In this brief article, we will be discussing: does meringue powder expire, what it is used for, some tips to use it effectively, and how to make meringue from the meringue powder mix.
So all you bakers out there, read on to find out some interesting facts about meringue powder.
Does Meringue Powder Expire?
Yes, meringue powder does expire, although it is generally regarded as a ‘non-perishable’ product. The maximum shelf-life of meringue powder is about two years, depending on how you store it.
Remember that manufacturers guarantee the food safety of the product as long as the packaging remains sealed up to the time mentioned as the expiration date. After the package is opened, its contents may be affected by the environment, leading to untimely spoilage. Products can have decreased shelf life when not correctly stored, that is, at high temperatures (> 25°C), exposed to sunlight or under a humidified atmosphere (1).
Should You Use Meringue Powder After The Expiration Date?
Make sure you abide by the storage conditions mentioned on the packaging and avoid using it after the expiration date.
This is because meringue powder contains egg whites, and spoiled eggs are commonly associated with food poisoning.
Moreover, meringue powder mix might not contain preservatives to extend its shelf-life, so it’s best not to consume it past its expiration date. Physicochemical changes occur during appropriate storage conditions, such as color changes (darkening due to Maillard reaction), structural changes (agglomeration, stickiness and collapse) and protein loss (1). The hardness of gels prepared with expired merengue powders are also decreased (2).
TIP: Looking for an expiry date on your meringue package but can’t find out? That’s okay – look for an eight-digit product code. The first two digits represent the year, while the following three digits represent the date the product was prepared.
What is Meringue Powder Made From?
Meringue powder is made from powdered egg whites; however, it also consists of other ingredients such as cream of tartar and cornstarch that keep it stabilized. Drying of egg whites can be carried out using many methods including hot-air drying and freeze drying. Freeze drying is based on dehydration by sublimation of water from the frozen product (2).
What is Meringue Powder Used For?
Meringue powder works amazingly in meringues, royal icing, frostings,and buttercreams.
Due to its light vanilla flavor, it tastes great in baked goods, and also works as an exceptional replacement for raw egg whites when making royal icing and meringue cookies.
Hen egg white protein has unique characteristics, such as gel formation, water holding capacity, foaming, and emulsifying properties, and is extensively used in many food applications. Currently, instead of liquid eggs, dried-egg products are being widely used in many foods, such as bakery products. This is due to not only the nutritional and functional properties of dried egg products, but also several other advantages including storage, transportation, uniformity, and microbiological safety (2).
Interesting Tips About Using Meringue
- Leftover meringue can be reused if stored properly. When warm and freshly made, it has more volume.
- Based on what it is used for, you can attain various types of meringue consistencies depending on the beating time.
- You can add meringue to mounted vegetable creams to enhance their volume and reduce the density and fat of the cream.
- Since meringue powder mix contains other ingredients apart from egg whites, it is not recommended as a substitute for eggs; the other ingredients may negatively influence the result of your recipe.
- Once applied, meringue powder does not harden. It might become a bit dry but will remain relatively soft even after many days.
- Meringue loses its original volume after you refrigerate it. However, this can be reattained by beating it again just before reusing it.
- Cakes covered in moisturized meringue stay in optimal condition for at least five days at room temperature, and even longer if refrigerated without losing their original appearance.
How Long Can You Store Meringue Powder?
Certain food products, such as meringue powder, have a stable shelf-life and can be used for months and even years.
Dried eggs are a nonperishable commodity while fresh or liquid eggs are perishable foods. Powdered eggs have a storage life of 5–10 years depending on the environment. The shelf life can further be extended by placing eggs powdered in air tight containers under anaerobic conditions or placed in a cool storage place. There is no need for any refrigeration or cold chain as in case of liquid eggs. In the absence of cold storage, the shelf life ranges from 6 to 12 months (3)
Although various factors can affect the shelf-life of a product, manufacturers must accurately estimate and display the expiration dates on their labels. If you look at meringue powder packages, you’ll notice that the expiration date is around 24 months after the date of manufacture.
So, rest assured that you can safely store your meringue powder until that date.
How Do You Make Meringue Using Meringue Powder?
Now that you’re familiar with the basics of meringue powder, here’s how you can make meringue from the powder mix.
The rule of thumb is: two teaspoons of meringue powder + two teaspoons of water = one large egg white
- 35 grams of meringue powder
- 200 ml of water
- 500 grams of sugar
- 150 ml of water
- One or two lemons
- Combine water and the meringue powder and begin beating using an electric mixer.
- On the side, start making a sugar syrup by combining the sugar, water, and lemon juice.
- Once all the sugar dissolves, carefully pour this mixture into the meringue foam whilst whisking readily. Remember to perform this step patiently, since the sugar syrup needs to be added slowly and steadily – it can take a minute or so.
- After adding all the syrup, wait for about two minutes and reduce the mixer’s speed to medium. Voila, your meringue is ready to use!
Where Can You Purchase Meringue Powder?
Meringue powder is easily available in most bakery stores. It is also routinely found in the aisles of supermarkets such as Walmart, King Arthur Baking, Amazon, etc.
Moreover, certain supermarkets also offer home delivery services!
In this brief article, we discussed: does meringue powder expire, what it is used for, some tips to use it effectively, and how to make meringue from the meringue powder mix.
If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.
- Rao, Qinchun, et al. Accelerated shelf-life testing of quality loss for a commercial hydrolysed hen egg white powder. Food chem, 2012,135, 464-472.
- Katekhong, Wattinee, and Sanguansri Charoenrein. Color and gelling properties of dried egg white: Effect of drying methods and storage conditions. Int J Food Prop, 2017, 20, 2157-2168.
- Sharif, Mian K., Makkia Saleem, and Komal Javed. Food materials science in egg powder industry. Role of Materials Science in Food Bioengineering. Academic Press, 2018. 505-537.