the best way to hard boil an egg? I go for this method:

  1. 1. Start with eggs in the pot, then add water and cover by one inch

  2. 2. Bring water to a rolling boil

  3. 3. Remove from heat and let stand for 12 minutes

  4. 4. Drain and run cold water over eggs until cooled

Is there a foolproof way to peel hard boiled eggs? Interestingly, fresh eggs are the most difficult to peel. If you have more than one container of eggs in the fridge, hard boil the eggs that have been there the longest. Eggs that are more than 2 weeks old peel the best because air has had a chance to enter the pores in the shell and settle between the egg and the shell membrane making the eggs easier to peel when they are hard boiled. To peel, I begin by cracking the shell by tapping the egg on a hard surface. Then I roll the egg between my hands to loosen the shell. I start to peel from the larger end and find that dipping the egg in a bowl of cool water also helps remove the shell.

How long do hard boiled eggs stay fresh? You can refrigerate hard boiled eggs for up to one week. Mark the “boiled on” date on the eggshell with a pen or marker so you know how long it’s been in the fridge – you peel and toss the shell anyway!

How can I tell which of my eggs is the freshest? The best way to determine which of your eggs is the freshest is to look at the code date on the packaging. However, if you’re in a bind you can try this interesting test. Put the two eggs in question in a bowl of water. The freshest egg will sink while an egg that has had some time to absorb air into the shell will float.

I’ve mixed up my raw and hard boiled eggs – how can I tell them apart now? I love this hack: Spin the egg on your counter top. If it spins round and round evenly, it is hard-boiled. If it wobbles when it spins, it’s a raw egg.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful – and we’ve just scratched the surface! In a future blog, I’ll tell you my favourite secrets for cooking eggs. We’ll talk about poaching, scrambling, making quiche, and separating yolks from whites. Stay tuned!

Margaret Hudson

President, Burnbrae Farms