Accidentally eating a piece of eggshell is one of the worst dining experiences, and I'm only kind of exaggerating. It's chalky and horrible and just one bite is enough to completely destroy my appetite, essentially rendering whatever I've been eating completely inedible. I admit that my feelings about this are intense. In fact, if I had to choose between never eating again and eating a bit of eggshell in every meal I eat for the rest of my life, I'd have to choose the former. OK, maybe my feelings on this are very intense.
Though I'm sure anyone who's had this unfortunate experience can sympathize at least somewhat, I'm still served eggshell-laced food not all that infrequently. Every time I've managed to find a piece of the stuff in bake sale cupcakes or the egg scrambles my friends serve at their brunch parties, I've always wondered, what is everyone doing wrong?
After years of investigation, I finally got to the bottom of this mystery with some help from my ex. He cooked eggs all the damn time, so theoretically he should have been a pro. Every now and then, though, he'd serve me something with a big ol' piece of eggshell in it. After it happened several times in a row, my frustration drove me to observe him to find out what he was doing wrong. Almost immediately it dawned on me just what his problem was: He was cracking his eggs straight into the frying pan.
Cracking your egg straight into a pan won't always give you time to retrieve stray pieces of shell before the food cooks through.
If you crack an egg straight into a frying pan, you might not have time to take out any pieces of shell before the egg whites start to cook, become opaque, and camouflage the shell. When you can't see it, you can't get it out, and that's when people wind up with egg shell-filled omelets.
Even if you're lucky enough to notice the shell before it's too late, getting it out is a process in and of itself. If you use your hands, you run the risk of getting burnt by a hot skillet, and using a spoon or a spatula instead can be equally annoying, because the egg whites make the shells slippery and hard to deal with, so they end up just sliding right off of these tools.
If you crack an egg into a separate bowl, you have more time to remove any rogue eggshells without having to worry about losing them in your food or burning yourself. Sure, it's another dirty bowl to clean, but it guarantees you don't wind up eating an eggshell, and I don't know about you, but I'd rather clean all the dishes in the world than risk shell in my meal.
Same goes for when you're baking something, because eggshells can easily blend in with white ingredients like flour and sugar.
When it comes to cooking, there is no greater sin than baking eggshell into something sweet (in my humble opinion). I get why it happens, though. You crack the egg straight into the flour or sugar, and any bits of eggshell hanging on are immediately concealed. Avoid this problem by cracking that egg into another bowl. As the Barefoot Contessa would say, how easy is that?
There's a super simple way to remove any shell that does wind up in your egg.
Whether you decide to crack your egg into a separate bowl or not, this trick will make removing eggshell pieces a cinch (though I maintain it's always easier to remove eggshell when you're not trying to do it over or in a piping hot surface or in a pile of camouflaging dry ingredients). All you have to do is take a larger piece of the shell and use it to ladle the smaller piece out. Since they're both coated in egg whites, they'll stick to each other without any effort. And if you're not sure what I mean, the video above breaks down the process.
Whether you're a newbie cook who isn't great at cracking eggs or a seasoned chef who sometimes has a slip up, use this super simple trick to ensure you never, ever have to eat eggshells again. Please.