Yes! But not without consequences…
We all love a good egg salad, however, it is absolutely heartbreaking how quickly they turn bad. Due to their temperamental ingredients (we're looking at you, eggs, and mayonnaise!)
Egg Salads can turn very quickly and this is hard to prevent. This can cause some difficulty as Egg Salads are traditionally made in large batches.
Thankfully, there is a way to extend the life of an Egg Salad, and that is by freezing it. The main side effect of freezing this mixture is that you may see a change in texture, particularly in the mayonnaise.
Freezing Egg Salad will only extend the lifespan of the salad by a couple of days and will drastically change the consistency and texture of the dish. Many chefs suggest keeping it in an airtight container in the fridge instead.
It is, however, technically possible to freeze Egg Salad and get a longer shelf life out of it.
You should always check your egg salad for a change in smell before serving it. If this change happens you should throw away the salad rather than taking a risk.
How to freeze Egg Salad
The most important things to remember about Egg Salad are that bacteria love it and it is very temperamental. If the salad has been at room temperature for over two hours it will most likely have gone bad. Once frozen it should be used up within 7 days.
Knowing how difficult Egg Salad can be you should approach freezing them whilst following these two rules.
You should always freeze chilled Egg Salad. Don't freeze any Egg Salad that has been sat at room temperature as it may already be too late.
When packaging up your Egg Salad for freezing, only use clean utensils. If you don't, more bacteria will get into the salad and it will most likely go bad in the freezer.
That all being said, this is how to freeze Egg Salad:
Step 0 - Make your Egg Salad and keep in the fridge.
Step 1 - Take a clean airtight container or a clean plastic freezer bag. Use a clean spoon and transfer the Egg Salad into the container/bag.
Step 2 - Seal the container. If you are using a bag squeeze all the air out of it. Place in the freezer and use it within 7 days.
If you follow these instructions you will be able to get an extra 2-4 days out of your Egg Salad, but you will see texture changes.
How to defrost Egg Salad
If you thought that Egg Salad was pretty fussy when it comes to being frozen then you might need to sit down as it's even more particular about being defrosted.
The main issue comes from the fact that egg salad will spoil if it's left for too long at room temperature. The other issue is that ingredients like milk, dairy, and eggs can curdle or split if heated up too quickly.
And if your Egg Salad includes Prawns… well that's a whole different kettle of fish.
So what is the best method for defrosting an Egg Salad?
The only sensible way to defrost an Egg Salad is to move it from the freezer to the refrigerator. Place a sheet or two of kitchen towel underneath it.
This method takes between 12 hours and a day, depending on how much Egg Salad you have to defrost. As we mentioned above, once it has been defrosted it will have a very different texture to when it was freshly made.
Things you shouldn't do to defrost an Egg Salad:
Use the Microwave
Defrost settings on the microwave are designed for ingredients like meat and frozen ready meals that have been formulated to be frozen.
Egg Salad is not one of these meals. Using the microwave will cause the mayonnaise to split, leave you with limp salad leaves, and most importantly spoilt the eggs.
Use a Water Bath
Many creamy items can be safely defrosted by using a water bath. This is a slow process of surrounding the food with warm water and allowing it to slowly thaw.
The method does not work with Egg Salad, however, as it provides an ideal environment for bacteria to breed.
Factors to consider before freezing Egg Salad
As we said at the beginning of this article, it is technically possible to freeze Egg Salad, but it's not always recommended.
Egg Salad is tricky to store at the best of times, and introducing extreme changes of temperature to the process only complicates things even more.
Freezing Egg Salad only adds a maximum of 4 days to its shelf life and it takes a day to defrost. It may be worth taking some time to consider if it is worth the effort.
The ingredients last a lot longer separately. So, if you want to enjoy Egg Salad multiple times close together we suggest you make a few smaller, fresh batches rather than trying to freeze the salad.
If you do find yourself in the situation where you need to freeze Egg Salad then there are a few things to consider.
You should make sure that everything that comes into contact with the egg salad during the cooking and freezing process is clean. Anything that isn't clean will introduce bacteria into the salad. Excess bacteria will cause the Egg Salad to go bad faster.
There is no doubt that freezing and then defrosting Egg Salad changes its texture, in a very unfavorable way. This is one of the main reasons that would make us reconsider freezing Egg Salad.
The texture will be grainy and the eggs will lose their spring. Many other parts of the salad will also lose their structural integrity.