Category Archives: food preservation

Using Liquid Egg Whites Past the Expiration Date

Don’t.  That’s my advice.  Unlike eggs in the shell (shelled eggs), liquid egg whites are an egg product that has eggs that have been opened from their protective shell and pasteurized.  They are ONLY good until the expiration date.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s your friends at Egg Beaters:

egg beaters

And the USDA:

Safe Handling and Storage of Egg Products
Safe handling and storage is necessary for all egg products to prevent bacterial contamination. Here are recommendations from USDA:

  • For best quality, store frozen egg products up to one year. Check to be sure your freezer is set at 0 °F or lower. After thawing, do not refreeze.
  • Thaw frozen egg products in the refrigerator or under cold running water. DO NOT THAW ON THE COUNTER.
  • If the container for liquid products bears a “use-by” date, observe it. Follow the storage and handling instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • For liquid products without an expiration date, store unopened containers at 40 °F or below for up to 7 days (not to exceed 3 days after opening). Do not freeze opened cartons of liquid egg products.
  • Unopened dried egg products and egg white solids can be stored at room temperature as long as they are kept cool and dry. After opening, store in the refrigerator.
  • Reconstituted egg products should be used immediately or refrigerated and used that day.
  • USDA Commodity Dried Egg Mix should be stored at less than 50 °F, preferably in the refrigerator (at 40 °F or below). After opening, use within 7 to 10 days. Reconstitute only the amount needed at one time. Use reconstituted egg mix immediately or refrigerate and use within 1 hour.

Even more info about eggs. Because I’m nuts.

Green bags: The fountain of fruit and vegetable youth?

I ran home last night with all my Thanksgiving ingredients, a night earlier than I’d planned to shop because of an early morning appointment, and my entire refrigerator is a sea of Debbie Meyer Green Bags.  The hardest part about Thanksgiving is doing the shopping early enough to avoid being caught in the vast human struggle that is acquiring groceries for the big event, but not so early that the wilted salad with aging cucumbers and overripe tomatoes actually implies that you may wish your family bodily harm.  Enter the miracle bags that could have kept grapes fresh from the Pharaoh’s tomb to the present day.   That might be a slight exaggeration.  But heck, I figure maybe the stuff will make it to Thursday looking like it was plucked from the very ground just minutes before.  And if it all works out, I can thank my mother.  Then Debbie Meyer.

My mother’s gone into late-night sponsor-mode for Green Bags.  She brought some over for us both to try, and gave me about debbie-meyer-greenbags11half of them.  I tossed some grapes, in their protective plastic box, into a green bag.  Frighteningly, they lasted over 3 weeks.  My mother could make major commish on QVC she’s so excited about these bags.  If someone appears to be dying, they could probably be preserved in one until help arrived.

So the Green Bags do appear to work.  But how?  Are they safe?  They claim to be made with a “natural mineral” called “Oya®” – so what the heck is that?  It’s actually a form of mineral called zeolite.  Zeolite, according to my friends at Wikipedia, absorbs gases.  Which means it can absorb the ethylene gases given off by ripening fruits and vegetables.  (Yes, one bad apple will spoil the whole bunch, because it will give off lots of ethylene gas, pushing the rest from ripe to rotten.  Just saying.)  So the bags are sprayed with this stuff, and it absorbs the gases, preventing further ripening/rotting.  Very clever indeed.  You can rinse them, but not wash them with soap, and you can use them up to 8 times according the web site, so I’d recommend putting fruits and veggies in there in their original packaging so that you can reuse the bags without worrying about other microbes that can’t be washed away but that can cause food poisoning.  Also, the bags and produce have to be dry.

All this crazy comes at a price — something on the order of $9.99 for 20 bags.  Great for Thanksgiving, but I’m just going to be honest: I feel better about buying only what we can eat and buying more often than trying to preserve stuff forever.  But if you live alone, and food comes in large supply, this can be mighty helpful and might even save money in the end.  I’m a little hesitant about placing food directly onto this “natural mineral” – so be careful there.

As an alternative, there are also disks you can put into your produce drawer that will last a few months and also slow the path from ripe to rotten.  Here’s a link.

buffetgFor the record, some of the other Debbie Meyer stuff makes me a little nervous, particularly the cold cut bags.  Don’t store cold cuts forever, then eat them, then reuse a bag you stored them in directly without washing it because you can’t use soap.  Just tell Debbie Meyer it makes me nervous and we just can’t have that.

But she is the mastermind behind the hilarious Buffet Genius, and make no mistake about it, I love her for it.