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Uncooked Eggnog - Safe?

Hi all,

I'm making eggnog for a holiday party tomorrow, and I'm just feeling a little unsure about the whole raw egg thing. I know there are plenty of recipes out there that solve the problem by suggesting making a custard base first (heating the egg mixture up to 160 degrees). I'll probably end up doing this, but the non-cooked kind holds more appeal for me. If I weren't serving it to guests, I'd just chance it and do it uncooked. I guess my questions is: in this day and age, if I buy fresh responsibly raised eggs (veg feed, no antibiotics, cage free, etc), is there reason to worry? Can I do it uncooked?

I've seen some folks refer to pasteurized whole eggs, but damned if I can find them here in Boston. That, obviously, would solve all the problems. The only pasteurized products I can find are the liquid eggs in cartons, which seems like not what you want for eggnog.

Your wisdom is appreciated.

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  1. I've made both regular eggnog and rompope (Mexican eggnog) yearly and have never had a problem with using raw eggs. I think it depends on the crowd, some people are squeamish about that sort of thing, though a great homemade eggnog usually wins them over.

    Also made with raw eggs, this year will be my first time making Tom & Jerry's - I'm hoping they'll be as good as those served at No 9.

    1. I've made eggnog from raw eggs since the 70s and never had a problem. Don't know if the large amount of alcohol in it helps! When we were kids, we loved to make eggnog for us and our friends in the blender (no alcohol except vanilla extract) and no one ever got sick either. Now that everyone's so paranoid (including me), I take the eggs and put them in a bowl of water with a small dash of bleach for a minute or two, then wash off, just in case. I've used pastuerized eggs, it's not a big difference, but doesn't whip up quite as high. They do come in a milk carton, that's probably what you've seen.

      1. Some tips on this:
        1) Tell your guests. Anyone who is pregnant or who might have a weak immune system should not eat raw eggs - ever.

        2) Use freshly purchased eggs (within a couple of days) and do not use any that might have been in contact with a broken egg just to be sure.

        IMO there is nothing more delicious that "real" egg nog. I will definitely make it this and every Christmas!!

        1. You can find cartons of pasteurized eggs in the dairy section of the grocery store. Whole Foods/Wild Oats carries them.

          Regarding using raw eggs, note that people with a compromised or weakened immune system may want to partake, but it could be problematic. The question is - do you want to take the risk, no matter how much you clean the egg shell. It is not just what is on the outside, its the raw egg itself, particularly if the concoction is presented in a punch bowl and left on a table without proper temperature management.

          1. I make eggnog w/ raw eggs every year and noone has gotten sick -- though plenty have gotten looped :-) I use very fresh eggs from humanely raised hens from my local food coop.

            I would tell people it's made w/ raw eggs so those who are pregant or think they may be, can steer clear (and hopefully pregnant women won't be dipping into THIS punch bowl!)

            here's what I get raves out:
            http://www.epicurious.com/drinking/dr...