Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15, 2011: The Incredible, Edible Egg

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Eggs – they do a body good.

Okay, maybe that’s the slogan for milk, but eggs are nutritious, too – not just for your insides but for your skin, too.

Let’s consider the parts of the egg and what they do. The white, or albumen part, is a watery substance. It breaks down and becomes watery when it encounters salt (that’s why you shouldn’t add salt to scrambled eggs until they are cooked). Egg whites add a light, fluffy texture when whipped and added to recipes. The older the egg, the thinner the albumen becomes – which makes it harder to perfectly fry it because it tends to lie flat and spread out thinly in the skillet.

The yolks are where the fat and a little less than half the overall protein is located – but it’s also where you’ll find the majority of vitamins and nutrients. Egg yolks are emulsifiers; if you want to bind together another protein, such as ground beef, the yolks are your tool (but skip the watery whites).

Egg yolks also contain lecithin, which is a stabilizer. That’s why mayonnaise, many salad dressings, and Hollandaise sauce all use raw eggs.

Did you know? The color of the yolks is determined by what the chicken eats. My chickens’ eggs are deep orange-yellow in color – the store bought variety looks very pale in comparison.

How can you tell if an egg is fresh or outdated? One way is to drop into a bowl of water. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom while an older egg will float in the water. This is due to the additional air inside the yolk which enters an older, more porous shell. Because a bigger air pocket makes a hard-boiled egg easier to peel, don’t use very fresh eggs for this cooking method.

Did you know? The color of the shell – usually brown or white – is dependent on the breed of the hen laying the egg. My hens produce brown eggs because they are Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock mixes. They're usually really good layers but they've slacked off this winter and I'm waiting for them to start the production cycle again right now.

How to tell if an egg is raw or cooked? Spin it on your counter top. A cooked egg will spin fast and a raw egg will wobble. By the way, if you don’t want your hardboiled eggs to have that unsightly greenish-gray tinge around the yolk, be sure you cool them down quickly after cooking by plunging into an ice bath.

And here’s the real beauty of an egg – it’s great as a facial treatment, and it’s cheap, too!

Egg White Mask

White of one egg

Whip the egg white until frothy. Add a tablespoon or so of honey and mix with a fork. Apply the mixture to your clean face. That’s it!

The egg white is largely water and protein and it pulls out toxins as it tightens. The honey also pulls toxins from your pores while moisturizing. After the mixture dries, rinse your skin with tepid water. It will feel soft and smooth.

You can also use a whipped egg yolk instead of the white.

Tip: If you have oily skin, skip the honey and apply the egg whites twice in a row.

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