What is egg white? What is it used for? Is it better for you than egg yolk? This article should answer all your questions!
Have you ever wondered exactly what egg white is and how it differs from egg yolk? Egg whites and yolks can be used in different ways, and while both are nutritious, they do differ from one another. Let’s take a deeper look!
The egg white, which actually looks clear before cooking, forms around the yolk. Egg whites are also called albumen and provide the embryo with water, plus help protect it against certain viruses and bacteria.
When it comes to their nutritional value, egg whites are very low in fat and calories (about 17 calories per serving!), but high in protein. This makes them particularly suitable for those on high protein diets - indeed, egg whites have been attributed to helping with weight loss.
Unfortunately, despite being high in protein, they do not actually contain many vitamins. Egg yolks, on the other hand, boast a range of nutrients, but are high in fat and cholesterol.
Rest assured, though, that the high cholesterol found in egg yolks is not linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
What is egg white used for?
Let’s look at some of the ways you can use egg whites in cooking:
• Soufflé: whilst making a soufflé does include both egg whites and yolks, the extra addition of egg whites helps provide it with its lovely, airy texture.
• Meringue: beating egg whites with sugar helps to create beautiful meringues that can be eaten alone or used to top a pie. Be sure that your peaks are stiff before piping!
• Macarons: using whipped egg whites help create the delicate and airy texture of a French macaron.
• Pie fillings: many pie fillings feature egg whites (as well as other ingredients) to help create a almost mousse-like finish that is light and airy.
• Glaze: using an egg white finish on baked goods like burger buns or bagels helps to create a beautiful glossy finish which enables toppings, like sesame seeds, to stick well.
You will notice that when cooking egg whites, especially if you are frying them or making an omelet, they turn white, (which - ahem - is why they are referred to as egg whites!).
This is due to a chemical reaction that occurs once added to heat, helping the proteins within the egg white to uncoil. An egg white is safe to eat once it has turned white, at 149 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to use leftover egg whites
If you have egg whites left over from a recipe that called for yolks only, don’t throw them in the trash!
Egg whites will keep in the fridge for up to two days, but they can also be frozen for up to three months.
A great way to store unused egg whites is in an ice cube tray, so you can pop out an egg white as you need it. Always add a little water if you plan to freeze egg whites to prevent them drying out too much.