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The Incredible Egg wants your food eggsperience to be delicious and safe. So what do you do when a favorite dish calls for raw or lightly cooked eggs?
For example, egg yolks are the star ingredient in mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, chilled souffles, chiffons, mousses and other recipes, but they don’t have to be raw. In fact, eggs should always be fully cooked before being consumed.
To ensure food safety, you can use either pasteurized eggs/egg products OR cooked eggs in dishes calling for raw or lightly cooked eggs.
Now you may be thinking, “Cooked eggs in a dish that calls for raw eggs?! That’s crazy!”
Rest assured, the only thing cracked about this method is the eggs…
How to cook whole eggs before using them in a dish
The following method can be used with any number of eggs and works for a variety of recipes
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the eggs and either sugar, water or other liquid from the recipe (at least 1/4 cup sugar, liquid or a combination per egg). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the egg mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film or reaches 160◦F. Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe.
Most retailers also carry pasteurized eggs that are available in their original shells. All egg products sold at retail, like liquid eggs in the egg case, are also pasteurized.
How to cook egg yolks before using them in a dish
This method can be used with any number of yolks:
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the egg yolks and liquid from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons liquid per yolk). Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the yolk mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film, bubbles at the edges or reaches 160◦F. Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the yolk mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe.
How to cook egg whites before using them in a dish
This method can be used with any number of whites and works for chilled desserts as well as Seven-Minute Frosting, Royal Icing and other frosting recipes calling for raw egg whites:
In a heavy saucepan, the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over water in a saucepan, stir together the egg whites and sugar from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons sugar per white), water (1 teaspoon per white) and cream of tartar (1/8 teaspoon per each 2 whites). Cook over low heat or simmering water, beating constantly with a portable mixer at low speed, until the whites reach 160◦F, do not allow the mixture to form a foam in the pan. Pour into a large bowl. Beat on high speed until the whites stand in soft peaks. Proceed with the recipe.
NOTE: You must use sugar to keep the whites from coagulating too rapidly. Test with a thermometer as there is no visual clue to doneness. If you use an unlined aluminum saucepan, eliminate the cream of tartar or the two will react and create an unattractive gray meringue.
What are the best egg white alternatives to use in dishes?
You can use pasteurized dried or refrigerated liquid egg whites. Refrigerated liquid egg substitutes often contain gums and/or added salt that can hamper foaming, so check the ingredient statement carefully. Pasteurized dried and plain liquid egg whites at retail either contain no other ingredients (for recipes where little foaming is required) or contain only a whipping agent (for recipes that require a stable foam). Follow package directions to substitute dried or refrigerated liquid egg whites for raw egg whites or use about 2 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons dried egg white or 2 to 3 tablespoons liquid egg white for each Large egg white.
How to use pasteurized shell eggs
Pasteurized shell eggs are heat-treated to destroy any bacteria, if present, and are especially suitable for dishes that call for eggs that are not fully cooked. They may also be used for other recipes, including baked goods.
Note: The heating process may create cloudiness in the whites and increase the beating time needed for foam formation. When you separate pasteurized shell eggs for beating, allow up to about four times as long for full foam formation to occur in egg whites as you would for the whites of regular eggs. Prepare other recipes as usual.
You can keep pasteurized shell eggs refrigerated for at least 30 days from the pack date (a three-digit number on the short side of the carton which represents the day of the year, with 1 = January 1 and 365 = December 31), but do not freeze them.
If pasteurized shell eggs are not available in your area, use the cooking methods outlined above, and in place of raw egg whites, use pasteurized dried or liquid egg whites.
Never reuse egg cartons
Egg cartons are considered one-time-use packaging, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). All eggs sold at retail are washed and sanitized before going into clean, new cartons, eliminating bacteria that may have been present on the shell. But bacteria could creep back into the picture as eggs are handled at stores and in homes. It’s a good idea to discard used egg cartons and not reuse them. Recycle them, if you can.
Egg shells should never be put back in the carton after cracking them if there are still intact eggs left in the carton. Bacteria has the potential to be on the outside, as well as the inside of an egg, and mixing cracked eggs with intact eggs greatly increases the risk of bacteria transfer by hands, utensils, air, etc.