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Cool Science - Magic Eggs

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Cool Science - Magic Eggs

Eggs and egg whites are a delicious part of many popular desserts, such as meringues. When egg whites foam up, it looks like magic. But it’s actually just science.

You'll need:
4 egg whites (room temperature)
1 cup of white sugar

First, we’ll check the eggs for freshness by measuring the air in it. Place the egg in a bowl of cold water. If it sinks, the pocket of air inside the egg is small, indicating that you have a fresh egg. If the egg floats, the air pocket has had time to grow, and the egg is NOT fresh.

Now let’s see those foamy egg whites … Egg whites are made up of 90% protein and only 10% water. The protein contains two kinds of molecules: ones that are attracted to water AND ones that repel it. So the egg whites don’t stick together in a completely solid shape.

But whisking or stirring the egg white also adds air, which causes the water and egg protein molecules to move around. The egg proteins rise to the surface, forcing the water molecules apart and forming the “bubble” film that you see!

This is why it's best to add any sugar your recipe calls for AFTER beating your egg whites. Because the sugar molecules will get in the way of the egg proteins, not allowing them to spread out enough, … which will mean MORE time spent whisking!

So, the next time you decide to whisk up a delicious dessert that uses egg whites, you'll be playing with molecules!

Now that's cool science!

For more information visit http://sciencenorth.ca/thunderbay.