How can eggs be frozen and their shelf life extended?

Eggs are exceptional foods for their nutritional richness. Its protein is the most complete and is used by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a reference standard to compare other protein foods. So the high nutritional value can be used for a long time when freezing eggs.

It has a very balanced fat intake, it is the best source of choline, vitamin A, D, E, B2, B12, phosphorus, iron, zinc, among other nutrients. But it is not only nutritious; the egg is also of great culinary interest, due to its versatility in the kitchen.

As a functional ingredient it imparts color, texture, shine and flavor to different preparations. It is the star of tortillas, soufflés, puddings, desserts and other more elaborate foods, such as mayonnaise.

We can use them fresh or as egg products, that is, pasteurized, powdered or frozen. Some food technologists emphasize that freezing is one of the most used and practical methods to preserve eggs without modifying the nutritional, culinary and functional aspects. They can be kept intact in different ways: whole without the shell, separated into egg white and yolk, shakes or added ingredients.

What should I take into account to freeze the eggs?

As stated by different Spanish egg production associations, the first thing we must consider for storage is to respect good hygiene practices during handling. With this we avoid food poisoning, such as contamination by Salmonella.

On the other hand, if you want to obtain quality eggs and preparations, before freezing you must take into account the following recommendations:

  • Egg selection: according to European Union egg marketing standards, eggs must be selected according to certain freshness criteria. They must have a clean, intact and normal skin. The air chamber must not be more than 6 millimeters high and the white must be transparent, without spots, gelatinous and without foreign matter. The yolk should always be centered in the white.
  • Remove the shell: the water contained in the white and the yolk, when frozen, forms ice crystals that increase the volume and break the shell. This would cause the entire contents of the egg to leak out and spill into the freezer.
  • Do not cook them: the white of cooked eggs when frozen acquires a rubbery texture that is very unpleasant. Therefore it is recommended that the eggs are fresh before taking them to the freezer.

Eggs have a nutritional and culinary profile that makes them a widely distributed and global product.

How to freeze fresh eggs?

Remember that an important step before freezing is the sanitization and freshness of the eggs. Let's take a step-by-step look at how to freeze them to maintain the quality of taste, appearance and texture.

Read also: Do ​​you keep your eggs in or out of the fridge?

Whole egg

  1. Break the shell clean and extracts the white and yolk content without separating.
  2. In a bucket type container for ice you must place the white and the yolk corresponding to each unit of egg or you can beat them gently. In this way, the thawed mixture will be ready before adding the ingredients of your choice.
  3. Take it to the freezer and wait at least 4 hours before freezing.
  4. Then add each frozen egg cube to a resealable thermal bag. Inside the bag it is guaranteed that the egg does not absorb strong odors that modify its flavor. In addition, it is a more secure form of protection against cold burn.

Egg white

Frozen egg white can enhance foaming properties, as published in the magazine Food Chemistry. Freezing denatures some proteins in the egg white that benefit its surfactant properties, allowing a better union with the air.

These whites are ideal for making meringues, ice cream and biscuits. Follow the next steps:

  1. Break the shell and with an egg separator or other kitchen container, separate the white from the yolk. Do not use your hands or the same shell, since you run the risk of contaminating it.
  2. Place it in the ice bucket and then frozen you can keep it in an insulated bag or special container for freezing.
  3. Maintain the temperature of the freezer to guarantee the properties of the white.

Yolk

Some researchers showed that the formation of water crystals during freezing of the yolk causes dehydration of proteins and their union to form a protein network that gels, modifying the texture.

The addition of sugar or salt crystals can prevent large ice crystals from forming and thus gelling. To ensure a good frozen yolk, follow these recommendations:

  1. Break the shell and separate the yolk with a separator or other kitchen container. Do not use the peel to separate it, as it can contaminate it. You must lightly beat the yolks to homogenize them.
  2. Add to the yolk mixture, 2 to 10% salt if you are going to prepare a salty recipe later or 8 to 10% sugar in the case of making a sweet preparation.
  3. Freeze them in the ice bucket and then store them in the special freezer bag or container.

What is the shelf life of the product when freezing eggs?

Freezing the eggs at -12 ºC can extend the shelf life of eggs for 1 year. Deep-frozen foods that are kept at -18ºC can last for several years.

Keeping the freezing temperature constant is essential to increase the shelf life of the eggs. On the other hand, the freshness of the whole egg, the white and the yolk ensures its sensory, nutritional and functional characteristics to obtain quality food preparations or products.

Discover: How to know if the eggs are bad

How to defrost the eggs and use them?

It is important to learn how to defrost eggs so that there are no alterations at the time of culinary use.

Eggs should be thawed slowly in the refrigerator overnight or by dropping cold water under pressure on the bag or container without uncovering. Do not defrost at room temperature, next to the kitchen or where sunlight hits.

Once defrosted, you must ensure that the yolk coagulates, that is, a temperature of 71 ºC is reached. Proper cooking avoids poisoning transmitted by the consumption of raw or contaminated eggs. To prepare biscuits, meringues and cakes, baking ensures the safety of the product.

The Institute for Egg Studies recommends avoid eating eggs when there are many fluctuations in temperature freezing and thawing. Likewise, when the eggs are kept at more than 4ºC for a long time or have a bad smell when opening the packaging, they must be discarded.

Savory or sweet dishes can be prepared, such as cheese and vegetable scramble, omelettes, egg toast, egg and ham croquettes, mayonnaise, baked goods (cookies, muffins, cakes, dairy ice cream, cheese and egg gnocchi, meatloaf and vegetables with eggs), among many other traditional preparations or gourmet.

Is it convenient to consume frozen eggs?

Of course yes. Freezing does not destroy the nutritional value of the eggs. Changes in the texture of the frozen egg can be corrected with the application of a good freezing technique. The yolk, for example, must be added with sugar or salt to avoid changes to the palate.

Enjoy your meal!

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