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How to use eggs

From poached to fried and chestnut to duck, our useful guide will help you store, select and cook this versatile and great-value ingredient. Eggs aren’t just for scrambling on toast for breakfast – they make a great addition to all of your favourite dishes, including soups, salads and sandwiches.

  1. Choose your eggs

    There are so many varieties of eggs, all with uniquely coloured shells and flavours. Here are four of our favourites to try:

    1. Chestnut maran: Laid by Marans, a French breed, these eggs have a speckled chestnut colour and a rich orange yolk.

    2. Bluebell araucana: These striking pastel blue eggs with golden yolks are laid by a Chilean breed of hen.

    3. White duck eggs: Larger than chicken eggs, duck eggs are snowy white with thick shells and a rich flavour.

    4. Burford browns: You'll find delicious, dense yolks within the thick, glossy brown shells of these eggs.

    Choose your eggs
  2. Storing eggs

    Eggs last longer at the back of the fridge (not in the door) and the shells are porous, so store in their boxes and away from strong-smelling food.They cook better at room temperature, so if a recipe calls for room-temperature eggs, don't ignore it, let them come to room-temperature by keeping them out of the fridge for 30 mins before using. Room-temperature eggs will be more voluminous when whisked, so work better in chiffon cakes and soufflés.

    To check if an egg is fresh, put it in water. It will drop to the bottom and stay there if fresh, and float if old (if it does, throw it away). For perfect poached eggs like in this speedy smoked salmon toast topper, you want them very fresh, but older (still in date) eggs are easier to peel, so are better for boiling, like in this tasty kedgeree. Crack the bottom first (as that's where the air pocket is). Peel under running water if still hot.

    If you don’t have time to use them, you can freeze eggs before their best-before date, but not in their shells. To freeze whole eggs or egg whites, beat them first. Remember to label the container with how many eggs are in there. If freezing yolks, add ½ tbsp salt or 1½ tbsp sugar per 240ml of egg to help stop the yolks from gelling. Defrost thoroughly in the fridge before using.Both whites and yolks can be frozen for up to 3 months.

    Storing eggs
  3. Super scrambled eggs

    Whether spiced, packed with veg or classically simple, scrambled eggs are a breakfast favourite – ensure they're cooked to perfection with our handy tips!

    1. Whisk just before cooking to keep the eggs aerated, and make sure the yolk and whites are fully combined

    2. Cook slowly over a low heat for the best results

    3. Don't over-stir – it will make the eggs dry

    4. Undercook slightly, as the eggs will carry on cooking in the pan and on your plate

    Super scrambled eggs
  4. Perfectly poached

    For the best poached eggs, you want you use very fresh eggs. The easiest method for poaching is to bring a deep pan of water to the boil. Crack an egg into a mug and slide it into the water. If you get shell in the mug, use another piece of shell to scoop it out. Simmer for 3-3½ mins or until cooked to your liking. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on kitchen paper. Pair with avocado on toast or smoked salmon for a winning breakfast, or try it in a delicious pea soup.

    Perfectly poached
  5. Boiled to perfection

    Boiling eggs for different lengths of times makes them suitable for different things. Get it right with our easy guide. Use room temperature eggs and always make sure you lower the eggs into the water with a spoon so that they don't hit the bottom of the pan and crack.

    1. For runny yolks, perfect for dipping soldiers into, boil for 5 mins

    2. For soft yolks, great for adding to salads, boil for 6½ mins

    3. For a set yolk, as in this scotch egg recipe, boil for 8 mins

    4. For hard-boiled eggs for sandwiches, boil for 11 mins

    Boiled to perfection