Cooking with Fresh Eggs
With backyard hens booming in popularity and farm fresh eggs increasingly available – and with evidence suggesting such eggs are healthier and more nutritious – more and more cooks are using truly fresh eggs.
For the most part, cooking with fresh eggs is no different than cooking with much less fresh store bought eggs.
However, there are minor differences cooks should be aware of.
How to Boil Eggs
Store bought eggs aren’t usually difficult to peel once they are boiled. This is because older eggs have more air between the egg and the shell. Fresher eggs, however, can have very little air between the shell and the egg, making peeling almost impossible.
The good news is there’s a simple fix. Before boiling fresh eggs, just prick the larger end of the egg with a clean pin. A tiny hole is all that’s needed.
Then boil, allow to cool, and peel as usual.
How to Fry Eggs
Older eggs, when fried, have a rounder or puffier look. Again, this is due to added amounts of air in the egg. Fresher eggs look more flat when fried.
Happily, however, truly fresh eggs – especially if from free ranging hens – are far tastier.
How to Separate Eggs
The fresher the egg, the easier it is to separate the yolk from the white.
How to Bake Eggs
Many people believe fresher eggs don’t let baked goods rise as easily. They theorize older eggs have weaker proteins which are, essentially, more stretchy.
However, in practice the difference between baking with fresh eggs and older eggs is very slight; in fact, most people won’t even notice a difference.
Store bought eggs are sold in standard sizes. Fresh eggs, however, come in many different sizes. Size variances can occur because a hen is young, or has recently molted (renewed her feathers), or because she is simply of a breed that produces smaller eggs. In the case of eggs, size does not affect taste or safety.
However, size can ruin a recipe. For example, if a cake calls for 4 “extra large” eggs and you use 4 small eggs, the cake won’t be as light and fluffy. Therefore, it’s smart to save smaller eggs for such things as fried or scrambled eggs.
When using fresh eggs for baking, or for recipes where the quantity of egg is vital, choose only fresh eggs that are very close in size compared to store bought eggs.