Meringue can be hard to make but even more difficult to preserve. Don’t let your fresh whipped egg whites go to waste. Here are the best ways to store meringue.
Meringue is a delicate ingredient. It doesn’t last very long if it isn’t stored properly. Most people don’t think about storing it, so they end up throwing it out after only a couple of days. This makes the whole process seem like more work than it’s worth!
The good news is that there are several ways to store your meringues for longer periods of time. Whether you’re planning on using them in icing or baked goods, we have the solution for you.
Why meringues soften quickly after cooking
Keeping meringue crispy and with the right level of crunch can be tricky, especially if you are not sure what you are dealing with. This often happens when you do not make meringue yourself and aren’t sure what has gone into it. It’s pretty essential.
Egg whites are mixed with sugar and cooked. Some twists and turns are added to customize and add certain flavors, but basically, you are dealing with egg whites and sugar, cooked a certain way to give a crispy crust.
Both sugar and egg white are hygroscopic. This means that they are quick to absorb air that is in the moisture. This, in turn, turns them soft and soggy. As such, it is important that you quickly store meringues properly before they go soft on you.
Also, since meringues will draw moisture from the air, then you would be shooting yourself in the foot to make them in a humid space or wet weather. Keep it as dry as possible.
If you want to stop your meringues from going soft quickly, make sure you have the proper proportions. Sugar acts as more than just a sweetener in this case. It helps to draw out moisture from the egg whites and also to stabilize the entire mixture. When there isn’t enough sugar, evaporation is impeded, and as such, you get soggy meringues.
You also need to get the temperatures right. When meringues are baked for too little time or if the temperature isn’t right, the meringues may go soft even soo after removing them from the heat.
So how do you deal with these issues and avoid meringues going soft? Increase your oven temperature and make sure it is consistent. Also, ensure there is enough sugar to help get rid of moisture. The other solution would be to make sure that you avoid cooking in humid spaces.
How to store at room temperature
Storing meringue the right way means that you will need to consider several factors. Doing it the wrong way can land you with an unedible meringue or just hasn’t hit the mark. Meringues can be tricky to store, but the good news is that they are not difficult to store. You will just need to make sure that you avoid some of the factors that would make them soggy, such as air.
To store meringues you will need an airtight mason jar and parchment paper. First, ensure they are dry before you remove them from the oven. An excellent test for this is to see if they easily lift off the baking sheet. Then make sure they are cooled before you attempt to store them. You can do this by laying them in a shallow container, uncovered.
Then you will need to seal them and make sure there is no moisture or air near them. once you have made the meringues, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Preferably in a mason jar and not a ceramic one, these will tend to have porous construction. This will enable you to keep them for about two weeks. They can be kept at room temperature of about 23˚C.
As you layer the meringues, place parchment paper in between each layer of meringues. When you reach the top of the jar, place another piece of parchment paper as a way of keeping out excess air. This will protect the meringues from being crushed by the lid. Once this is done, you can store them at room temperature, making sure to keep the jar away from direct sunlight.
How to freeze
Another common and popular way of preserving food is to freeze it. If you don’t want to keep them at room temperature, you could also freeze meringue, increasing their shelf life considerably. However, you will need to bring them back to life when you want to serve them.
To freeze meringues, you will need a container to initially cool the meringues, as well as airtight ziplock bags. But it needs to be done right. Before you do anything, make sure the meringues are cooled before you try to freeze them. You can use a shallow wide container to make sure they are cooled down.
When they have thoroughly cooled down, place the meringues in the ziplock bag or an airtight container. Wrap the meringues with parchment paper between the layers. Make sure the bag or container is properly sealed. Be careful to leave about 1.3cm between the tip of the meringue and the lid. This is so that you don’t crush the meringues. Once this is done, you can keep meringues for up to 1 month in the freezer.
To bring them back to life after being in the freezer, set your meringues on a countertop, somewhere away from sunlight but at room temperature, which should be around 23˚C. By doing this, you can serve them at room temperature, but if you prefer them to be warmer, you can reheat them in the oven. To do this, preheat the oven to 121˚C and heat them for up to 15 to 20 minutes. It is crucial to make sure that you don’t do the thawing out in a humid environment.
Do meringues go bad?
The short answer is yes. They can go bad. This will happen if they are not stored properly and the air is let in. They can go bad. You can avoid this by keeping the meringues in an air-tight container.
Does the meringue need to be refrigerated?
It is not necessary to store meringues in the fridge, you can simply store them at room temperature, as long as it’s in an air-tight container.
Why do meringues ‘weep’?
A meringue will weep when there is too much whisking done. This, in turn, causes the liquid to seep out through the hard exterior. Also, if the cooking temperature is too low, you can expect it to weep.