Eggs

Egg cartons are stamped with the day of the year that the eggs are packed. For example, the number 045 stamped on an egg carton indicates that the egg were packed on the 45th day of the year, or February 14.

To make boiled eggs that peel easily, place them in cold water and cover the pan with a lid. Turn on the heat to high, and heat the water to boiling. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes (if large eggs) or 17 minutes (if extra large or jumbo). Drain and run cold water in the pan until the pan cools. Add 2 to 4 cups of ice, and let sit until the ice melts. The ice allows the egg to pull away from the membrane and shell.

To get the most volume from egg whites, whip them in an unlined copper utensil because of the reaction between the raw copper and the egg whites. As an alternative, use a stainless steel or glass bowl; add a dash of salt, lemon juice or cream of tartar. Do not use an aluminum bowl; it will discolor the whites and keep them from reaching the right volume.

Adding sugar too soon to whipped eggs will result in a thin marshmallowy sauce that will never thicken. Wait until the whites stand in soft peaks to add sugar.

A tablespoon of vinegar added to the water when poaching eggs will help set the whites so that they will not spread as much. Salt will achieve the same result.

When eggs are not refrigerated, they lose more quality in one day than in one week under refrigeration.

Help maintain egg quality by refrigerating them with the larger end up.

As an egg ages, the white becomes thinner and the yolk becomes flatter.

To tell a hard-cooked egg from a raw one, spin the egg. A hard-cooked egg spins beautifully; a raw one wobbles as it spins.

Egg whites whip better at room temperature.

If you hard cook eggs that are at least a week old, you'll find them easier to peel after cooking and cooling than fresher eggs.

Place eggs in lukewarm water for 10 minutes prior to boiling—this minimizes the tendency to crack.

If a piece of egg shell falls in the mixture you're working with, use a large piece of the shell to retrieve it—this acts like a magnet.

Do not store eggs in the door of the refrigerator. This section of the refrigerator does not maintain as constant a temperature as the interior because of the opening of the door.

Generally speaking, if there is less than a $0.07 difference per dozen between one size of egg and the next smaller size, the larger size is the better buy. If there is more than a $0.07 difference, the smaller size is the better buy. However, regardless of the cost, always buy the freshest eggs.

When making meringue, use 1/4 cup of sugar for each egg white.

Cream of tartar keeps meringue from weeping.