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All About the Egg

Daily Reference Values (DRVs)

There are two sets of reference values for reporting nutrients in nutrition labeling: 1) Daily Reference Values (DRVs) and 2) Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs). These values assist consumers in interpreting information about the amount of a nutrient that is present in a food and in comparing nutritional values of food products. DRVs are established for adults and children four or more years of age, as are RDIs, with the exception of protein. DRVs are provided for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sodium, potassium, and protein. RDIs are provided for vitamins and minerals and for protein for children less than four years of age and for pregnant and lactating women. In order to limit consumer confusion, however, the label includes a single term (i.e., Daily Value (DV)), to designate both the DRVs and RDIs. Specifically, the label includes the % DV, except that the % DV for protein is not required unless a protein claim is made for the product or if the product is to be used by infants or children under four years of age.
– See Daily Values (DVs), Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances (U.S. RDAs)

Daily Values (DVs)

A term on food labels that represents the amount of protein, fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate (including dietary fiber and sugars), vitamins and minerals, expressed in percentage of a specific nutrient that a person should consume per day. To avoid consumer confusion, the term DV represents both Daily Reference Values (DRVs) and Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs). DVs serve as a yardstick for food comparisons and not as a strict dietary prescription.
– See Daily Reference Values, Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances (U.S. RDAs)


Decorating Eggs

The egg shape has often inspired artists and the egg has been the palette for some of the most intriguing of folk arts in many cultures.

There is literally no end to the creative possibilities for individual expression on an eggshell. You can paint eggs or color them with crayons or felt-tipped pens, turn them into funny faces, top them with fantastic hats, trim them with feathers or sequins or simply dye them in an endless variety of hues. However you decide to do it, decorating eggs is fun for grown-ups as well as kids.

You can decorate either hard-boiled eggs or empty eggshells. The hard-boiled variety is a bit sturdier for children to use, while empty shells are best if you’re making an egg tree or want to keep the eggs on display for a considerable time.

Commercial egg dyes are sold especially at the Easter season and food coloring is available year round. Any time of year, you might prefer to craft your eggs by experimenting with colors from nature.

To make naturally-dyed eggs: Toss your choice of a handful – or two or three – of one of the materials below into a saucepan. (Use your own judgment about quantity. This is an art – not a science!) Add about a cup of water for each handful, so the water comes at least an inch above the dyestuff. Bring to boiling, reduce the heat and simmer from 15 minutes up to an hour, until the color is the shade you want. Keep in mind that the eggs will dye a lighter shade. Remove the pan from the heat.

Through cheesecloth or a fine sieve, strain the dye mixture into a small bowl that’s deep enough to completely cover the eggs you want to dye. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of white vinegar for each cup of dye liquid. With a spoon or wire egg holder from a dyeing kit, lower the eggs into the hot liquid. Let the eggs stand until they reach the desired color. For emptied eggshells, stir or rotate for even coloring. With a slotted spoon or wire egg holder, remove the eggs to a rack or drainer. Allow the eggs to dry thoroughly. Within two hours (or within one hour if the weather is warm), refrigerate hard-boiled eggs that you intend to eat.


However you decide to color your hard-boiled eggs, follow these tips if you’d like to eat them later: Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the eggs at every step, including cooking, cooling, dyeing and hiding. If you won’t be coloring your eggs right after cooking them, store them in their cartons in the refrigerator. Don’t color cracked eggs.

When coloring the eggs, use water warmer than the eggs. Refrigerate the eggs in their cartons right after coloring and refrigerate them again after they’ve been hidden and found. Don’t eat cracked eggs or eggs that have been out of refrigeration for more than two hours. If you plan to use hard-boiled eggs for an Easter egg hunt or as a centerpiece or other decoration and they will be out of refrigeration for many hours or several days, cook extra eggs to refrigerate for eating. Discard the eggs that have been left out for more then two hours. For more decorating ideas, visit
– See Cooking Methods, Hard-Boiled; Empty Eggshells; Easter Eggs



Deviled Eggs

Also known as stuffed eggs, hard-boiled eggs, peeled, cut in half and stuffed with a seasoned, mashed yolk mixture. The yolks are removed from the whites, mixed with a moistener, such as mayonnaise, flavoring foods and/or seasonings and then piled back into the whites. The word “devil” originally referred to the combination of spices, including dry mustard, with which the eggs were highly seasoned.


Doneness Guidelines

To prevent food-born illness, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends cooking eggs until the whites are firm and yolks are thickened. Cook egg-containing dishes to an internal temperature for 160°F (71°C). For egg preparations not cooked to these guidelines, pasteurized shell eggs are available on the market. Eggs should be served promptly after cooking.

•  Cook scrambled eggs, omelets and frittatas until the eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains.

•  To cook both sides of fried eggs and increase the temperature the eggs reach, cook slowly and baste the eggs, turn the eggs or cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard.

•  For classic poached eggs cooked gently in simmering water, cook until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 3 to 5 minutes. For steamed eggs cooked in “poaching” inserts set above simmering water, cook until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 6 to 9 minutes. Avoid precooking and reheating poached eggs.

•  Cook or bake French toast, Monte Cristo sandwiches, crab or other fish cakes, quiches, baked custards and most casseroles until a thermometer inserted at the center shows 160ºF (71°C) or a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. You may find it difficult to tell if a knife shows uncooked egg or melted cheese in some casseroles and other combination dishes that are thick or heavy and contain cheese – lasagna, for example. To be sure these dishes are done, make sure that a thermometer at the center of the dish shows 160°F (71°C).

•  Cook a soft (stirred) custard – including cream pie, eggnog and ice cream bases – until it’s thick enough to coat a metal spoon with a thin film and a thermometer shows 160°F (71°C) or higher but no higher than 180°F (83°C). A custard sauce thickens at 160°F (71°C) and curdles at 180°F (83°C). An exception to the rule is when cream pie fillings and puddings that contain a starch, the addition of starch prevents curdling even when the mixture is brought to a boil. After cooking, cool the custard quickly by setting the pan in ice or cold water and stirring for a few minutes. Cover and refrigerate the cooled custard to chill thoroughly, at least 1 hour.

• Bake a 3-egg-white soft (pie) meringue spread on a hot, fully cooked pie filling in a preheated 350°F (177°C) oven until the meringue reaches 160°F (71°C), about 15 minutes. For meringues using more whites, bake at 325°F (163°C) or a lower temperature until a thermometer registers 160°F (71°C), about 25 to 30 minutes (or more). The more egg whites, the lower the temperature and longer the time you need to cook the meringue through without excessive browning. Refrigerate meringue-topped pies until serving. Return leftovers to the refrigerator.

 Baked goods and hard-boiled eggs will easily reach internal temperatures of more than 160°F (71°C) when they are done. Note, though, that while Salmonella are destroyed when hard-boiled eggs are properly prepared, hard-boiled eggs can spoil more quickly than raw eggs. After cooking, cool hard-boiled eggs quickly under running cold water or in ice water. Avoid allowing eggs to stand in stagnant water. Refrigerate hard-boiled eggs in their shells promptly after cooling and use them within one week.

•  For microwaved egg dishes, encourage more even cooking by covering the dish, stirring the ingredients, if possible, and if your microwave does not have a turntable, rotate the dish once or twice during the cooking time.

Recipes calling for raw or lightly cooked eggs. Although the overall risk of egg contamination is very small, the risk of foodborne illness from eggs is highest in raw and lightly cooked dishes. To eliminate risk and ensure food safety, replace all your recipes calling for raw or lightly cooked eggs with cooked egg recipes or use pasteurized shell eggs or egg products when you prepare them. To cook eggs for these recipes, use the following methods to adapt your recipes:

Cooking whole eggs for use in recipes. Fully cook whole eggs for assured safety in recipes that call for raw or lightly cooked eggs. You can use the following method for a variety of recipes, with any number of eggs.

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the eggs and either sugar, water or another liquid from the recipe (at least 1/4 cup sugar, liquid or a combination per egg). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the egg mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film or reaches 160°F (71°C). Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe.

Cooking egg yolks for use in recipes. Cook egg yolks for use in mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, cold soufflés, chiffons and mousses and other recipes calling for raw egg yolks. You can use the following method with any number of yolks.

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the egg yolks and the liquid from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons liquid per yolk). Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the yolk mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film, bubbles at the edges or reaches 160°F (71°C). Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the yolk mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe.

Cooking egg whites for use in recipes. For full safety in all recipes, cook egg whites before you use them. You can use the following method with any number of whites, including chilled desserts and Seven-Minute Frosting, Royal Icing and other frosting recipes calling for raw egg whites.

In a heavy saucepan, the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over water in a saucepan, stir together the egg whites and the sugar from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons sugar per white), water (1 teaspoon per white) and cream of tartar (1/8 teaspoon per each 2 whites). Cook over low heat or simmering water, beating constantly with a portable mixer at low speed, until the whites reach 160°F (71°C). Pour into a large bowl. Beat on high speed until the whites stand in soft peaks. Proceed with the recipe.

Note that you must use sugar to keep the whites from coagulating too rapidly. Test with a thermometer as there is no visual clue to doneness. If you use an unlined aluminum saucepan, eliminate the cream of tartar or the two will react and create an unattractive gray meringue.

The egg whites in an Italian meringue (made by adding hot sugar syrup to egg whites while beating them) do not reach much above 125°F (52°C), so this method is only safe in dishes that are further cooked. However, if you bring the sugar syrup all the way to the hard ball stage (250° to 266°F/121° to 130°C), the whites will reach a high enough temperature. You can use a sugar syrup at hard ball stage for Divinity and similar recipes.
– See Cooking Methods, Egg Safety, Fight BAC!, Partnership for Food Safety Education, Raw Eggs, Salmonella

Double-Yolked Eggs

– See Yolk, Formation, Ovary

Dried Eggs

– See Egg Products


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