Backpacker Magazine – November 2012
Test Kitchen: Cooking Trail Eggs
Text by Allison Woods
Photo by Eggs are a protein-rich backcountry food. (A. Bydlon)
Eggs are a protein-rich backcountry food. (A. Bydlon)
Photo by Snow Peak's Hybrid Silicone Spatula (A. Bydlon)
Snow Peak's Hybrid Silicone Spatula (A. Bydlon)
Coghlan's plastic 6-Egg Holder (Andrew Bydlon)
Short overnights, cold weather, and breakfast on day two
Studies have shown that fresh, never-refrigerated, neverwashed eggs from farmers’ markets are safe and edible stored at room temp for several months; unwashed eggs have a natural antibacterial coating. Store-bought eggs are washed and cooled, and many also have thinner shells, which allow bacteria growth— the FDA takes a conservative line and says to never keep storebought eggs at temps above 45°F. We left our store-bought eggs out (at 65°F) and they were edible after a week. Freshness test: Don’t eat any egg that smells bad, like sulfur. Put an egg (in its shell) into a pot of water; if it floats, pitch it. If an egg smells fresh and sinks, salmonella risk is low if you cook the egg completely.
Avoid damaging shells by carrying uncracked eggs in a purpose-built egg holder (picture 3). On winter outings, skip the spillage hazard by cracking eggs into a leakproof container and freezing them. A 1-quart container will hold 15 large eggs.
Cook both the white and yolk until firm. Avoid undercooked preps like over-easy in favor of scrambled, boiled, or omelets. Tip Inspect whole eggs carefully. Smooth, crack-free eggs carry a lower risk of salmonella (and of breaking in your pack).