Eggs shine at Easter, but they're amazing all year long. Try these egg-tastic recipes for the whole family.
For many people, eggs are synonymous with two things—Easter and breakfast. If you share this somewhat limited view of eggs’ appeal, there’s good reason to become a little more “egg-centric.” Eating eggs more frequently, in myriad ways, can enhance your family’s meals—and their health.
Although eggs are not heralded as nutritional superstars, they should be. Along with being one of the rare sources of natural vitamin D, they’re also an economical source of high biological value protein, meaning that they contain all eight essential amino acids. They also house significant amounts of iron, molybdenum, phosphorus, zinc, and hard-to-obtain trace minerals such as iodine and selenium as well as all the B vitamins and choline. Eggs are one of nature’s best sources of choline.
Importance of choline
A recent US survey revealed that only 10 percent of Americans had an adequate intake of choline, which we can assume would be similar if Canadians were surveyed. Choline deficiency can cause high homocysteine levels, which have been linked to several chronic conditions such as liver disease and atherosclerosis as well as neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Here’s more good news about eggs’ nutritional profile: their yolks are teeming with disease-fighting carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk for both cataracts and macular degeneration and have been studied for links to the prevention of certain types of cancer. Studies indicate that eating eggs regularly can increase the plasma levels of both of these health-enhancing phytochemicals by as much as 50 percent.
Eggs for heart health
Although the cholesterol content of eggs was once vilified for its effect on heart health, current studies indicate they may actually help promote heart health. Here’s how: eggs can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and change the shape and size of (bad) LDL cholesterol to a more benign form.
Clearly, eggs deserve to be showcased year-round, and at any meal. Try one of the following “egg-ceptional” dishes and we’re sure you’ll agree.
- Holey Veggie Hash
- Asian Scrambled Eggs and Shrimp
- Cheesy Zucchini and Carrot Squares
- Poached Eggs with Balsamic Glaze, Swiss Chard, and Roasted Tomatoes
Master the hard-boiled egg
Overcooking eggs when you’re attempting to hard boil them is, unfortunately, a common culinary occurrence. Thankfully, the resulting green ring around the yolk and slightly sulphuric taste is something that can easily be avoided, if you follow a few simple steps.
Employ this tried and true method to create perfectly boiled eggs every time. It also makes your eggs easier to peel.
- Place eggs in saucepan and cover them with at least 1 to 2 in (2.5 to 5 cm) cold water. Add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt to water to help prevent cracking and render eggs easier to peel.
- Heat pan on high and bring water to a full rolling boil.
- Remove pan from heat, cover, and allow eggs to sit for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on their size (small eggs for 12 minutes, larger eggs for 15 minutes).
- Remove eggs from pan with slotted spoon, lightly crack*, and place in bowl of ice water for a minute. Remove from bowl, cracking each egg further in several places, and peel.
*Do not crack eggs if you are planning to dye them for Easter.
Older eggs are easier to peel than fresh ones. If you are planning to hard boil and peel eggs for a certain dish, plan ahead and buy your eggs at least one week before preparing them.
Choose organic eggs from free-range chickens. They are not only the most ethical choice, but also offer more nutritional bang for your buck. Some studies have demonstrated that eggs from free-range chickens may contain higher levels of key nutrients such as vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids than conventional eggs.