Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If it floats, toss it out!

The egg recall because of Salmonella poisoning is massive -- more than half a billion eggs affected -- and scary, especially with the FDA telling us to avoid mopping up your runny yolks with your toast.

Scrambled, omelets or frittatas are in the future for me.

Is there any doubt that when it comes to our food, it's buyer beware. And when it comes to eggs, we all need to be more vigilant about learning where our eggs come from, and to make sure we are eating the freshest eggs available. I only buy organic eggs from chickens not fed antibiotics -- and so far so good. But I do admit that sometimes I keep my eggs in the fridge past the expiration date.

Today, I offer a tip I learned from my mom, who always tested our eggs for freshness before she cooked them. This won't help the Salmonella issue, but at least you'll know the eggs are still prime.

Place an egg in the bottom of a glass. (We always used a large Pyrex measuring cup.) What mom called lazy eggs -- those reclining on their sides on the bottom of the glass -- are fine. If they point up but are still anchored on the bottom of the glass, eat them immediately. They are what mom called seniors, sweet but on the verge of extinction. If the egg floats, out it goes.

I did some research, first because I wanted to know if mom was right, and second, I'm curious about why old eggs float. Mom, of course, was correct. Egg shells are very porous, and as they age, the shells absorb air, forcing moisture out, which dries out the egg. Not as bad as Salmonella, but dry eggs are not very appetizing.

And one more tip, this one from my new fave book, "Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat" by Nancy L. Snyderman, MD. She cites a study in the International Journal of Obesity that reported eating two eggs for breakfast as part of a reduced-calorie diet can help you lose weight. The study found that those who ate this breakfast had more energy than those who eat a bagel containing an equal amount of calories. In addition, cholesterol levels were not adversely impacted. Dr. Snyderman says it's OK to eat eggs several times a week, as long as you limit cholesterol from other sources -- and skip the frying.

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