Monday, January 17, 2011

Can You Freeze Eggs? An Inadvertant Eggsperiment

I'd loaded up at Costco, came home, parked in the heated garage, and took the purchases out of the car.  Except I forget the egg carton which I'd stuck inside of a cardboard box and thus didn't see.

The next day I had a couple of events which required the car to be out in close to 0˚F (-18˚C) for about five hours.  I brought the eggs into the house and let them thaw on the counter.  Then I took one out and cracked it.  

It was just fine.

But I thought I'd check the internet to see what others said.

The US Government's Food Safety Inspection Service: 

Frozen Eggs
Shell eggs should not be frozen. If an egg accidentally freezes and the shell cracked during freezing, discard the egg. Keep any uncracked eggs frozen until needed; then thaw in the refrigerator. These can be hard cooked successfully but other uses may be limited. That's because freezing causes the yolk to become thick and syrupy so it will not flow like an unfrozen yolk or blend very well with the egg white or other ingredients.

 Can fresh eggs be frozen for later use (out of the shell, of course)? The best buys in eggs are in a package of 18. For two people, it’s a long time to keep them in the refrigerator.

 You can, but we’re not sure it’s worth it. Yolks don’t take to freezing very well. They become very gelatinous and you usually mix separated yolks with a bit or salt or sugar before you freeze them to keep them from turning to rubber (and you label them well so you don’t have to guess if you mixed them with salt or with sugar). Raw egg whites do not suffer from freezing (cooked egg whites are very rubbery after freezing).
If you’re going to freeze whole eggs, remove them from the shells, and mix them well before freezing. They can be kept frozen for a year, and should be thawed in the refrigerator the day before you intend to use them. You might try freezing a few eggs and see if the results are acceptable to you.

"out of the shell, of course."  But my eggs had been in the shell.  Well, I should have taken a picture of a frozen shell, so I put one outside overnight.  It was below 0˚ F.   And here's what it looked like when I brought it back in.

It was frozen solid, and it had cracked.  Perhaps the original carton of eggs had been insulated enough, inside the car, inside the egg carton, inside a box.  Probably they hadn't frozen completely solid, enough to crack the egg. 

So I let this one thaw.

And the albumin oozed out a little - on the bottom it stuck to the bowl.  But when I cracked it open, it looked just like the top picture.  The yolk looked perhaps a little more solid, but not as bad as described above.  And when I beat the egg white, it got stiff, but it didn't have peaks, but rather was flat and heavy.  I wonder if there are some interesting new recipe possibilities using the beaten egg white of a formerly frozen egg. 

Where you live affects what you know about the world.  When we first moved to Alaska from California so long ago, I learned the hard way that I couldn't leave a glass bottle of juice in the car in winter, but I could leave ice cream. 

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