Thursday, September 5, 2013

Refrigeration of Eggs Unnecessary in Thailand

I've been curious about why eggs in Thailand are not refrigerated, so I did a little investigation on the subject.

Old habits die hard but I have managed to overcome this one.  Eggs in Thailand are never refrigerated.  They are never sold refrigerated and no Thai would ever think of storing them in the fridge.  Correction: Some Thais store eggs in the refrigerator as I found out recently simply because there is a place in the fridge door made especially for them, not because they think they stay fresher refrigerated.  These are the eggs in my kitchen.

The reason Thai eggs can stay out is that they are fresh off the farms and not produced in the same kind of mass production facilities as they are in the U.S.  Eggs are not refrigerated in most other countries either, just in the U.S.


I remember as a youngster that we did not store our eggs in the fridge, but in a wire basket shaped like a chicken on the kitchen counter.  That was the old days.  Now in the U.S. commercial eggs are required by law to be sold refrigerated because they are pressure washed which removes the outer layer of protective natural coating and are sometimes as much as three weeks old before hitting the supermarket.  Commercial eggs have a higher likelihood of contamination with bacteria and add to that the fact that the U.S. has become an excessively litigious society.  You can still buy fresh eggs from farmer's markets and fresh off the farm without need to refrigerate, but we have been indoctrinated into believing to "err on the side of caution" on this subject.

Baking is best done using room temperature eggs, so here in Thailand we don't have to let them come up to ambient room temperature, since they are right there on the counter to use immediately.  Even though it is a very warm climate here, the eggs do just fine.  Quail eggs are also very popular here and usually are found as little fried treats at street stalls.

In my independent egg study I have found that once refrigerated, eggs should not be left out to use later but kept refrigerated.

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