The Single Worst Way to Remove Eggs from the Carton, Say Food Experts
It's simply a fact of life that there are little things you do so routinely that you never actually realized you're doing them wrong in the first place. Take driving, for instance. Do you diligently hold your hands at the "ten-and-two" positions on the steering wheel, as taught by parents, grainy safety videos, and ride-along instructors for decades? Well, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that's actually the wrong way to grip the wheel. (For the record, they advise you to do "nine-and-three," so your hands are safely out of the way of a deploying airbag.)
Or, take your morning shower. Did you know that the leading physicians and dermatologists actually don't advise you to lather your entire body, head-to-toe, as you've done your entire life? According to a professor of dermatology who spoke to The Atlantic, there are actually only three body parts you need to wash on a daily basis, and washing any more than that could result in the accidental destruction of some of your body's more helpful bacteria. (Spoiler alert: Continue to wash your "underarms, groin, and feet.")
Similar lessons extend to your kitchen. It could be that you're refrigerating foods that simply don't need it, you're using the wrong-size pot for boiling your pasta, or you're likely misusing your aluminum foil box, which actually comes equipped with a super genius feature that you might not even know existed.
But then there's the issue of how you're handling your eggs…
Are you one of those people who pulls eggs haphazardly from the carton at random—or do you take the extra care to remove them in a more orderly, considerate fashion? Are you someone who removes them two-by-two from one side to the other over time, in a linear way?
"My husband takes the eggs two-by-two from one end and moves down the box, therefore leaving the carton 'side heavy,' which can lead to eggs falling out when you're down to only three or four of them," complained one New York radio listener recently. "It makes me crazy. I know it's a little thing, but eggs have been dropped because of it and it's so easy to fix. I don't think I'm being too OCD about it. So I wanted to know from you. How do you take your eggs out of the carton?"
For the record, the radio station supports a method that many food and health experts we spoke to also endorse. "When it comes to using your eggs, you have to start on the sides and work your way in!," Joey Thurman, CPT, FNS, CES, a celebrity trainer and food and nutrition expert, emphasized to us, with exclamation points. "Start on one side, switch sides, and meet in the middle. Otherwise, you are throwing the weight off of your carton!"
Thurman has a point. If you're working your way across the box in a single direction without any consideration for balance, you could be setting yourself up for a carton that may wobble in your hands and end up on the floor—especially if you have children. "I have a young kid at home, and it's best not to tempt fate when he takes eggs out of the fridge with one hand," says Monti Carlo, a Food Network personality and co-founder of Everything Food. "So I take out eggs two from the left and then two from the right to keep the balance."
As much sense as that makes, not everyone agrees.
"I love eggs and feel quite passionate about how they should be handled," says Heather Jones, proprietor of the food blog Frosted Kale, and a person who spends a lot of time in the kitchen. "I believe that working your way from one end across the carton to the other end is obviously the best way. Now, there is inherent danger present when proceeding in this manner. You should proceed with caution. The carton's weight will be unevenly distributed and will undoubtedly become lopsided. But, what can I say, I like to live on the edge."
Surprisingly, however, the linear method and the "out-to-in" methods aren't the only options available to egg lovers. If you want, you can get even more creative.
"I take the middle eggs out first, and then one from each side every time after that," says Walton Holcomb, a career kitchen worker who is now a barista and owner of the site Brew Smartly, who imposes a more artful geometry on his egg carton. "So, say it's a box of six eggs. I take the middle two first, and then left bottom and right top. This keeps things well balanced!"
So which is the right—and wrong—way—of successfully removing eggs from the carton? For further answers, we reached out to a James Beard-nominated chef at an upscale restaurant for her unique vantage on the subject.
"The right way to take your eggs out of the carton is however you feel inspired," says Executive Chef Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, in Phoenix, Arizona. "Sometimes I hold the carton with my left hand and pluck them out one-by-one—or even two-by-two with my right hand. Sometimes I lay it flat on the counter and take them out one-by-one based on how pretty I think they are. You just have to let the eggs inspire you and roll with it."
Simply put, the wrong way is the one that doesn't work for you.
Whatever method you choose, just make sure that you're storing them correctly inside your refrigerator. "They should never be stored in the doorway where temperatures fluctuate," says the Food Network's Monti Carlo. "It's best to store in the center of the fridge, where temps are consistent."
For more reporting on your favorite foods, make sure you're fully aware of What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Eggs Every Day, According to Experts.