Have you ever wondered about the ins and outs of freezing eggs? It can be done in some specific circumstances, but it’s important to be aware of good food hygiene and not freeze eggs in the wrong conditions. Freezing whole eggs or peeled boiled eggs isn’t a good idea.
Can you eat eggs that have been frozen? No, you may not want to eat a shelled egg that has been accidentally frozen, especially if the shell has cracked. A crack in the eggshell allows bacteria to get into the egg, which could make you sick. Eggs can be frozen if you follow the proper method, but not in their shells.
Why Can’t You Freeze Whole Eggs?
It might seem like a good idea to just put a whole egg in the freezer if it’s going to expire before you can use it, but you shouldn’t do this because the shell will probably break, or at least crack, and this lets bacteria into the egg.
We all know that liquids expand when frozen, and if the inside of the egg tries to expand, it is very likely to break the shell. If the shell cracks, bacteria can get into the egg, and this will make it unsafe to eat, even if you cook it once it has been thawed.
If you have already frozen whole eggs, they should be okay to eat provided the shells have not cracked. Thaw the egg in the fridge once you are ready to use it, and use it up as soon as it has defrosted.
If you discover that the egg has cracked, however, you should discard it because bacteria will have had an opportunity to enter the egg, and there is no way of knowing if you’re at risk of salmonella or other food-borne illnesses.
You shouldn’t freeze hard-boiled eggs either, because these are likely to break in the freezer, which will create a mess. This isn’t a health risk, but the eggs also won’t have a great texture. The white will go rubbery and the yolk might take on a powdery, chalky texture, so they aren’t very nice to eat once frozen.
How Should You Freeze Eggs?
The best way is to break the eggs into a clean bowl and whisk up the yolk and the white. This will help you to store them in a sterile environment and may help to preserve the texture of the eggs better.
You can also freeze just egg whites or just egg yolks if you choose to, but egg yolks do not cope well with being frozen and will take on a syrupy, gelatinous texture. This makes them impossible to use in cooking.
If you want to freeze egg yolks for baking at a later date, try adding one and a half teaspoons of sugar or half a teaspoon of salt per 240 ml of egg. Use salt if the egg is intended for a savory recipe, and sugar otherwise. This should help to preserve the original texture of the egg yolk.
Once your egg yolks, whites, or egg mix is ready to be frozen, transfer it to a clean, freezer-safe container and make sure that it has a tight lid. It should be safe to store like this for up to twelve months, but you may find that it has a better taste and texture if it is used up promptly.
It’s a good idea to check that eggs are clean and free from cracks before you decide to freeze them, as the presence of either thing could result in a higher risk of bacteria being present on or in the egg.
You should also avoid freezing eggs that are very close to their expiry date if possible, as these are more likely to have bacteria on the shells, and may not stand up to freezing particularly well.
How Do You Safely Thaw Eggs?
So, when use-up time comes, how do you thaw the egg? Treat egg somewhat like meat. You should take it out of the freezer and place it straight in the fridge to defrost. How long it takes will depend on the quantity of egg you have frozen.
If you need to speed up the process, you can run the egg container under the cold tap or immerse it in cold water (refreshing frequently to maintain the temperature) until it is liquid again. Use it immediately in cooking.
You shouldn’t let frozen egg sit on the side until it has defrosted, as bacteria could get into the egg and give you food poisoning when you consume it.
If you notice that a thawed egg smells bad, discard it instead of cooking it, even if you have followed all the directions and it should have been fine to eat. A smell of sulfur is a sign that the egg is old and not suitable for consumption, and you should pay attention to this.
Don’t eat a bad-smelling egg just because it should be okay; food poisoning isn’t worth the risk!
Can You Refreeze Eggs?
No, you should not refreeze a thawed egg, or products that contain egg. The risk of salmonella or other food-borne bacteria is too high, so it isn’t considered safe.
If you have changed your mind about needing the egg, you can keep it safely in the fridge for a couple of days once it has thawed. It can also be used for scrambled eggs or in cakes, etc., but it cannot be returned to the freezer.
You should also avoid refreezing quiches, cakes, pies, and custards. These products need to be eaten or thrown away, as they are not safe for refreezing. Once something containing egg has been removed from the freezer, it must be consumed or discarded.
Frozen eggs are fine to eat, yes. Whether you have accidentally frozen an egg or you wish to freeze your eggs for a later date, they are safe provided the shells are intact or removed, and the eggs were fresh and handled correctly at the point of freezing. Thaw with care, and your frozen eggs should be perfectly safe to eat.