Food & Drink

Crack open some versatile value with eggs

With Easter and spring approaching, eggs are a bargain.

If you have a carton of eggs in the refrigerator, you can have a nutritious breakfast, lunch or dinner for pennies. Protein foods are the most expensive items on the food budget, and when you compare the cost per serving to other protein foods, the egg comes out a winner.

If a dozen large eggs cost $1.09, multiply the cost by 2⁄3 to compare the cost per pound to other protein foods, according to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension. That's 72 cents a pound.

Eggs are so basic, we sometimes forget all the great things they do. Eggs give structure to baked goods (cakes, muffins, pancakes) as well as savory foods like meatloaf. They work as a leavener, thickener and binder in sauces like hollandaise and mayonnaise, and they give smoothness to everything from custards to truffles. On top of all their undercover work, eggs are nutritious and delicious on their own, whether poached, fried, scrambled, or made into an omelet or frittata, according to Fine Cooking.

When hard-cooked, eggs make great egg salad or deviled eggs. But a common complaint from cooks is that green ring around the yolk, which is a sign of overcooking. Cooks who boil eggs often opt for electric egg cookers, which eliminate the need to watch the clock while boiling or poaching eggs.

Chef'sChoice has an egg cooker that allows users to cook eggs to various degrees of "done-ness" in the same batch. Eggs can be combined to cook some as soft, others medium or hard-boiled, which eliminates the worry about undercooked or overcooked eggs.

No matter how you cook the egg, it's best if it's fresh. As soon as Lexington Farmers Market opens outdoors in April, you can pick up local eggs. To check for a nearby farmer, go www.localharvest.org and enter your ZIP code.

According to Sustainable Table, local, organic free-range eggs are super-rich in vitamins and minerals. Some organic farmers are offering omega-3 eggs, which are laid by birds fed organic flaxseed.

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