Have you ever had an egg freeze in your fridge? Maybe the carton got pushed to the back of the fridge – where the temperature tends to be coldest. Or perhaps you abesent-mindedly placed the carton of eggs in the freezer instead of the fridge. Duh!
It happens more than you’d think, at least based on the number of calls I get from consumers asking what to do with an egg that has frozen in its shell.
You can freeze a raw egg, but it shouldn’t be frozen in its shell. The contents of the shell will expand as the egg gets colder, likely causing the shell to crack.
Another change that occurs when an egg freezes is in the texture of the yolk. And once the texture has changed, you can’t change it back to its original state. Unless you “prepare” the yolk for the big chill, once it freezes completely, it will gel or solidify to such a state that you can cut it with a knife.
You can cook and eat the thawed white but you won’t be able to whisk or beat the egg white and firm yolk together to use in a cake or to make an omelette or scrambled eggs. The texture of the yolk will make it too firm to blend with the white.
If you want to freeze egg yolks to save them for future use, you can prevent this yolk transformation from happening by whisking them with a little salt, sugar or corn syrup.
Here’s how to freeze egg yolks: whisk together either 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt or 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) sugar or corn syrup per 1/4 cup (50 mL) egg yolks (about 4 yolks). Pour the yolk mixture into a freezer container and cover it with a tight-fitting lid. Label the container with the number of yolks, the date, and whether you added salt (for main dishes) or sweetener (for baking and desserts). Freeze for up to 4 months. To use, thaw the yolks in the fridge. Substitute 1 tbsp (15 mL) of thawed yolk for 1 large fresh yolk.
How about how to freeze whole eggs? Whisk eggs until just blended. Pour them into a freezer container and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Label the container with the number of eggs and the date. Freeze for up to 4 months. To use, thaw the eggs in the fridge. Substitute 3 tbsp (45 mL) for 1 large fresh egg.
Finally, how to freeze egg whites: pour whites into a freezer container and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Label the container with the number of egg whites and the date. Freeze for up to 4 months. To use, thaw the whites in the fridge. Substitute 2 tbsp (30 mL) of thawed egg white for 1 large fresh egg white.
You can also freeze hard-cooked (hard-boiled) egg yolks. (They can be used as toppings or garnishes for salads or casseroles.) Freeze the yolk in small quantities so you can thaw just what you need. An ice cube tray works well for this!
I don’t recommend freezing whole hard-cooked eggs as they will be tough and watery when thawed.