Hen’s eggs come in different sizes. In the Philippines, I have found eggs graded peewee, small, medium, large, extra large and jumbo in the markets. While these are probably meant to mirror the grading systems of the U.S. or other western countries, I find many eggs graded large in the local groceries would barely make a medium size in the U.S. – or at least that is my perception. Why should we care at all? If the eggs are not consistently graded, it can impact the stuff that you are cooking or more importantly, baking. In addition to sizes, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) also rates the quality of an egg – with an AA indicating an egg that has a firm yolk and thick or viscous white. Eggs graded A have thinner whites and those graded B the thinnest of the lot. I would guess that most locally available commercially marketed eggs fall into the A or B category. Eggs are typically 60% whites and 35% yolk. The whites are super high in protein while the yolks have lots of fat.
I always thought is was okay to leave eggs out on a counter (especially when the fridge is full and I am about to bake up a storm and have 3-4 dozen eggs) but everything I have read suggests that it is really best to put them in the fridge to extend their freshness. I always wash eggs that I buy to remove any cooties that might be sticking to the shells and prevent contaminating some chocolate chip cookies or whatever. I like the fact that eggs come in all sizes and I try to use the different sizes for different things. For our annual Easter egg coloring activity, I usually try to boil up different sizes of eggs to add variety and interest to the colored eggs. I especially like the peewee size. The jumbo eggs which sometimes come with double yolks are great for big breakfasts or brunch. They look terrific on a plate with sausages and hash browns.
How to make the perfect boiled egg: place “older” eggs in a pot and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Turn the flame on high and cover the pot. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat and bring it down to a simmer to just 30 seconds. Turn off the heat, remove pot from the stove and let stand for 15 minutes. Run the eggs under cold water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking. This technique is credited to a food scientist Shirley Corriber as written up in a Gourmet Margazine article in September 2000. Using fresh eggs typically results in the the contents sticking to the shell, making peeling more difficult. If an egg is overcooked, it develops a green discoloration between the yolk and the white… now I know why my snack in gradeschool always seemed to have molds growing in them…