Dairy Foods: Eggs, Butter and Milk
Sizing up eggs
Eggs are graded according to weight, and most recipes assume size three unless otherwise stated. Children sometimes prefer smaller eggs and those with heartier appetites larger ones, so buy what suits your family best. Here’s what you’ll be getting:
|Grade 1 70g or more.Grade 2 65g – 70g
Grade 3 60g – 65g
Grade 4 55g – 60g
Grade 5 50g – 55g
Grade 6 45g-50g
Grade 7 Below 45g
All types of butter have to contain at least 78 per cent natural milk fat but flavours do vary, so experiment until you find a favourite.
• Most British butter is of the ‘sweetcream’ type, which is mild and delicate in flavour.
• Continental or ‘lactic’ butters (usually wrapped in silver foil and labelled ‘salted’ or ‘unsalted’) have a full flavour and fine texture.
The fat content must be no less than 80 per cent, and no more than 10 per cent of it can come from milk. Margarines also have to have vitamins A and D added to bring them up to the same level as butter.
Polyunsaturated margarine The fat content is the same as other margarines, but at least 45 per cent of the fats must be polyunsaturated.
They’re made from the same ingredients as margarine – vegetable oils and fats, water and vitamins A and D – but the proportion of fat is lower (sometimes as low as 25 per cent) and the amount of water much greater. This makes them fine for spreading on bread, but not usually for cooking. The water can make toast soggy.
Which milk to buy?
Pasteurised whole milk (silver top)
Whole milk is rich and creamy at the top and thinner lower down. Suitable for babies and small children, but not for anyone trying to cut down on fat.
Homogenised milk (red top)
Whole milk that has the cream evenly distributed is sold as homogenised milk. The fat content is the same as for silver top, so it’s suitable for children but not for those who want less fat.
Channel Islands milk (gold top)
The richest milk of all, with a minimum of 4 per cent fat and a delicious, creamy taste. Use it for special occasions or where taste is important-in filter coffee, hot chocolate or creamy desserts and custards, for example.
Sterilised milk (blue top or crown cap)
Particularly useful if you’re not a regular milk drinker, since it keeps unopened for several months without refrigeration. Also handy for taking on trips or going camping.
Ultra-heat-treated milk (UHT or longlife)
UHT milk comes in cartons that are easy to store, and unopened packs will last up to six months. Use it as a standby or for egg custards or homemade yoghurt, where it works particularly well.
Semi-skimmed milk (red and silver striped top)
The lower fat content makes semi-skimmed milk unsuitable for small children, but it’s a good compromise for adults who want the taste of whole milk without the fat.
Skimmed milk (blue and silver checked top)
Don’t give it to children, because of the very low fat content, but use it if you want to cut right down on fat for slimming or health reasons.
DO NOT leave milk sitting on the doorstep longer than necessary if you have it delivered to your home, especially on a warm, sunny day. Exposure to sunlight will rob it of vitamins and rapidly turn it sour.