What can I do with egg yolks?

Dear Alice,

I know that it's healthier to eat egg whites, but it feels like a waste to throw out the yolks when I use whole eggs. Is there anything I can do with leftover yolks when I make omlettes? Could they be used for some household chore or beauty regimen? Are there recipes that only use yolks that I could keep in the fridge? Or should I just bite the bullet and start buying those weird egg white products at the health food store?

Dear Reader,

What an egg-cellent question! Although egg yolks get a lot of bad press for their cholesterol content, they don’t have quite the negative reputation they once had anymore. Both egg whites and yolks are chock-full of nutrients, but if you're still looking to omit the yolks from your next scramble, there are plenty of ways you can re-purpose them. Not only can egg yolks be incorporated as a healthy component of a balanced diet, but the yolks may also be used for recipes and do-it-yourself (DIY) beauty products!

First, a little more information about eggs: Both the egg whites and the yolks contain rich sources of nutrients — egg whites contain four grams of protein, 17 calories, and almost no fat, while egg yolks actually contain more than 90 percent of the calcium, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamins B6, B12, A, E, D, and K found in eggs. More to your concern perhaps, egg yolks have historically been identified as unhealthy because of their high cholesterol content. But, it turns out that dietary cholesterol doesn't have as great of an impact on blood cholesterol — saturated and trans fats are more cause for concern, and eggs contain only a small amount of saturated fats.

That being said, as with most foods — moderation is key. While there isn't a hard limit to the recommended intake of whole eggs per day, it's worth noting that certain health conditions and the way each person digests nutrients may factor into individualized recommendations. For example, for folks with high cholesterol or coronary heart disease may be advised to limit their dietary cholesterol (thus, they may be advised to eschew the yolks). Checking in with a health care provider can help determine if this is necessary.

But if there’s no indicated need to specifically limit your intake, you might start adding them back into your meals! When you find yourself with extra yolks, you might incorporate them in other recipes to make custard, crème brûlée, aioli, Hollandaise Sauce, and more. To find some great recipes, try doing a quick Internet search for “egg yolk recipes.” Worried about storing them for your next meal? Don’t worry! Yolks can be saved for later by refrigerating them for two to four days with a little bit of cold water (to prevent them from drying out) or, for longer-term storage, freezing them in ice cube trays mixed with a pinch of salt or sugar. If you aren't looking to consume your leftover yolks, there’s a sunny side — you can use egg yolks to create DIY hair treatments. Some people use egg yolks as treatments for split ends, dull or dry locks, and for strengthening weak strands. Again, a quick Internet search for “egg yolk hair treatments” will provide more than enough recipes to get you started and see if it might work for you.

Hope this was egg-ducational,

Last updated Sep 09, 2016
Originally published Jun 07, 2013

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