How to cook eggs

"If you learn how to cook eggs then you will always have a meal in the cupboard", my Mum used to say. And with so many different ways to cook eggs she was right, of course.

Whether you cook...

...the humble egg could be called Nature's own fast food. After all, it comes ready wrapped!

Add to this the fact it is essential for many other recipes such as cakes, pancakesquiches and soufflés then you begin to see the versatility of the egg.

Buying eggs

Before we start discussing how to cook eggs, it might be good to learn a little about buying and storing them first.

I am lucky enough to have a farm nearby that has free range chickens. Ruth goes out every morning to collect the eggs, and after quick phone call to say I am on my way, I can buy them just about as fresh as they come.

If you live in a town you may not be able to do this and will have to rely on the supermarket or grocery store. So how can you tell if an egg is fresh?

Start by checking the sell by date. This will be printed somewhere on the carton and maybe even on the egg shells themselves. Look for the eggs that have the longest shelf life as they will be the freshest.

When you get home you can check their freshness by placing an egg in a bowl of water.

  • The freshest eggs will sink to the bottom and lie on their sides. 
  • If your egg stands on end, then it isn't as fresh. (By the way these standing up eggs are great for hard boiling, as they are easier to peel.) 
  • Lastly, if the egg floats to the top then it should not be used!

Storing eggs

  • cold eggs may crack when you put them into boiling water, 
  • they may prevent the whites from whisking up as stiffly 
  • and the yolks might curdle if you are making a cake

The main thing to keep in mind when it comes to storing eggs is that their shells are porous. Keeping them near strong smelling foods may end up in odd smelling eggs!

If you use your eggs quickly, then storing them at room temperature is fine. Store them pointed end down, so that the yolk which will float to the top has plenty of room, without touching the inside of the shell. (If it is in contact with the shell it will go stale more quickly.)

If you take a little longer to get through your eggs, then keep them in the fridge. But remember to take them out and bring them to room temperature before using them. If you forget, and need them in a hurry, running them under warm water can help to take the chill off.

Egg nutrition

What is an egg? Well, its original use was as a food package for young chicks. This means is it a powerhouse of nutrients for us as well.

An egg is a good source of protein, and it contains many essential minerals including calcium and iron. Eggs also provide vitamins A, B, D and E.

So, shouldn't we learn how to cook eggs and then eat lots of them? Well, they do have a few drawbacks. One of these is cholesterol. This is found in the egg yolk and just one yolk can account for almost all our recommended daily cholesterol intake! Therefore it is advisable not to eat them every day.

There is also a risk of salmonella for vulnerable groups of people, when eating raw or lightly cooked eggs. These include...

  • pregnant women
  • babies and young children
  • the elderly

If you are not in the above groups it should be totally safe to consume eggs, and foods such as mayonnaise or royal icing in which they are used raw.

3 hard boiled eggs on a platePerfect hard boiled eggs


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