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What To Do With Leftover Egg Whites

Ever wondered what to do with egg whites after you’ve made hollandaise sauce? Signe Langford, professional cook and author of Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs, shares her three favourite uses for leftover egg whites. 

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HOW TO USE LEFTOVER EGG WHITES

An egg white (sometimes referred to as albumen) is mostly water and protein. That’s why those high-maintenance fitness types order egg-white omelettes at brunch (wilted spinach, whole-grain toast, no butter, no-fat latte, no fun)-because there’s almost zero fat in the white. As far as I’m concerned, the yolk-a rich, runny one-is the best part of the egg, but whites are so very useful in the kitchen. They leaven cakes, bind batters, froth cocktails and even clarify broths. Egg whites turn up in pharmaceuticals, art supplies, cosmetics and so much more, but we’re just going to make some incredibly tasty goodies with them. 

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Egg whites for crystal-clear consommé

Whisk up a couple of egg whites to add to a murky broth, and watch as the egg-white “raft” slurps up all the impurities. Simply bring to a very low simmer for about 15 minutes, then strain it all through cheesecloth. 

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Egg whites for crispy fries

Not only do frothed-up egg whites make great food “glue,” they also help achieve crispiness with difficult ingredients, such as sweet potatoes. I really wanted to hop on the sweet-potato fries bandwagon but could not get it right at home, time after time coming up with limp sweet potato sticks when I wanted healthy and crispy oven fries. 

Egg whites turned out to be the answer. If you’ve not tried this yet, the ratio is one frothed-up egg white to two peeled and julienned sweet potatoes. 

Whisk an egg white in a medium bowl with salt, pepper, 1⁄2 tsp (2.5 mL) cornstarch and whatever spices you like. Add in the cut potato and toss to coat well and evenly. Tumble onto a lightly oiled or parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 425F (220C) for about 40 to 45 minutes or until golden in spots. 

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Egg whites for leavening cakes

Whisking egg whites pumps them full of air. Take a really close look at a bowl of egg whites as you begin whisking; first you’ll see some big bubbles, then they’ll become smaller and more numerous as you whisk. When whipped egg whites are carefully folded into cake or other batters, then baked in the oven, the air trapped inside each and every tiny bubble expands, making the bubbles bigger and causing the whole mixture to rise. 

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Can you freeze eggs?

Egg whites, yolks and whole eggs freeze beautifully. I wouldn’t use a once-frozen egg for poaching and eating on toast, but for baking they’re perfectly fine. 

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Further reading: Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs

For more egg recipes, along with tips on how to raise backyard chickens, check out Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs: Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes by Signe Langford (Douglas & McIntyre, 2015).