12 Things You Need to Know About Eggs Before Easter
No matter what your feelings are about eggs, make no yolk about it...they are an amazing little food!
We were visiting some friends over the weekend and my friend’s husband is an enthusiastic foodie like I am. He was spending the afternoon cooking up this amazing Hawaiian fish called Opakapaka. It is known as the “Hawaiian red snapper” because its skin is pink. It was delicious and unlike any fish I had ever tasted before. It was during our chat over lunch that he and my friend asked me if I had ever tasted duck’s eggs.
I love learning new things about food, and I was fascinated when he took out the egg carton and handed me the package of duck eggs. First, what surprised me about these eggs was that they were much heavier than the same quantity of chicken eggs we are all used to carrying at the store.
He said that they taste pretty similar to the eggs we are used to, but they actually have twice the nutritional value of chicken’s eggs! They also stay fresher for longer because they have a thicker shell.
Get this - duck eggs have more Omega-3, which means better brain health and healthy skin. And, even more interesting is that duck eggs are an alkaline food, which means that they help keep your body inhospitable to cancerous cells.
I found all of this really interesting and I did a bit of research after our chat...it seems that those folks who are allergic to chicken eggs are able to eat duck eggs without allergic reactions!
All of this is great, yet I’d be ducking the truth if I didn’t mention that duck eggs also have twice the cholesterol and twice the calories as chicken eggs. They have a larger yolk than chicken eggs which makes for great scrambled eggs.
We will “egg-plore” how to cook eggs in the next section. For creamy scrambled eggs, you’ll want to have twice as many yolks as whites for that buttery consistency that you would normally need to add cream or milk to get.
Eggs have long been a symbol of birth and the new cycle of life that we associate with Spring. It’s no wonder that eggs are a big part of the celebrations of Easter and Passover. Both holidays welcome the Spring and the rebirth of the plants and the return of life after a long dormant period.
How much do you really know about eggs? Are they just for weekend brunch and for hiding on Easter?
I thought I would help provide some contegg-xt so that you’ll know egg-xactly what you can egg-spect with eggs! (ok, listen....I just can’t help myself...I’m a word nerd and it just feels plain wrong to leave these corny yolks uncracked! Let’s move on, shall we?…)
How to Store Your Eggs
- Most eggs will stay fresh for 1-2 weeks or longer or up until the due date on the side of the package. Since eggs will absorb odors in the refrigerator, do store them in their original container and not in the little egg-shaped compartment in the door of the refrigerator.
- If you are ever unsure about whether your eggs are fresh, here’s a little trick you can try. Put the egg in a deep container of cold water. If the egg floats to the top, the egg is not fresh and you shouldn’t use it.
- Here is a fun tip you may not have known about storing egg whites or egg yolks. You can save egg whites in the fridge (covered) for 1 week and to freeze them you can put them in a plastic ice cube tray and keep them there for up to 12 months! You can use them for meringue or angel food cake! But don't give it to your pup.
- If you have extra egg yolks that you want to save, you can mix them with a bit of sugar or salt so that they don’t coagulate. You can keep them in the fridge for 1 week, and you can freeze (just) the yolks.
- You can store hard-boiled eggs for 1 week yet please do not freeze whole hard boiled eggs because the whites will become rubbery.
Cooking, Coloring and Crafting your Eggs
- Before you cook your eggs, you should take them out and bring them to room temperature. If you are pressed for time, you can run them under hot water for 20 seconds or put them a bowl of water for 10 minutes. The reason you want to get your eggs up to room temperature is because the whites and the yolks will combine easier when you whisk them if they aren’t cold.
In the case of baking, recipes call for room temperature eggs because they will dissolve more evenly into the batter and you will get a lighter texture in your baked goods.
- Do you know where the tradition of decorating Easter eggs comes from? Traditionally, during the 40 days before Easter, known as Lent, eating eggs was forbidden. So when it was time for Easter, to dress up the gift of eggs people would decorate them.
- When decorating your eggs for Easter, do you have a favorite method? Maybe it was part of your childhood to get the packets of Easter egg dyes from the grocery store with those little wire egg basket to hold the egg while you dip it in the vinegar? Or, maybe you have embraced the idea of using more natural means to dye your eggs.
- Did you know that you can use markers or watercolors to paint a scene right onto your eggs? First dip them in vinegar and soak them for 2 minutes so the colors will stay. Use the markers that aren’t washable and get crafting! You can also use a plastic bag and scribble on the bag and then drip a bit of water on the colors and they turn into paint. Rub the bag around the egg and you will get pretty eggs!
- Another cool way to get a marbled pattern on to your eggs is to use Cool Whip and food coloring! Here’s a video of the process; it’s super easy: http://dlsh.it/gkhG6cj
- In short, you get a baking pan with sides or deep foil pan you can get at the dollar store and then add your Cool Whip. Add some food color all around the topping and then swirl it up with a toothpick.
- Soak your eggs in white vinegar for 2 minutes and then roll those babies around in the Cool Whip. Try not to roll around too much because you’ll get your colors all runny. Leave the eggs in the pan for 10-15 minutes (but no more than 30 minutes) because you’ll want the colors to soak in. Then, rinse the eggs off in water and if you want to get them shiny, rub a bit of vegetable oil on there!
- Finally, you can also use the stuff that you probably already have in your pantry or fridge to get amazing color results, naturally! Then, you won’t feel weird about eating the eggs after the festivities! Save me some egg salad!
- My favorite natural dye is for this amazing sky blue color. And to get it you use red cabbage! I know, weird, right? There’s something scientific that happens when the purple-y red cabbage mixes with the vinegar and you get this gorgeous blue.
Here’s how you get your eggs that amazing color, thanks to Peter’s Food Adventures!
1 cup of coarsely chopped red cabbage per every 1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of strained dye
1 dozen white eggs
Vegetable oil for shining the eggs
Coarsely cut 5 cups red cabbage leaves and put into pot. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Let simmer on low for approx. 25-30 minutes. You will see the liquid turn a purple colour.
Strain the cabbage from the water. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of dye and stir throughout. Allow the dye to cool before you use it.Place the blue cabbage dye into a wide mouth glass jar.
Carefully lower the eggs into the jars using a tablespoon. For lighter blue eggs, soak the eggs for 4-6 hours, and remove when you are happy with the color.
For deeper blue eggs, soak the eggs overnight in the refrigerator. Place the eggs on a cooling rack until completely dry. If you like shiny eggs, add a few drops of vegetable oil, and wipe carefully using a cloth.
Friends, here’s the formula, use 3 cups of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt with any of the ingredients below. Bear in mind that natural dyes take a bit longer and may need to soak in the bath for 4-6 hours, and preferably overnight.
For orange, use 1 cup of chopped white onions with their skins
For pink, use 2 shredded raw beet.
For purple use 1 cup of grape juice.
For green use 1 cup of chopped parsley or spinach.
For yellow, use 6 TB of turmeric.
Make sure you let the liquid cool before taking out your eggs. If you want to shine up the color, you can polish them with a bit of vegetable oil on a paper towel.
Eggs on Passover
There are 6 foods on the ceremonial Passover Seder plate and they all have different symbolism. The hard-boiled egg is one of these foods. Many families dip hard-boiled eggs in salt water, to commemorate the tears and sweat of their ancestors’ enslavement in Egypt. And a hard-boiled egg, usually roasted, is placed on the Seder plate—its roundness suggesting the cycle of life, rebirth, and renewal. Its burnt, sometimes cracked shell is also a reminder of ancient sacrificial offerings.
Whichever way you choose to store, decorate and eat your eggs, what you’ll want to know is that when you eat eggs in the morning, you’ll feel full and energetic for about 3 hours! This was based upon a study done by Cooking Light. Incidentally, participants in the study who ate black beans also felt full and energetic for 3 hours as well! I guess the folks who eat eggs with black beans felt nice and satisfied all morning!
Have a wonderful Easter and Passover, friends!