( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Eggs have a very high food value. When served raw or properly cooked, they are especially good for the delicate and for children. When overcooked, however, they become tough and are not easily digested.
Composition of Eggs: Shell 11%. White 57%. Yolk 32%. The edible parts : water 73.7% ; protein 4.8% ; fat 10.5% ; ash 1%. Calories per pound, 720. Yolk, 1680 Calories. White, 265 Calories. The yolk contains phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesia, potassium. In the albumin there is sulphur, which gives bad eggs their distinctive odor. Egg white is 86% water, 12.3% albumin, and the remainder mineral. The yolk is 49.5% water, 16% protein, and about 33.3% fat. The remainder is made up of various minerals.
What food element is lacking? Compare the composition of eggs and milk. What foods do we serve with eggs? What is the food element in sugar? Is sugar used with eggs? When meat is served, which is the more appropriate dessert—a custard or pudding of milk and eggs, or fresh fruit? Why do eggs tarnish silver?
The Structure of the Egg. To break a, fresh egg hold it with the small end down, and strike it a sharp blow with the blade of a knife. Turn it out of shell into a saucer and inspect carefully. Note the position of the yolk and the white, and the round spot in the yolk. This spot is the germ. When the egg is kept warm this germ begins to grow, • forming the little chicken.
In warm weather growth begins almost as soon as the egg is laid. Eggs can be kept only a short time, unless some very cool place is used for storage. Note, also, the lining of the shell. Observe the color of the white and the yolk, and the texture. In fresh eggs the white is firm and thick; in old eggs, somewhat watery. The color of the egg yolk depends on the breed of the hen which laid the egg and upon the food it ate. Hens on a varied diet, with an abundance of green food, lay eggs with darker yolks than those on dry food. A diet which is rich in milk gives a pale yolk.
Tests for Freshness. (1) The shell should be thick and rough if the egg is perfectly fresh. (2) Hold the egg between your eye and a very strong light in a dark room. (This test is known as "candling.") If the egg is clear it is fresh ; if cloudy, it is old. If it shows a dark spot, it is in the process of incubation. The figure shows four eggs of different conditions as revealed by examination through a candler. (3) Drop the egg in cold water. A fresh egg will sink, an egg a little older shows a tendency to rise, and an old egg will float.
PRESERVATION OF EGGS
EXPERIMENT I. Boil an egg in a cochineal solution. What does the color denote? Egg shells are porous and must therefore be kept in clean places.
Factors That Influence Keeping Qualities. Since egg shells are porous, bacteria enter through the shell and the egg spoils. For the same reason the liquid evaporates and the egg becomes light. The following general instructions are therefore of importance, the first applying only to those who keep chickens:
1. Hens should be fed a clean mixed diet not too rich in protein. Keep the eggs clean by supplying clean nests for the hens, and collect the eggs every day.
2. If you buy eggs, choose clean ones with rough shells and of even color and size. If you cannot get clean eggs, wash and wipe them before putting them away.
3. Pack or wrap the eggs to exclude the air, laying small end down. (Why?) To exclude the air from eggs that are to be kept for a month or less, rub them, after they have been cleaned, with a cloth dipped in vaseline. Eggs may also be kept in a solution of lime water, but the flavor will be impaired. If eggs are to be kept for only a few days they may be wrapped in clean paper.
4. Whatever means is used for excluding the air, eggs should be stored in a cool dry place which is free from any strong odors.
PRESERVING EGGS IN WATER GLASS
Where eggs are to be kept for some time a solution of potassium silicate or sodium silicate known as water glass is the most satisfactory preservative. Only unfiertilized eggs can be preserved in this manner; for in the fertile eggs the embryo or germ develops until the oxygen of the air in the shell is exhausted, then dies and decomposes. Eggs so preserved are apt to crack when cooked in the shell. The price of water glass varies, but it can be obtained from the wholesale drug dealers cheaper than at the retail shops.
Make a ten per cent solution of water glass and boiled water. Cool before using. Use freshly gathered eggs and do not wash them before packing, unless necessary. A few may be put in the preserving fluid every day, as gathered.
EXPERIMENT II. Fill a small saucepan half full of boiling water, place a small portion of egg-white in it, and boil for two minutes.
EXPERIMENT III. Into a like saucepan of boiling water put an equal quantity of egg-white. Let it stand for five minutes.
Note the condition of the eggs in each experiment.
Albumin begins to coagulate (harden) at 160° F. From 160° to 180° F. seems to be the best temperature for cooking eggs. Test the temperature of the water used.
Soft Cooked Eggs
2 1/2 qts. boiling water 1/2 c. cold water
6 eggs 2 tsp. melted butter salt to taste
(Allow an additional cup of water for each egg added)
Test the eggs for freshness. If the eggs are very cold, they should be covered with warm water for five minutes before cooking. Place the eggs in a deep saucepan. Add the cold water to the boiling water and pour it over the eggs. Cover closely and let stand for five minutes. Take out the eggs, wipe and break. Hold the egg low horizontally over the cup or a slice of toast and strike across the center sharply with the blade of a knife, being careful not to drop bits of shell into the egg. Pull it open gently and let the contents slide into the cup or on to the toast. Add salt and butter, and serve immediately. Soft eggs are very unpalatable when cold.
To heat the cup, fill with hot water when the egg is put in water to cook.
Water Toast. Put a cup of boiling water into a small saucepan. Place it over the fire and add one-half teaspoonful of salt. Take a slice of toast on a fork and dip it into the water, removing immediately. Place it on a hot plate. Open the egg on it and add butter and salt. Serve at once.
Poached Egg (Class Recipe, I. Egg for Each Pupil)
Breaking Eggs. Strike the egg sharply with the blade of a knife. Hold egg near the dish, pull the shell apart, and let the contents slip out. Only fresh eggs can be poached successfully. Put a small buttered muffin ring into a saucepan that has been buttered, and cover with boiling water to which has been added one-fourth teaspoonful of salt to each cup of water. Break an egg into a saucer and slip it into the ring. (With skill the egg can be broken directly into the ring.) Cover the saucepan and put it in a warm place. If placed on a gas range, turn off the gas and leave it on a warm burner. The water must be deep enough to cover the egg. Let stand until the yolk is covered with a white film and the white is firm—from five to seven minutes will be required. Lift the egg and ring with a perforated skimmer, drain, and slip on to a round of buttered toast, and remove ring, or serve in a warm cup. Sprinkle with salt, pour melted butter over it, and serve. If pepper is used put it on the yolk only. Note the consistency of the yolk; compare with the white.
Egg Poached in Cups. Put a cup into a deep saucepan and cover with water prepared as directed above. Drop an egg gently into the cup, cover the saucepan, and let stand for five minutes or until the egg is jelly-like. Lift the cup and turn the egg gently on to a skimmer. Drain, and serve on toast or in the cup.
Separating Whites from Yolks. Break the egg over a bowl, turn the small end down, and pull the shell apart, slipping the yolk from one half of the shell to the other once or twice, so that the white will drop into the bowl. If any of the yolk is mixed with the white, the white will not beat well on account of the fat present.
Beating, Stirring, and Cutting and Folding Eggs. Three different methods of preparation of eggs are used for various recipes : beating, stirring, and cutting and folding.
Beating. Eggs are beaten to incorporate air. The yolks are beaten in a bowl, with a spoon or fork, or a dover egg beater. The whites are beaten on a flat dish or a platter, and are lifted so as to beat in as much air as possible. Use a whisk egg beater. Eggs are beaten stiff when, if cut by a knife, the cut does not close, and are beaten dry when bits of the egg fly off the beater. After eggs are beaten do not stir them, as the air will be forced out.
Eggs are beaten slightly to mix them as in French omelet, cup custard, and salad dressing.
Stirring. Eggs are stirred to mix them with other ingredients. In stirring move the spoon in a circle.