Hard-boiled eggs make great Easter eggs. But what do you do with all those raw eggs once they’ve come out of their shells? Maybe a 12 egg omelet isn’t on the cards?
Maybe you got here because of an egg overload unrelated to Easter. Maybe you just ended up with more eggs than you can cook. While browsing Chef Ashley Christensen and Kaitlyn Goalen’s cookbook, It’s Always Freezer Season: How to Freeze Like a Chef with 100 Make-Ahead Recipes, I came across two brilliant ways to preserve eggs until you be prepared to eat them. The first: cook a dish made with eggs to freeze to serve later. The second: go ahead, freeze them raw. Yes, believed.
I immediately thought, can you actually freeze raw eggs? Would they even taste good afterwards? I knew that to get the details I had to ask my questions to the experts themselves. Christensen and Goalen informed me that while the short answer is yes, you can freeze raw eggs, first there are a few things to consider. “The most important thing to consider is texture, because usually it is what changes the most during freezing.
Christensen and Goalen explain that a different texture doesn’t necessarily mean a bad texture. You can expect the eggs to lose some of their creaminess and you will find that the yolks will not have the same thick and runny consistency. But as long as you use the right freezing, thawing, and cooking methods, you’ll have plenty of options to use your egg reserve.
When to freeze them
Usually, while cooking with fresh eggs is ideal, says Christensen, it makes sense to freeze raw eggs when you have extra. She says, “Sometimes your friends who have chickens bring you eggs,” and with only two people in her house, she has to think about how best to use the ingredient, especially if they are leaving town.
You can also make excess egg yourself if you only need to use part of the egg for a recipe. “You have all those nice egg yolks left when you make a meringue or soufflé, or you have all those nice egg whites left when you make a sauce,” Christensen says.
How to freeze them
Rule number one: don’t freeze eggs in their shells. Freezing raw eggs increases the water content inside, which can break the shells. Instead, crack the eggs into a bowl, whisk them together, and pour them into an ice cube tray or muffin pan. The whisk incorporates the fatty yolks into the whites, which helps maintain their texture in the freezer.
If you want to save yourself a few dishes, you can crack your eggs directly into a large ice cube tray or muffin pan, then whip them individually using a fork (although the lack of space in the tray or pan makes it a little more difficult to fully incorporate the yolks and whites).
Also Read: Are eggs good for you or not?
In On Food & Cooking, Harold McGee recommends adding salt, sugar, or acid to keep the best egg texture when freezing. Per quart, the yolks will require a teaspoon of salt (or a tablespoon of sugar or four tablespoons of lemon juice) – for whole eggs, cut these additions in half. Be sure to keep track of how much salt, sugar or lemon you add and adjust your final recipe accordingly.
It should be noted that eggs are likely to take on the flavors and aromas of any other food that is in your freezer, so if you are freezing raw eggs in ice cube trays or muffin tins, it is best to freeze them. transfer to a resealable bag or container after approximately 24 hours. “At this point, they’ll hold their shape and then they’ll be protected from other flavors and scents,” Goalen says.
How to thaw them
“As with almost all ingredients, how you thaw eggs is just as important as how you freeze them.” If you toss the frozen eggs straight into a hot pan, warns Goalen, “you’ll get something really chewy and tight.”
To slowly thaw frozen eggs, take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge the night before cooking. Goalen explains “With a sensitive protein like eggs, you want to bring them up to temperature as slowly as possible, but also keep them below 40 degrees.”
How to cook them
Adding dairy, flour, or some other form of starch can help restore your eggs to some of their rich texture. The best recipes for using frozen eggs are therefore those that already contain these ingredients, such as a quiche or a creamy macaroni and cheese.
Christensen says she would avoid baking recipes where you expect a light and airy structure; In The Science of Good Cooking, the editors of America’s Test Kitchen agree that using previously frozen egg whites can leave you with a deflated angel food cake.
Still, frozen eggs can be handy on the go for washing eggs on a pie crust – and Christensen offers a tip for reviving the texture of frozen eggs for a simple yet luxurious scramble: just add cottage cheese. Christensen says, “Once the eggs are thawed, beat in some dairy products.” Its recommended ratio: ½ cup of cottage cheese for eight eggs.
If you’ve frozen your whites and yolks separately, Christensen highly recommends using the yolks to enrich velvety sauces, such as béarnaise. And you can certainly use the whites as a binder for homemade granola or to make a frothy cocktail. Let’s just say I’m no longer a frozen egg skeptic – as I write this there’s a muffin pan full of eggs in the freezer calling my name.