The Highs and Lows of Eggs and Some Swaps if You Need to Avoid Them
With the recent large-scale recall on eggs, allergies surging, and on the other side, eggs gaining a healthier profile, this food has had some ups and downs.
This week 200 million eggs were recalled for possible contamination from a farm in Indiana. Reaching across the country in retail stores and restaurants in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, this is the largest egg recall since 2010. And this comes on the heels of eggs finally losing the reputation of being bad for you, and gaining a strong case for health benefits and no cholesterol warning.
And as eggs have shown a healthier profile for consumers, it’s also true that buying eggs has become a little more complicated, as labeling seems to cover a range of claims from cage-free to certified humane and hormone-free to natural and organic. Educating shoppers on all these claims has put retailers and dietitians to task. And as we live in a new era of shoppers that are more concerned about the origins of their food, from the profile of the farm to how the hens are treated, producers, retailers and restaurants have had to adjust to consumer needs.
It is also of great industry to the food industry that food allergies have been on the rise and in particular the surge has occurred in children. Schools and parents have reacted by banning treats with common allergens in classrooms, which has caused much debate.
We here at SupermarketGuru have written on many occasions about the proven health benefits of eggs such as reducing your risk of heart disease, improving eye health, supporting brain health, keeping your skin healthy, and being not only a high quality source of protein, but an economical source as well. But we also know that for those with allergies, or concerns of contamination, animal treatment, or wanting to stick to plant-based diets, a growing trend, that offering alternatives is valuable.
Here are four alternatives to eggs to consider in cooking:
Flax seeds can be a great and healthy substitute for eggs, they are rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. First, grind the flax seeds in a coffee grinder and mix with water. Allow the combination to rest until it becomes gelatinous, then use. For one egg, you’ll need 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds in 3 tbsp of water.
Planning a savory dinner like meatloaf or burgers, both veggie and meat? Swap out eggs for tomato paste. Using tomato paste will not only add great flavor, but will also add antioxidants and make your meal a little more plant based than before!
Try canned, pureed pumpkin or another fruit puree like applesauce in your baked goods. You'll be able to reduce the oil and eggs in your cakes and cookies but they'll still come out moist. The puree will add the flavor of whatever fruit you are using, so it's best to think about what flavors pair best with the fruit you’ve chosen. For applesauce: 1/3 cup applesauce is equal to 1 egg, or ¼ cup applesauce plus 1 tsp Baking Powder will equal one egg. For pumpkin: 1/3 cup of cooked pumpkin is equal to 1 egg.
Swap in mashed bananas. Bananas are a great option when it comes to baking. Bananas won't help the batter rise, so use them in conjunction with baking powder or baking soda, ½ pureed banana, or about 1/4 cup is equal to 1 egg.
General tips to remember: Bananas, applesauce and pumpkin puree add the perfect amount of thick moisture like eggs, but they won't help your dishes rise or turn out light and fluffy. Be sure the recipe you are using includes a bit of baking powder or baking soda to help it rise if needed. If you desire a lighter texture and you’re using fruit purées, experiment with adding an extra 1/2 tsp. of baking powder. Fruit purées tend to make the final product denser than the original recipe.
Baking without eggs might need a little experimentation until you’ve got it right. Stay patient and have fun in the kitchen.