Easy Eggs

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Shell-less, pasteurized egg substitutes, made mostly of egg whites, can be found in most grocery stores, both refrigerated and frozen.? Additionally, consumers can now find dried egg whites in most grocery stores. Here are a few of their many benefits, along with tips for using them.

Nutrition: Fat free egg substitutes save you 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat and 212 mg cholesterol per replaced egg.

Convenience: Measuring and pouring egg subs is easier than cracking and separating raw eggs and there is no waste.

Culinary Benefits: Recipes are more consistent since the egg sub is measured by volume. Another benefit of egg subs is that they are smoother and have more natural yellow color than egg whites alone. Powdered egg whites whip up much stiffer and are more stable than meringues made with the real thing.

Safety: liquid egg substitutes lower the risk of Salmonella enteriditis poisoning since they are pasteurized. This doesn't mean they should be served raw. The recommendation is that you heat them to 160 degrees F or above to destroy Salmonella. The United Egg Association says that there is still the potential for getting Salmonella in pasteurized eggs; USDA studies have found that up to 1% of pasteurized eggs are contaminated.

Success tips:

Replace each egg in your recipe with 1/4 cup of egg substitute. When using powdered egg whites follow the directions on the can. They can be used in place of eggs or to make meringue.

Egg substitutes work well in scrambled eggs, omelets, fritatas (open-faced omelets), quiche, most baked goods where eggs are added whole, and custards that are baked such as flans. They do not work well in recipes such as hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise, Caesar salad dressing, or custards cooked on top the stove.

Improper handling and storage can contaminate egg subs. Keep them refrigerated and watch expiration dates; use liquid subs within 7 days of opening. Serve eggs and egg-rich foods immediately after cooking or refrigerate at once and use within 3 days.

There is one disadvantage of using these convenient, easy eggs: cost. They cost 2 to 4 times more than the price of shelled eggs. But if you are following MyPlate and the base of your diet is grains, fruits and vegetables then this increase in cost will be minimal in your food budget. Taking advantage of store specials can help offset it too.

Here is our favorite recipe for a Spanish-Style Fritata:

1/2 onion, sliced

2 tomatoes, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green pepper, sliced

black pepper to taste

1/4 tsp crushed dried rosemary

1/4 tsp thyme

olive oil cooking spray or 1 tsp olive oil

2 cups egg substitute

Preheat your broiler. Spread the onion, tomatoes, garlic and green pepper on a large cookie tray so they are in a thin layer. Broil until they are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, drain off the excess juice and add the seasonings.

Meanwhile, spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Scramble the egg substitute until it cooked. Serve with broiled veggies over the top.

By David Leonard, M. Ag.


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