Extra yolks? Extra whites?

January 4th, 2011  |  40 Comments

Oh, egg whites, how you taunt me.

And egg yolks, you stare back at me with your beady yellowness every time I open the fridge.

All because I dared make some desserts that didn’t include one of you. And now you’re left over, like an unwanted stray, and I don’t have the heart to toss you out.

Even with the best of intentions, even when I plan on using you up, I sometimes don’t get around to you soon enough. You get your revenge by going bad. I’m forced to sacrifice you to the trash, and that’s no good for either of us.

Well, those days are over, oh egg parts. Not since I learned you can be frozen has a single one gotten away. Yep, frozen.

Yolks, you try to resist. You don’t freeze quite as well as the whites. You become a bit gelatinous when frozen. In order to avoid that, I first add a pinch of salt, about 1/8 teaspoon for every 4 yolks, scramble you up, and freeze. That helps alleviate the problem.

When I’m ready to use you in, say, this lemon curd, or this ginger ice cream, I simply defrost your chilly selves and proceed with the recipe as written. Can you tell this curd was made with frozen yolks? I can’t.

Whites, you are much less tempermental.

All I have to do is wrap the bowl with plastic. Then with a Sharpie, I mark how many specimens are in the midst before freezing.

Next time I make a meringue or a sponge, you’re ready to go as soon as you thaw. The meringue whips up just as billowy as your fresh counterpart.

Yolks and whites, you may get separated from each other, but never will you get separated from me.

40 Responses to “Extra yolks? Extra whites?”

  1. Zo says:

    It’s amazing how little tips like these changed the way I looked at recipes and opened the range of things I could do – I now make mayo and all sorts of egg yolk intensive recipes without worrying about whites being wasted (especially since I’ve discovered the joy that is financiers/friands). Cheers for the tip about yolks too!

  2. Michelle says:

    You’re brilliant. I wouldn’t have ever thought of this. Thanks for the tip.

  3. You need a dog. They eat up leftovers quick as a wink. Barring that, here’s what you can do. For egg whites, you can always whip up a recipe of meringues. And those yolks? Did anyone say mayonnaise? Plus both products can be used on your face and hair. Yolks help to clear up angry zitty skin, and the whites make a dandy hair snot stuff.

  4. Amy says:

    So, how long do you think they “keep” once frozen? I have never heard of this! To thaw what do you do/how? Thanks!

  5. PastryPal says:

    Amy — They keep for a couple of months, maybe longer, if your freezer is not prone to freezer burn like mine is. To thaw, just take the bowl out of the freezer and put it in the fridge, until they defrost. This can take a few hours or overnight. I needed my frozen egg whites right away, so I left them on the counter to defrost, and that just took an hour.

  6. Joanne says:

    Wow this is a crazy awesome tip! I would never have thought of this. Usually I just avoid recipes if they call for an extreme number of whites and yolks but NO MORE. Meringues. Custards. you have opened up the world to me.

  7. PastryPal says:

    Joanne — I’m glad you will no longer be a stranger to meringues and custards. I used to avoid them too, but depriving oneself of all that deliciousness just seems so wrong :).

  8. Aji says:

    Thanks for the tips!

    I suddenly remember our country’s history. Back in the Spanish Era, egg whites were used as binder to build lots of churches. That’s a lot of unused yolks which resulted in a lot of yolk-based sweets because it would all end up discarded with the lack of refrigeration back then.

    Hmmm. I suddenly want custard.

  9. PastryPal says:

    Aji — What a great story. I wonder, are the egg white churches still standing?

  10. Aji says:

    Very much so! They’re quite sturdy and have survived the wrath of Mother Nature.

    Some of them include the Baclayon Church, Church of Lubao, and Molo Church. All of them in the Philippines.

  11. PastryPal says:

    I’m really amazed and curious. I’ll have to look them up. I wish eggs could make my souffles so sturdy :).

  12. kayduh says:

    how long do you think egg whites or yolks keep in the fridge?

  13. PastryPal says:

    Kayduh — Yolks will dry out pretty quickly, so they’ll keep 2-3 days. Whites, you can push to 5 days in the fridge.

  14. Lindsay says:

    THANK YOU!! I had no idea they could be frozen. I have tossed out more yolks/whites than I care to admit.

  15. Xiaolu says:

    Haha I’d already memorized this info after googling about 50 times (memory ain’t what it used to be…), but thank you for reminding me not only of those tips but also why I subscribed in the first place long ago. LOVE your witty humorous writing that always brightens my day.

  16. Thanks for this awesome tip. I’ve read a lot about them, but somehow never really implemented them. The extra yolks/whites get made into omelettes for the family breakfast in my home! Quick question – In most places that I’ve read, people use sugar for the yolks, and not salt? Is there a choice between the two?

  17. PastryPal says:

    Xiaolu — Thank you for reading from the beginning :). I really appreciate it. I’m equally taken with your photos!

    Avanika — You can use either sugar or salt, but if you use sugar, you can only use the yolks in sweet recipes. If you use salt, you can use the yolks in either savory or sweet stuff. With salt, I don’t have to worry about remembering what I used to preserve the yolks. For preserving with sugar, the ratio I work with is 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar for every 4 yolks.

  18. Blankie Monster says:

    Thank you so much! I always wondered if I could but never dared to try. I always feel so guilty when I have 3 egg whites left and no means to make meringue at the moment. It inevitably goes to trash *sigh*. Thanks for giving me another reason to bake more frequently =D

  19. PastryPal says:

    Blankie — Thank you, I’m glad you find this useful!

  20. Love the blog. Great tips especially as so many recipes use one or the other, and I don’t like wastage :)

  21. PastryPal says:

    Thank you, ediblescapism!

  22. Your posts make me laugh sometimes! This one is no different.

    Great tip. I had read a couple of years ago about freezing egg yolks with salt. They still are a little glutinous for me, but not too bad. Usually I save them for custard or ice cream so once I sieve the mixture any ‘lumps’ are gone anyway.

    It’s amazing though that this is not very well known. All those times you have spare whites or yolks! All that waste in the past. Never again!

  23. PastryPal says:

    Julia — I’m glad I can distract you from the floods for a moment :).

    And I agree, it’s a tip that everyone can use.

  24. It is so true how our baking life is surrounded with egg yolks and whites…. without these 2 ingredients, the results will never be perfect or delicious…

    Love this post, it is our dedication to both important ingredients in our baking world :-)

  25. Thanks for the tips. I won’t waste the egg yolks anymore :P

  26. Lea says:

    Yeah, found that out, recently!
    I always make macarons and have thousands of egg yolks left. Last time I freezed them and tried a lemon curd with them today. I put them in the microfave on the thawing option. One of them – “plop” – fried egg! The other one was still fine. No problems! :)

  27. Stine says:

    I love this post. I have a few cakes that I make that I only use the yolks and have so much egg whites left. I always get rid of them. Now I know how to freeze them. Thank you :)

  28. Frankie says:

    I know this is quite an old post now but I have an important (to me) question and I think you may be able to help… I’ve been collecting my eggs whites in the freezer every time I make mayonaise for a while now and had about 10 in there. I took them out last night, planning to make a pavlova, and then completely forgot about them! They’ve been left on the counter overnight (about 12 hours). Do you know whether they will definitely be bad? Is there any way to tell?! I will be so sad if I have to throw them out.

  29. PastryPal says:

    Hi Frankie — Many people leave their egg whites on the counter overnight before making macarons, so I’d say the egg whites are ok. Just make sure to cook them.

  30. Joyce Gillett says:

    I have had meringue whites in my freezer for a short time and I decieded to make a pavlover the egg whites whipped up fine but as soon as I added the sugar the mixture went flat, I did cook it but it was not a great success, can you tell me what I did wrong, I have done it twice, we still ate them. I have never had this happen to me before.

  31. After all my years of baking I had no idea that I could freeze egg parts. Many egg parts have slithered down my sink. Thank you for this.
    I have just found your blog and love it.

  32. Nivedita says:

    Wonderful tip. I tried to avoid recipes using either the yolk or the white. Good to know that I can freeze the yolks too. I used to freeze the egg whites…..learnt it from a Nigella show. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Tina says:

    Finally!!! I never thought you can freeze either the yolks or egg whites, like you, I was staring at my 18 egg yolks I have in my fridge just now, and praying for forgiveness that they will be thrown away someday. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’re the best Irina!!

  34. Jill says:

    This blows my mind! Thanks for sharing!

  35. Kate says:

    What a great idea! I love making curds and custards but rarely have time to do anything “serious” with the whites. To take it a step further: how about grabbing one of those dollar-store ice cube trays and using one slot for each yolk/white? It would be easier to portion out the exact number you need.

    Thanks for the tip! Happy baking!

  36. Julie Holtom says:

    WOW thanks so much for the tips, i had a brilliant mixer for Christmas and keep making meringues for the family and having lots of yolks left which end up either in the dog or fried for breakfast, now i can freeze them for mayo or curd when i get round to it :)

  37. Great tips and sense of humor :-). Have you considered writing a cooking comics?

  38. Isabel says:

    Thank you for the post. I knew it was possible to freeze the eggs separetly, but was unsure how or for how long. I was tired of having to use my egg yolks for ice cream & then rushing to use my egg whites for a “protein” omlet with onions, green peppers, tomatoes & cilantros. Although they are great & healthy, I was trying to find a way to conserver them for when I make Angel Food Cake on another day. Thank you for sharing your posts, now I’m not rushed to use the full egg on one/two days! :-)

  39. mariam says:

    help!! i have saved fresh egg whites over the last few days (used the yolks for a different recipe) in the fridge and forgot how many they are now. Today i would like to make some meringue cookies and don’t know how much sugar i can put into my cookies. just measured the eggwhites and they measured about half cup. Please help! thank you.

  40. Alison says:

    So happy to have come across this, I make macarons and at the moment have 12 sad egg yolks in the fridge. As of tomorrow, I’ll have 12 happy eggs yolks in the freezer!

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