I love fried eggs with runny yolks. I blame it on my Granny, who used to cook the best over-easy eggs in the world. She always managed to achieve the perfect balance of firm white and liquid yolk. She would serve them up with toast that she buttered and then cooked in an old tray-type toaster oven. And strong, hot coffee. Best breakfast ever! I’ve tried to find one of those toaster ovens, but with no success. It would make my kitchen complete. I would immediately remove at least 20 items from my kitchen wish list if I could find one of those toaster ovens.
There haven’t been many fried eggs in my house lately, mainly because it’s easier and less messy to just scramble them up. I miss those runny yolks, mopped up off my plate with crisp, buttery toast. But no matter how they’re cooked, I’m a firm believer in the nutritional power of an egg. An egg sandwich with cheese keeps me going for hours, and egg salad doesn’t do a bad job of that either. But if I can’t have the yolk, then I most certainly will not bother with the rest of the egg.
According to incredibleegg.org, with the exception of niacin and riboflavin, the egg yolk contains a higher proportion of the egg’s vitamins than the white. This includes B12, B6, folic acid, thiamin, and pantothenic acid. The yolk contains vitamins A, E, D, and K, which you won’t find in the white, and the yolk contains more calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc than the white.
The yolk also makes up about 34% of the liquid weight of an egg, and contains all of the egg’s fat and less than half of the protein.
About those runny yolks. Eggs should be cooked until both the whites and yolks are firm. I am clearly not behaving responsibly with my eggs, but I just can’t help myself. A boiled egg is a different thing altogether. No soft-boiled eggs for me!
And cholesterol? I can remember Daddy drinking shakes with raw eggs in them. Then he became alarmed about cholesterol and started eating scrambled egg whites, until finally he went back to his yolky ways. Well, the folks at incredibleegg.org assert that research has shown that eggs do not have a significant impact on blood cholesterol levels. That means that it’s not necessary to avoid egg yolks. You can do your own independent literature review, but I’m sticking with their story.
My biggest concern should probably be that I undercook the yolks, thus putting myself at risk to be infected with Salmonella. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), around 142,000 illnesses each year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella. Knowing this has not stopped me from eating undercooked yolks. The FDA advises cooking an egg until both the white and yolk are firm, or using pasteurized eggs instead. You can find cooking, handling, and storage tips on their fact sheet, Playing It Safe With Eggs.
If you raise chickens for their eggs, lucky you! You already know that I want to raise chickens, too. My day will come! I don’t yet know anything about them, but I do know that a clean coop and healthy chickens are the first line of defense in keeping eggs safe. If you’re purchasing farm-fresh eggs, be sure you’re getting them from a supplier who keeps a clean coop and properly sorts and cleans the eggs.