and Eggs - What you should know
Call For Raw or Lightly Cooked Eggs - Tips
and ways to ensure the safety of eggs in food
for Eggs -Technique is essential to perfectly
USDA Meat and
Poultry Hotline - Don't just guess! Pick up the
phone and call!
Salmonella and Eggs
- What You Should Know:
- There is an ever-growing concern
about the threat of salmonella, bacteria that contaminate eggs
- We often eat eggs lightly cooked
and even raw which pose a greater threat.
- There is no way of knowing the
degree of risk when eating raw or lightly cooked eggs.
- It has been recommend that immuno-compromised
patients, the very young and the elderly, all of whom are the
most severely affected when stricken, should not eat raw or lightly
- Those who are consuming eggs
that have not been cooked to 165°F (75°C) are doing so
at their own risk.
- You can take comfort in the
knowledge that eggs in cakes, cookies and breads have been sufficiently
cooked to be safe.
Recipes Call for Raw or Lightly Cooked Eggs:
Although the overall risk of
egg contamination is very small, the risk of foodborne illness
from eggs is highest in raw and lightly cooked dishes. To eliminate
risk and ensure food safety, replace all your recipes calling
for raw or lightly cooked eggs with cooked egg recipes or use
pasteurized eggs or egg products when you prepare them. To cook
eggs for these recipes, use the following methods to adapt your
Cooking Whole Eggs for Use
in Recipes As
a nutritious combination of egg whites and yolks, whole eggs
should be fully cooked for assured safety in recipes that call
for raw or lightly cooked eggs. 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 (70°C).
Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the
egg mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe.
Cooking Egg Yolks for Use
in Recipes Because
egg yolks are a fine growth medium for bacteria, cook them for
use in mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing,
chilled souffles, chiffons, mousses and other recipes calling
for raw egg yolks. The following 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 (70°C). Immediately
place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the yolk mixture
is cool. Proceed with the recipe.
Cooking Egg Whites for Use
in Recipes Cooking
egg whites before use in all recipes is recommended for full
safety. The following 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. Pour into
a large bowl. Beat on high speed until the whites stand in soft
peaks. Proceed with the recipe.
- Note that 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.
- Making an Italian meringue by
adding hot sugar syrup to egg whites while beating them does
not bring the egg whites to much above 125°F (50°C) and
is not recommended except for dishes that are further cooked.
If, however, you bring the sugar syrup all the way to the hardball
stage (250 to 266°F / 120°C to 125°C), the whites
will reach a high enough temperature. You can use a sugar syrup
at hardball stage for Divinity and similar recipes.
Alternatives for Raw Egg Whites You can use pasteurized dried
or refrigerated liquid egg whites. Egg substitutes often contain
gums and/or added salt which can hamper foaming.
Pasteurized dried and liquid
egg whites on the retail market 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.
Using Pasteurized Shell Eggs Pasteurized shell eggs are heat-treated
to destroy any bacteria, should they be present, and are especially
suitable for preparing egg recipes that are not fully cooked,
but may also be used for other recipes, including baked goods.
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 much time 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
If pasteurized shell eggs are
not available in your area, use the cooking methods outlined
above or, in place of raw egg whites, use pasteurized dried or
liquid egg whites.
Temperature for Eggs:
- Technique is essential
to perfectly cooked eggs
- No matter what technique you
use, it is essential to use low, gentle heat when cooking eggs:
egg protein begins to thicken at only 144°F (60°C), and
- The exception to the above rule
would be omelets as the bottom is cooked rather quickly over
medium-high heat, but the surface remains slightly runny, making
for a soft interior when folded.
- Serve cooked eggs on warm, not
fire-hot plates, or they will continue to cook after they are
removed from the pan.
Meat and Poultry Hotline:
Don't guess! Pick up the phone and call!
- Not sure how long meat can be
kept in the freezer?
- Don't know how long to cook
hamburger to kill those nasty illness-causing bacteria?
- Don't just guess! Pick up the
phone and talk to the food experts who staff the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry hotline.
- It's almost inconceivable in
this world of impersonal voice mail, but living, breathing home
economists, food technologists, and registered dietitians staff
the hotline from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time every day of
- All you need to do is call (800)
535-4555. If you live in Washington, D.C. area, the number is
- For off-hour questions, the
hotline offers an extensive selection of food safety recordings
that you can hear 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the
help of your touch-tone phone.