Egg Storage and Handling

Proper storage of eggs is essential to preserve quality and cooking characteristics. Poor storage conditions can reduce AA grade eggs to B grade eggs within a few days. The principle degrading factors are high storage temperature and dehydration. Eggs held for one day at room temperature of 70°F. or higher will loose more quality than a refrigerated egg stored for one week. Storing eggs in cartons at 40°F (4°C) to 50°F (10°C). will maintain Grade A status for several weeks.

Improper storage will produce easily observed changes including:

  • A change of thick albumen to watery albumen.
  • Enlargement of yolk that breaks easily when the shell is broken.
  • Enlargement of the air cell.
  • Absorption of off-odors and off-flavors if stored near pungent foods.

Proper storage conditions will minimize changes to egg quality.

Eggs are best stored in the carton in which they were packaged. Place them in the rear of the refrigerator away from foods with strong odors (onions, apples, cabbage, and various fruits). Do not store eggs in trays molded into the refrigerator door. Exposure to warm, dry air when the door opens will quickly reduce egg quality.

Eggs are often stored after breaking or cooking. Place hard-cooked eggs in the refrigerator as soon as they are cool and use them within one week. Raw egg whites will keep 7-10 days if refrigerated in tightly covered containers. Unbroken raw egg yolks should be covered with water, placed in a tightly covered container, refrigerated, and used within 2 to 3 days.

Raw egg contents and hard-cooked yolks can be successfully frozen. Hard-cooked whole eggs or albumen will become tough and rubbery if frozen. Eggs cannot be successfully frozen while in the shell.

Freeze raw egg albumen by pouring them into freezer containers and sealing tightly prior to freezing. An alternative method is to freeze each egg albumen in an ice cube tray and then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer container for long-term storage. In this way, the contents of each egg can be kept separate and measurement of egg contents is unnecessary.

Yolks or whole eggs require special treatment before freezing. When frozen, the yolk may thicken or gel. Slow gelling by adding 1/8 teaspoon salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar or corn syrup for each four yolks or two whole eggs.

Thaw frozen eggs overnight in the refrigerator or under cold running water. Use yolks or whole eggs as soon as they are thawed. Albumen will beat to a greater volume if allowed to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Salted egg contents can be used in main dishes or baked goods and sweetened eggs can be used in desserts. The finished product may be somewhat thicker than if made with fresh eggs.

Source: Mississippi State University Extension Service: http://www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/4heggs.htm

Related Links:

Egg Characteristics

Egg Nutritional Composition

Egg Quality Determination

Egg Cooking Methods

Egg Equivalent Amounts

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