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Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to Pasteurize Eggs at Home

Cannot afford or cannot find pasteurized eggs?

Some people may be too frugal to buy pasteurized eggs, even if they can find them. Others may not be able to afford pasteurized eggs. So, if economy or necessity means you MUST eat your eggs unpasteurized, you can pasteurize eggs at home for almost free. Got hot water? You can do it. Thrift aside, you can eat safe eggs.

Egg safety

While I am not in the least concerned about egg safety, some people are. And, they should be concerned. When I bring in eggs from my four hens, I handle them like raw chicken. I use caution. The eggs sit for days on the counter, unrefrigerated. But, they are used in baked goods, scrambled, or boiled. Worrying about eggs is as remote as worry about chicken meat. Like I said, I am cautious.

Home pasteurization can be used on store-bought eggs, your hens' eggs you use, eggs you give away, and eggs you sell from your flock.

I found the information below for home pasteurization of eggs on the internet and lifted it word for
word. Citations follow.

Pasteurize eggs in your kitchen: why? what is it? how to do it!

"The more we learn about food safety, the higher our standards become - and, of course, the more things we find to worry about. Take raw eggs, for example. Folks used to think nothing of breaking a raw egg into their morning milkshake for extra vitamins and protein. Raw cookie dough was only a slightly guilty pleasure - like licking the bowl of cake batter. No one thought anything about the safety or lack thereof in Hollandaise or Bearnaise sauce, or homemade mayonnaise. Poached and fried eggs with runny yolks were simply a matter of preference - not a risky choice. Recipes galore call for beaten egg whites - and even whole eggs - that are never cooked. But then we found out about salmonella bacteria - and how dangerous it can be - and even the hardiest among us started to worry.

For the very young, the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems, raw eggs can be quite dangerous. Even though the FDA says that only about one egg in 20,000 contains salmonella bacteria - the risk is not worth taking if you are among these groups of people - or if you are cooking for them. There is a company that produces pasteurized eggs in the shell - a fabulous solution, because the egg remains as viable as a completely uncooked egg in a recipe - but those pasteurized eggs can be very difficult to find consistently.

Now, a solution has come to our attention. It is possible to pasteurize eggs at home - and easily, too! Pasteurization is simply a process of heating a food to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time - designed to kill specific bacteria. It is known that salmonella bacteria are killed at temperatures of 140 degrees in about 3 1/2 minutes (or a higher temperature in less time). If a room temperature egg is held in a bowl of warm water - say, 142 degrees to be safe - for 3 1/2 minutes, the bacteria will be killed. It takes 5 minutes for extra large or jumbo eggs.

Place the room temperature eggs in a colander, and lower them into a pan or bowl of 142-degree water. Use an instant-read thermometer to be sure of the water temperature, and leave the thermometer in the water, to be sure that the temperature is maintained. For medium or large eggs, leave them in the water for 3 1/2 minutes; for extra large or jumbo eggs, allow 5 minutes. Then remove the eggs, dry them, and refrigerate them, in a tightly-covered container.

Eggs begin to cook at about 160 degrees, and will be "scrambled eggs" at 180 - but if the 142 degree temperature is maintained, the result is a safe egg that will act like a raw egg in recipes.

Our listener, Andie, pasteurizes her eggs as soon as she brings them home from the market - a good way to avoid having to mark them, or creating confusion about which have been pasteurized and which have not."

Web http://www.kitchenproject/

For eggs fresh from your hens, the protective coating will be removed by this method, so eggs should be stored in the refrigerator after pasterization.

Don't become overeager and cook at a higher temperature or for longer. Follow directions for a product that will still be a raw egg!

By the way, if you have information contrary to what I posted, please share that. We want to be safe even if I am wrong.

Have you ever pasteurized your eggs? Do you buy pasteurized eggs from the store?


  1. Very informative, thanks for the info

  2. I'm not saying you're wrong. But I would be very careful about this. Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 and 140 deg F. If you're not careful, you could cause bacteria to flourish. My other concern is the temperature in the middle of the egg. How can you be sure that proper internal temperature is being reached?

    I talked to the folks at the company that sells pasteurized in the shell eggs. Their process takes over an hour. They say that's to ensure proper internal temperature.

    I'm a nurse who takes care of lots of elderly folks who like to eat runny eggs. I trust the ones our kitchen serves. I just don't know if I trust the at-home method.

  3. Thank you for the input. Are they saying they hold the eggs at 140 degrees for an hour? I agree about the bacteria flourishing. If salmonella is killed at 140 degrees and the ROOM TEMPERATURE eggs are held at 142 degrees, then the interior of the egg should have reached that temperature also. You can trust my eggs because I won't eat eggs with runny yolks or whites. I even cook my eggs in milk when making homemade ice cream. However, they are never pasteurized. I will check into this further. Thanks again.


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