Wednesday, April 28, 2010


An egg yolk surrounded by the egg whiteImage via Wikipedia

From the Hobbit:
Riddle: A box without hinges, key, or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid.

Answer: An egg.

Most of us who have chosen to live our lives under the banner of "Paleo" consume eggs. And why not? Eggs have been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird eggs (including chicken and turkey eggs) consist of a protective eggshell, albumen (egg white), and vitellus (egg yolk), contained within various thin membranes. Every part of an egg is edible,although the eggshell is generally discarded. Roe and caviar are edible eggs produced by fish, but this post is about eggs from birds.

The largest concern over eggs is how to tell if they are fresh or not.

Assuming the eggs have been bought when they were very fresh, they will last 30-40 days in a refrigerator. The best way to tell if an egg is still fresh, meaning edible, is to crack it open. Very fresh eggs tend to have a loose, light yolk and a clear white. The thick, whitish strings that attach the yolk to the white, called the chalazae, will be very prominent in a fresh egg. As the egg ages, the chalazae will slacken, the yolk gets darker and tougher, and the white becomes dingy. Even then, these eggs are still safe to use. A rotten egg, however, is immediately recognizable, as the smell is powerfully offensive.

To test an egg without cracking it, place it in a glass of water. The natural air pocket at the end of an egg expands as the egg ages. Therefore a fresh egg will sink while an older one will float.

The second concern I hear most is about peeling a hard-boiled (HB) egg.

There are at least a dozen tricks to HB eggs, from poking a hole at the small end of the egg to better promote an air pocket to make slipping the shell off easier, to adding white vinegar to the water to better keep the egg white. None of these tricks are very useful, since the only thing you really need to know about HB eggs is the following: You shouldn't really boil them.

For tender HB eggs, without rubbery white and green-tinged yolks (which are bother caused by overexposure to heat), cover the eggs with cold water in a saucepan and set on the stove. If you want the yolks centered for such dishes like Deviled Eggs, stir gently while the water comes to a simmer. Simmer the eggs for 10 minutes, then remove them from the stove, draining off the hot water and covering the eggs with cold water. The cold water will lower the temperature of the eggs while the hot pan will raise the temperate of the water, bringing them both closer to a bit warmer than room temperature. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel them and be amazed as how easily the shell slips off of them, that is, if they have not been overcooked.

Also, be aware that older eggs will give up its shell more easily, due to the natural air pocket that forms as they age.

Since my wife and I have gone Paleo/Primal, there have been some recipes that call for just an egg yolk or just the white. So what to do with the other portions? The easiest is to just add the leftover egg portion to scrambled eggs, but sometimes you are not in the mood for scrambled eggs at that moment.

Leftover egg white and yolks will stay fresh in the refrigerator, covered, for about a week. However, they will stay fresh for up to 6 months in the freezer.

For egg whites, freeze them in ice cube trays, then put them into sealed plastic bags or another airtight container.

Egg yolks can be frozen the same way as egg whites, frozen in ice cube trays and placed in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag.

If you are freezing a large amount of egg whites at once, it is better to use the ice cube tray method. For large quantities of egg yolks, you will want to use airtight containers and freeze them in 1 cup quantities. For added stability to the egg yolks when frozen this way, add one teaspoon of salt for every cup of egg yolks (if they are to be used for savory food items) or 1 teaspoon of sugar (if they are to be used for sweet foods). They will last for 6 months without getting gummy or hard to mix if to freeze them this way.

You will want to thaw them in either the refrigerator or at room temperature. Do not refreeze eggs as they will lose their texture and their flavor. Also, do not attempt to freeze eggs in their shell, as an egg will expand when it is frozen and cause the shell to crack and break.

How to tell which type of egg to purchase, whether it be free range, organic, ect? Mark from MarksDailyApple has an excellent post on the subject: Egg Purchasing Guide | Mark's Daily Apple:
"As Primal Blueprinters are fastidious about what we eat, we should also pay attention to what our food eats. Chickens raised in stressful environments – eating corn, soy, and antibiotics (a decidedly unPrimal diet for a chicken), and relegated to a tiny cage that would result in atrophy were it not for the steroids – do not produce high quality eggs. Your best bet is to research the egg producers. Free range and cage free are good starts, but it’s not the end of it. Find out if their birds are actually free range, and not just given access to a patch of dirt. If the hens are out their pecking away in a pasture, digging for grubs and worms and eating wild grasses, they’re going to produce eggs that are much more inline with how nature intends it."

As well as post about how research is showing that we should eat eggs, the whole egg, as part of a healthy diet:

Eggs Are Healthy | Mark's Daily Apple:
"If you’re reading at home and thinking “well that’s all well and good, but I haven’t had a whole egg in years,” consider this: The researchers note that between the groups, there was no discernible difference between total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride levels. In addition, a registered dietitian and chef drafted to comment on the study noted that “nearly half an egg’s protein, and many of the other nutrients, are found in the yolk, so make sure to eat the whole egg for maximum benefits.” And this speaks nothing of all that golden fat goodness in the yolk."
Smart Fuel: Eggs | Mark's Daily Apple:
"Still need convincing? A 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that eggs keep hunger at bay longer than bagels (or “dietary disasters” as they should be renamed!). In addition, eggs’ high sulfur content and wide variety of vitamins and minerals can promote healthy hair – and may even speed up growth rate in those with such deficiencies – as well as help nails grow.

And now to address the bad press. In recent years, eggs have come under considerable fire for their high cholesterol content, with many suggesting that they could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a 1999 Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined no such link and even went as far to say that regular egg consumption may actually prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attack."

Enough about cooking eggs, lets see their nutritional facts (all from


Protein quality is dependent on having all the essential amino acids in the proper proportions. If one or more amino acid is not present in sufficient amounts, the protein in your diet is considered incomplete.

Each spoke on the Protein Quality graph represents one of the nine essential amino acids, and the graph shows how close the protein in your diet is to the optimal distribution of amino acids recommended by the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board.

An Amino Acid Score of 100 or higher indicates a complete or high-quality protein. If the Amino Acid Score is less than 100, a link is provided to complementary sources of protein. By combining complementary proteins, you may be able to increase the overall quality of the protein you consume.


This symbol offers a visual representation of a food's nutritional strengths and weaknesses, with each spoke representing a different nutrient. The spoke for dietary fiber is colored green, protein is blue, vitamins are purple, minerals are white, and yellow represents a group of commonly overconsumed nutrients: saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

A Completeness Score between 0 and 100 is a relative indication of how complete the food is with respect to these nutrients. Although few (if any) individual foods provide all the essential nutrients, the Nutrient Balance Indicator and Completeness Score can help you construct meals that are nutritionally balanced and complete.


The closer a food is to the top edge of the map, the more likely it is to fill you up with fewer calories. If you want to restrict your caloric intake without feeling hungry, choose foods from the top half of the map.

Foods that are close to the bottom edge are more calorie-dense. If you want to increase your calorie intake without getting too full, choose foods from the bottom half of the map.

Nutrition Data awards foods 0 to 5 stars in each of three categories, based on their nutrient density (ND Rating) and their satiating effect (Fullness Factor™). Foods that are both nutritious and filling are considered better choices for weight loss. Foods that are nutritious without being filling are considered better choices for healthy weight gain. Foods that have more essential nutrients per calorie are considered better choices for optimum health.

Nutrition Data also indicates whether a food is particularly high or low in various nutrients, according to the dietary recommendations of the FDA.

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Damian said...

God damn. This is one of the best post I've seen in a lot of time. Good job on this. Speechless, thankfully I can write :). I really love coming across such quality blogs. I also have one that deals with protein supplements. It's meant to unravel the best protein supplement for each specific individual and it is written as a Protein Supplement Guide. Check it out and again congrats on doing a great blog.

gharkness said...

Hey, I love eggs and totally support eating them by the bunches, I do NOT believe that one large egg has only 16 calories. I think you may have picked up the wrong nutrition data chart? Otherwise, great job!

Verdilak said...

Yeah, now that you mention it, it does seem to be rather short on the calories... should be nearer to 50 or so. But, then again, the amount is only 33grams, so maybe? I'll have to research this more.

And thank you both for your words of encouragement.

Chef Runner said...

Since there's also no fat or B-vitamins in that "egg," I'm going to guess that's it's actually an egg white. Here's the whole egg:

Verdilak said...

@Chef Runner Thank you very much! I was using just the egg white, which is not what I was wanting.

@gharkness It is all fixed now.

Chef Runner said...

Oh, so much happier, those nutrition stats are! That's why the yolk is called the "sunny side" :)

You're very welcome.

Verdilak said...

@Chef Runner Can you believe that its against my state's food health laws to serve eggs sunny-side-up anymore? It is crazy to ask for them and the waitress tells you that it is too dangerous. Why ever eat out? And what next, no more raw to medium-raw meat? Its lunacy out there.

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