Fresh hens eggs
Eggs are a very nutritious food and an extremely versatile cooking ingredient. They are substantial enough to make a complete meal on there own, but are also a vital element in many recipes. Eggs are a great source of quality protein and contain a range of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, D, B12, B6, B2 as well as selenium and iodine.
The two seperate parts that make up an egg are very different, the yolk is energy dense containing all of the fat. As with all fats they are made up of a mixture of different fats in varying proportions, eggs yolks contain Monounsaturated fat in the highest proportion, followed by Saturated and then Polyunsaturated.
The yolk is also a rich source of cholesterol, which is the main reason why eggs were so incorrectly vilified in the 1970's and 80's. It is now known that cholesterol from the diet has no significant effect on the bodies blood cholesterol levels.
The high protein content of eggs comes from the white which contains no fat, it is this part of the egg which gives structure to recipes, as tiny filaments in the protein expand when whisked, trapping tiny bubbles of air or coagulate, turning solid and white when cooked.
Egg box information
Eggs are sold in many different types, such as battery, barn, free-range, organic, all have the same nutritional value. If possible, the best type to buy are local, organic, free range eggs which are laid by hens free to roam on Soil Association approved land and kept under better conditions. Non-organic free-range eggs are a cheaper and more easily available option, where the hens are still free to roam and still kept under better conditions.
Barn eggs may be cheaper than free-range, they come from hens kept indoors, but are still free to roam during the day. Battery eggs are the cheapest, however the hens have a very poor life, kept in cages with little space to move and are usually debeaked to prevent them pecking other hens.
Egg box lables should clearly show the type of hens used and in what conditions, phrases such as 'farm fresh' or 'country fresh'dont mean anything and should be avoided, unless they also state they are free-range. For health and safety reasons its best to store eggs in the fridge, but they are best at room temperature for cooking, so should be taken out the fridge 30 mins before use.
This article is part of our new recipe type 'Learn to cook'. These recipes will provide you with fundamental cooking skills and break down the nutrition information on various cooking methods.
Below is a link to all our recipes and the first recipe in our new series 'Fried Eggs'.