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You open your refrigerator, and you're immediately hit with a strong odor that throws you back a few steps! Rooting around all those leftover food containers that have been there for at least a week, it seems that the one with some hard boiled eggs in it seems to be the culprit. It’s only been there a week or so, but that’s a few days too long when it comes to eggs. Don’t even think about freezing them. Freezing hard-boiled eggs leaves you with rubbery whites that taste more like tough, old calamari than fresh egg whites. You can salvage the yolks for freezing or just toss or grind and start over again.

Your Nose Knows

One of the best things about eggs is that you can immediately tell when they go bad. The odor, similar to that of a landfill that’s reeking methane, is the result of the sulfide gas in the egg whites mixing with the iron in the yolk as the eggs were heated. The result is sulfide chemicals, which are visible to the naked eye when looking at the yolk. That dark ring surrounding the yolk is the culprit.

Starting From Scratch

The key to working with eggs is to only use fresh eggs. Don’t buy dozens at a time because they’re on sale at the big box store unless you’re making a lot of cakes or an egg salad for a large crowd. Look for the “sell-by” date and be sure they’re fresh. Then inspect inside the carton before you put them in your grocery cart, especially if you’re having a cold winter.

Eggs can freeze in the chicken coop. Hairline cracks appear as the whites and yolks expand as they freeze, and bacteria can form. Examine each egg carefully. A bargain basement carton of eggs just may send you to the hospital with a severe case of bacterial poisoning.

Nearing the Sell-by Date

So, your carton of eggs has been in the refrigerator a bit too long, and they’re nearing the “sell-by” date. You have the bright idea to boil and freeze them all. Fuhgeddaboudit! However, you can salvage the yolks for the freezer if the eggs are prepared properly.

Boiling an egg is like walking on eggshells. You have to do it delicately. Put the eggs in a pan of cold water, deep enough to submerge them. Turn on the stovetop heat and bring to a boil. Once the water is bubbling, remove the pan from the heat, and let it and the eggs sit for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare a bowl of ice water.

After 10 minutes, transfer the eggs from the pot to the bowl of ice water and let them sit for a few minutes. This stops the eggs from cooking further and halts the transfer of sulfur from the whites to the yolks.

Peeling and Sealing for Freezing

As the eggs sit in the cold water, they can be peeled without the shell sticking to the inner membrane. Just crack each egg underwater and start peeling. Keep the egg under the water, and the shell should come away easily.

Looking at a counter full of boiled eggs, separate those you can use immediately and those that have yolks you want to store. Yes, you’ll trash the whites, but at least you’ll salvage something.

Slice through the white, but only enough to reach inside and pull the white from the yolk. Gather the yolks and put them into a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag or an airtight container. Put the yolks in the freezer where they’ll keep for up to three months. Once removed from the freezer, defrost in the refrigerator and use immediately. Do not refreeze.