Different Ways to Cook Eggs

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how cook eggsEggs are a wonderful food. They are versatile, nutritious, and an excellent way to get some protein and fat in your diet. It’s also difficult to bake without eggs. They provide the “glue” for many wonderful breads and desserts.

When buying eggs, there is a dizzying array of choices. As always, you should get the best quality eggs that you can afford, even if that means you’re buying the lowest priced eggs. Free-range eggs are great if you can get them, but bear in mind that the definition of “free-range” is something of a moving target. In some cases, all it means is that the chickens have access to the outside occasionally. It doesn’t mean they actually spend much time there. Also, some eggs are advertised as “vegan,” meaning that the chickens are only fed grains. But chickens and other birds are wired to eat protein when they can get it, and that means eating insects and worms. Chickens that are allowed to eat a more natural diet (for them) lay more nutritious eggs. Some eggs are also advertised as containing omega-3 oils. While omega-3 oils are certainly nutritious, it does mean that the birds are fed fish products.

Does egg color matter? Not really. The main thing is to look for eggs that come from healthy chickens.

How to Cook Eggs

There are many different ways to prepare a basic egg, and if you don’t like them served one way, you may like them just fine when you prepare them another way. Try them all and find out which methods are your favorites!

Boiled Eggs

Boiled eggs are easy, particularly if you have a timer. For soft-boiled eggs, boil them for 2-4 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolk. For hard-boiled eggs, boil them for about 8 minutes. Take care not to boil them too long, however, or they will overcook, giving your yolks that unappealing gray-green color. Also, it is true that the fresher your eggs are, the harder they are to peel. There really is no way around that, but if you find yourself struggling with the eggshell, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that your egg is reasonably fresh.

eggs
water
salt

Place your eggs in a pot that is large enough to hold them all. Add enough water to cover the eggs. The water should not go all the way to the top of the pot, or it will splash out when it’s boiling. You should have at least 2 inches from the top of the water to the rim of the pot.

Turn the heat on high and watch for the water to boil. When it’s boiling, turn the heat down slightly and set your timer for the number of minutes you like.
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When the timer goes off (or the amount of time has elapsed), carefully drain the water off of the eggs. Fill the pot with cold water and add some ice cubes. This will stop the cooking process and make the eggs easier to handle. When the eggs have cooled, remove them from the ice water.

You can serve soft-boiled eggs in an egg cup. Crack the top of the egg with a spoon, salt the egg, and eat it directly from the shell. For hard-boiled eggs, gently crack the shell and peel it off. Sprinkle with salt.

Tip:  If you like hard-boiled eggs, another method to try is to boil them for 5 minutes, then remove them from the heat and let them sit in the hot water for 3 more minutes before draining and cooling. This will produce a nearly perfect boiled egg. Also, store uneaten boiled eggs in a bowl of water in the refrigerator. This keeps the shells from drying out and makes them easier to peel.
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Scrambled Eggs

Anyone can prepare the humble scrambled egg. You can eat it alone or place it in between slices of buttered toast for a simple, yet filling, sandwich. If you’re recovering from a stomach illness, scrambled eggs are a good choice to help you ease back into eating again.

eggs
salt
pepper (optional)
butter or olive oil cooking spray

Preheat a skillet on medium or medium-low heat.

Crack your eggs into a bowl large enough to hold them comfortably, then sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Take a fork or whisk and beat the eggs until they are uniformly yellow.

Melt a little butter in the skillet, or spray it with the cooking spray. (If the butter or spray turns brown, your skillet is too hot.) Add the eggs and cook, turning and stirring them gently, until they are done. Take care not to overcook them. They should be moist, not dry. Serve warm.

Tip:  If you’re cooking for a child or someone who needs some extra calories, add a little bit of cream to the bowl and whisk it in before you cook them.

Fried Eggs

There are two main “styles” of fried eggs:  over easy and sunny-side up. We’ll discuss both in this recipe.

eggs
salt
pepper (optional)
butter or olive oil cooking spray

Preheat a skillet on medium or medium low heat.

Crack an egg (or two) in a clean bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper.

When the skillet is warmed up, melt a little butter in it, or spray it with the cooking spray. (If the butter or spray turns brown, your skillet is too hot.) Carefully slide the egg out of the bowl and into the skillet.

For over-easy eggs:  Cook the egg until the white is done, but still soft. Take a spatula and slide it underneath the egg and gently turn it over, taking care not to break the yolk. Cook another minute or so, until done, and then gently remove it to a plate.

For sunny-side up eggs:  Place a lid over the skillet while the egg is cooking, preferably a lid that is made for the pan. Cook the egg until the white and the yolk are just cooked, or to whatever level of doneness you prefer. You can remove the lid occasionally to check on the egg. When done, use a spatula to gently remove it to a plate.

Poached Eggs

A well-made poached egg is a real delight. You can serve it on toast, hash, grits, or just about anything. A classic poached egg should have a white that is firm, but soft, and a yolk that is partially cooked but still runny.

eggs
water
salt
pepper (optional)

Fill a fairly deep skillet or sauté pan with about 2 inches of water, or enough to just cover an egg. Heat it until the water is gently simmering, but not boiling fast.

If you’re serving the egg on top of something else, such as toast, make sure that the plate is prepared and ready to go before you cook the egg.

Break an egg into a bowl. Gently slide the egg into the simmering water. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until the white is firm and the yolk is just cooked. Use a slotted spoon to gently remove the egg to a bowl or the plate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Asha Hawkesworth

Asha is passionate about enjoying life and making the most of what she has. She is a writer and painter and enjoys being with her family. She has written children's books and a book about the inner child (www.imaginalovemedia.com), as well as other blogs at brighthill.net and ashahawkesworth.com.

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