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The magic of eggs

Michelin star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen recently remarked that eggs were the only food that could be enjoyed during all three meals of the day, perfectly paired with a different glass of wine each time. Indeed the versatility of eggs goes so much further than scrambled, poached or fried and few dishes, condiments or desserts can be completed without this amazing food.

Think quiche or shakshuka for lunch, bobotie with its golden layer of custard topping for dinner, or even a steak topped with Béarnaise sauce. And as for tea time and celebrations, can we stop for a moment to linger on the thought of a freshly baked pastéis de nata? Dipping beyond the caramelised sugar into the creaminess of a crème brûlée? Or the crisp burst of the sweetness of a pavlova cradling seasonal fruit and cream?

What’s more, the benefits of stocking up on eggs goes far beyond the yummy factor. Eggs are second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition as the protein found in an egg has just the right mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build tissues. The high protein content can help with malnutrition on the one hand as well as weight loss in the battle against obesity on the other hand. As for heart health, the myth surrounding the cholesterol in eggs has been dispelled by scientific research, restoring them to their rightful place on our daily menus as part of a healthy diet.

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Due to the high-quality protein inherent in eggs, they also provide affordable protein to substitute more expensive proteins in tough financial times, therefore playing a key role as an inexpensive source of excellent nutrition for all income groups.

Eggs boast a functionality that few other food groups can match. As the invisible magic ingredient, eggs act as a binder for fish cakes or gluten-free bread, a rising agent in cakes and soufflés, an emulsifier for custards and sauces, and a glaze to give your pies a golden sheen.

Containing fats in the yolk and protein in the whites, the eggs act as the perfect ingredient to bind water and fats together to form a whole. This ensures that cake batters and salad dressings maintain their texture and do not separate after some time.

The flavour imparted by including eggs in recipes is so important that many foods manufacturers go so far as to state ‘made with real eggs’ on the label. This is because the fat in the yolk gives foods a rich flavour and a full mouthfeel that can’t be replicated with egg substitutions.

In a world where food safety is of prime concern, consumers can rest assured that South African egg producers pride themselves on producing top-quality eggs that are delivered fresh to the market daily.

It’s diet food, it’s indulge-me-food; and as an affordable, high source of protein, it packs a punch. Like a boiled egg it’s a ready-packaged meal in an eco-friendly shell that can be eaten on the run. Eggs are an ingredient your pantry should never be without.

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