The word “omelet” comes from the French word “omelette,” which means a thin egg dish. An omelet is made by mixing eggs and other ingredients together, then folding the egg mixture into a pan to create a shape before flipping it and cooking the other side.
Unfortunately, because people are getting sick from contaminated eggs, it is becoming more difficult to make an omelet. Due to the ongoing outbreak of salmonella linked to eggs, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising people not to eat raw or cooked eggs or products containing them unless they are pastured or come from farms whose chickens are free-range or certified organic.
However, if you are craving an omelet, there are some precautions you can take to make sure you are not getting sick from it.
You should use fresh eggs
Unfortunately, in the US, it is legal to sell eggs that are not completely free of Salmonella. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all eggs to be washed and sprayed with an antimicrobial spray to reduce Salmonella bacteria.
However, studies have found that this process does not completely eliminate the bacteria. Because of this, the USDA continues to investigate ways to reduce the presence of Salmonella in eggs.
Because Salmonella is found in the eggshell, if you use older eggs, the white may look darker and thicker than it should. This might make you think that they are better quality eggs and therefore more appropriate to use in an omelet.
However, the opposite is true! Using older eggs increases your risk of getting sick from eating an omelet made with them.
You should use oil when cooking the omelet
Because of the design of the omelet pan, it is recommended that you use a little bit of oil on the empty pan to help guide the eggs as you fold them. This helps prevent the egg from sticking to the pan and breaking as you try to fold it.
Using some oil will also help prevent burning or overcooking of the eggs. Once you have folded all of the eggs, you can then cook them like usual with whatever toppings or pans you like.
Oiling your hands can also help make handling eggs easier. When cracking the egg, use one hand to hold the egg and use your other hand to crack it so that it does not break into pieces. Then, take the whole egg and put it in the other hand to break it!
Bending them slightly before placing them in a bowl also helps prevent breaking.
You should not overfill your omelet
When making an omelet, you should not fill the interior of the omelet with too many ingredients. This is important because if there are too many ingredients, they will not cook completely due to lack of space and time.
There are two reasons this is safety precaution. The first is that if there are too many ingredients in the omelet, then it may taste bad. The second is that if there are too many components in the omelet, it may make it unsafe to eat.
If the egg whites do not cook completely, then there is a risk of bacterial contamination.
Use pasteurized eggs
Unfortunately, in the US, it is legal to sell eggs from chickens that have been exposed to harmful bacteria like salmonella.
This is because of a regulation called the national poultry hygiene program. It allows farms to pay a fee to have an inspection of their facilities and eggs, deeming them safe to sell.
While this seems like a good plan, it doesn’t take into consideration the fact that it is very difficult to completely eliminate salmonella in chickens and eggs.
It also doesn’t consider the fact that people with compromised immune systems, such as people with allergies or HIV/AIDS patients, cannot safely consume raw eggs. But under this regulation, they are forced to do so or avoid eggs entirely.
Refrigerate unused eggs immediately
Most people have a few eggs in their fridge at any given time. If you are going to the grocery store, why not pick up a dozen extra eggs to put in the fridge?
Refrigerating eggs prevents bacteria growth if there is a crack in the shell or if it is mixed into a recipe. By having extras on hand, you can make a omelet or another dish without worrying about using a rotten egg.
If you are going to use all of the eggs before the expiration date, then let them stay out at room temperature. By doing this, you are reducing the risk of wasting eggs and money!
Bacteria grows slowly so by checking the expiration date and using them before then, you are keeping them safe.
Do not store them in the door of your refrigerator
Refrigerators are designed to keep foods cool or cold. Most refrigerators come with a small storage area in the door where you can put things.
Most people put eggs in this area, and this is the biggest mistake you can make. While your refrigerator may maintain a cool temperature, the opening and closing of the door can expose the eggs to warmer temperatures.
Chlorine in tap water can also damage eggs, so if you store them in a plastic container, it may increase the risk of a contaminated egg.
Keep them away from strong-smelling foods
Because toxoplasmosis is primarily spread through cats’ feces, you should also carefully wash your hands after handling a cat or cleaning a litter box.
However, you should also avoid cooking or eating meat if you are pregnant. Meat cooked at high temperatures may not be safe, so you should avoid eating meat raw or seared.
Unfortunately, this is hard to do unless you are strictly vegan, but it’s important to keep yourself and your baby safe.
Furthermore, try to limit the number of people who come into contact with your urine or feces. If someone in your household is pregnant, make sure they wash their hands and uses bathroom products that prevent urine from coming in contact with the face of the toilet.
Do not eat cracked or damaged eggs
As mentioned before, eggs are a common source of Salmonella infection, so it is important to be aware of the safety guidelines for handling eggs.
Never eat raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs, such as mayonnaise or salad dressing. This includes egg white omelets!
Cooking eggs thoroughly will prevent salmonellosis. Cook your eggs until the white is firm and the yolk is not runny. If you like soft-boiled or semi-soft cooked eggs, cook them for one additional minute so that the white is solid and then place in ice cold water to cool.
When storing eggs in the fridge, separate the eggshells so that if there is a crack in the egg, it does not spread to other intact eggs. Also, use up older eggs before newer ones to prevent spoiling.