Eggs are a nutritious food used extensively in cooking and baking. Find them at the breakfast table boiled, scrambled, fried or made into omelets. They are used in many types of breads and as a clinging agent in breading and frying other food items. They bind casseroles, meatloaves and custards. Some recipes call for raw eggs but because of the possibility of food-borne illness, this is not encouraged. Pasteurized eggs, available commercially, do not present this problem since the germs are killed by the pasteurization process. To ensure food safety, pasteurize your own eggs at a temperature that is high enough to kill germs but low enough that the egg does not coagulate.
Remove eggs to be pasteurized from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.
Heat a pot of water to 145 degrees Fahrenheit using a food thermometer.
Carefully lower the eggs into the water.
Leave the eggs in the hot water for at least three minutes and up to five minutes, depending on their size.
Pour off the hot water and let them come to room temperature. Use immediately or put them into the refrigerator.
Break eggs into a bowl, using the number called for in your recipe.
Mix the eggs with a portion of the liquid called for in the recipe.
Slowly heat the mixture on medium heat until it registers 145 degrees Fahrenheit on a food thermometer. Stir the mixture at this temperature for three minutes then remove from heat. Proceed with the recipe.
Use eggs pasteurized in the shell for dishes such as steak tartar or for breaking over a Caesar salad. For eggnog, pasteurize the egg with some of the milk that is used in the recipe.
Pasteurization of eggs is a delicate process requiring constant and reliable monitoring of temperature. Commercially-pasteurized eggs are treated with sophisticated equipment that ensures steady temperatures. This degree of accuracy is not possible at home, even though home pasteurization is possible.