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)
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 (below). 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).