22 August 2013

How to Pasteurise Eggs At Home

Eggs are generally safe to eat but there is always a chance that they may be infected with salmonella.  This is a nasty disease to contract at any time but it is particularly dangerous for expectant mothers as it can cross the placenta and infect the baby.  The advice in the UK (where I was living when I had my children) was to avoid all raw egg products while expecting.  That means no eggs sunny side up, no home made mayonnaise and no chocolate mousse.  I like to make mayonnaise and mousse at home, however, and when you are living abroad sometimes you cannot get the ‘safe’ shop bought versions.

It is a pretty annoying restriction as so many tasty products use raw egg, of course it is for everybody to weigh the risk in their own minds.  When I was quite young I remember a friend’s mother loosing a baby due to salmonella so I always played things safe.  These days, if I know an expectant mother is coming over for food I tend not to adjust my meal plans but I do make any raw egg recipes with pasteurised egg as a courtesy.

Pasteurised eggs can be difficult to find and, if you are living somewhere more exotic, downright impossible.  I always thought that you could not pasteurise your own eggs but browsing the web some time ago I cam across a nifty little trick from the culinary arts website which claims to sterilise eggs in the microwave. The procedure is quite simple, I would not rely on this to be 100% safe but if I am making raw egg products and I know an expectant mother will be coming over I always put the eggs through this system first, I then let them know the eggs are home sterilised and they can make their own call.

Sterilise a jar and three whisks or forks.  Separate out two egg yolks and place in the jar, whisk them together with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and two of water.  Discard the whisk and put the jar in the microwave.  Set it away on high until the egg starts to move up the jar + 8 seconds.  Take it out of the microwave and whisk again with a second, clean whisk.  Repeat the procedure and then whisk again with the third, clean whisk.  Your eggs are now ready to use.

Click the picture for more posts on the challenges of expat cooking.

Ersatz Expat

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