In today’s busy life, it is not always possible for us to eat freshly cooked food. While it is not a good idea to opt for takeouts and deliveries from eateries, the next best idea is to cook in batches and store the food for a few days. That way, we get to eat healthy, home-cooked food, and keep fast food bingeing to a minimum. However, the age old question remains: is it a good idea to eat frozen and reheated food? While this is still a little less dubious for vegetables, dairy and meat products pose more of a problem. Take eggs, for instance. We know there are multiple reasons why we should eat eggs farm fresh, but is there really any harm in taking them out of the refrigerator and reheating them before consumption?
Yes, as long as it’s not raw
Technically, no, there should not be any problem in eating eggs that have been cooked, frozen, and then reheated and eaten. Of course, there are certain procedures you must follow to ensure that the eggs are frozen and then heated in a way such that the flavors and nutrients are all intact to the greatest extent possible. But it is important to keep in mind that this applies to cooked eggs only. It is best not to kep raw eggs in the freezer for too long. This applies to eggs that have been broken out of the shell, and intact ones. This is because raw eggs are very good hosts to salmonella, a parasite that can cause serious illnesses if consumed. The longer the egg has been sitting on the shelf, the higher the salmonella concentration in it, and the higher the risk of contracting an infection.
Why are cooked eggs safe(r)?
Cooked eggs are unlikely to get infected by the parasite, or any other, in fact. Most bacteria and other kinds of parasites are killed off during the process of cooking, and it is unlikely that they will grow back once the dish is popped into the refrigerator, unless you are keeping it there for a long, long time, in which case there will be more to worry about than a colony of parasites- fungus, for instance. Yes, food can get moldy even in the fridge, especially such highly perishable items as eggs.
What kinds of eggs can be frozen?
Simply make sure that the eggs are properly cooked when you plan to freeze them. Well fried scrambles eggs and omelets will stay in the fridge longer than, say, a lightly poached or soft boiled egg. Hard boiled eggs will also stay for in the fridge for quite some time. Adding dairy products like cheese and yogurt to the egg will help it retain moisture for a longer period of time. However, it is not a good idea to use soft cheeses like Brie and blue veined cheeses, as these will spoil faster and help the eggs get spoiled faster as well; besides, these cheeses themselves form great homes for parasites like listeria and salmonella. Baking or frying the eggs like a frittata will also help in keeping the cooked eggs fresher for longer in the fridge. If you are making a complete egg meal, avoid adding in any easily perishable vegetable like cucumbers and tomatoes.
How to freeze and reheat eggs
Once the eggs have been well cooked, cool them down at room temperature and wrap them in baking sheets. This will seal in the flavor and the moisture. Now, freeze the meals until completely solid. Take them out to add a further layer of insulation- Ziploc bags or foil- and pop them back in the freezer. You need to make sure that no moisture from outside is able to get into the food. You can keep and reuse eggs this way for up to a week. When you need to reheat the eggs for consumption, take them out of the freezer, remove the layers, and either wait for them to come down to room temperature, or thaw them out in the microwave. You of course need to reheat the food properly once it has thawed, as that will impart the fresh taste to the food.
Pro tip: A microwave will reheat the eggs to piping hot in almost no time, and an oven will take a little while longer. But, microwaved meals often lose their texture and taste, and if you have something like frittatas or scrambles eggs, they might come out a little soggy. An oven, on the other hand, will perfectly retain the taste, texture, and just the right level of moisture. Also, it is best to go by instincts. If you feel the food smells funny while cooking or has changed color even after thawing out, it is probably best to discard it altogether and make a fresh batch.