Eggnog is supposed to be a smooth and silky Christmas drink for enjoyment during the holiday season. Although not many things can ruin your eggnog mood, this can still happen if your eggnog curdles. So why did your eggnog curdle?
If your store-bought eggnog curdles, it is probably not safe, and you need to throw it out. Store-bought eggnog has the perfect smooth consistency, so if it curdles, it has probably gone bad. If your homemade eggnog curdles, the problem is most probably in the pasteurizing process or the mixing of the ingredients.
The curdling of the eggnog is never a good sign, and it can mean several things, so it doesn’t necessarily need to mean that your eggnog is no longer good for consumption. To prevent your eggnog from curdling, you must first know what causes it. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, I will discuss why eggnog curdles and how to fix this.
What Causes Eggnog to Curdle?
If your store-bought eggnog curdles, it is time to throw it out, as curdling means that it has gone or gone bad. Don’t let the “best by” date fool you; always keep your nose open, as the smell tells you a lot. Eggnog is highly perishable since it contains milk and eggs, and you need to be certain that it is ok before you drink it.
Therefore, curds in your store-bought eggnog are never a good sign. The store-bought eggnog is supposed to have a perfect consistency and be smooth and silky, so a curdled store-bought eggnog usually means that something is wrong. Don’t even try to fix a store-bought curdled and eggnog.
If your homemade eggnog curdles, that’s another story. This can happen either because the pasteurization process wasn’t entirely successful or because the ingredients in the eggnog haven’t homogenized well. Of course, homemade eggnog can curdle from going bad too.
The curdling in your homemade eggnog means that the fat and liquid in the milk have begun to separate. If the curdling is not due to spoiling, mixing the eggnog, warming it up, and adding some more milk to the mixture can fix the problem.
Your eggnog (store-bought or homemade) can also curdle if you warm it up. Warming up eggnog is pretty frequent, and doing it the wrong way can and will cause your eggnog to curdle. Therefore, be careful during the warming process and don’t keep the eggnog on the stove, microwave, or oven for too long.
How to Fix Lumpy Eggnog?
If your eggnog is lumpy due to improper cooking, not from spoilage, there are things you can do to salvage it. The salvaging methods are primarily mechanical, so besides adding more of the ingredients already in the eggnog, you should put some elbow grease to fix the eggnog consistency.
Warm It up
Warming up the eggnog will let the lumps melt or soften them up, so they are easier to break. See that your eggnog doesn’t boil and stir it at all times. Use a non-stick pan with a thick bottom, and don’t overfill it.
Melt some butter and add it to your eggnog. If your eggnog has been sitting in the fridge, let it warm up at room temperature before adding the butter. Make sure your eggnog isn’t cold when adding the butter, as that will only worsen things.
The butter will add fat and grease to the eggnog, making the lumps easier to break. Often, they disintegrate by themselves. Don’t go too far with the butter, and don’t add too much; start with one tbsp. And then mechanically break the lumps.
Adding more milk can help the already existing milk fat and liquid merge better and prevent the eggnog from becoming lumpier than it already is. However, adding more milk will improve the consistency of the eggnog, so if you want your eggnog thicker, you should opt for some of the other options.
This may seem a bit strange, but it works nevertheless. Rice has been known for its ability to break lumps, so instead of stirring harder, you can stir smarter and use rice to do the work for you. Add rice to your lumpy eggnog and stir vigorously.
The rice will successfully break even the tiniest lumps in your eggnog, leaving it smooth and silky as it is supposed to be. After you are done stirring with the rice, strain the eggnog to get the rice out of the mixture.
Strain the Eggnog
Straining the eggnog through gauze is a very effective method of getting rid of the lumps. However, this method only works if the lumps are grainy and in a large number; do not use this method for big lumps. Strain the eggnog through the gauze catching the small lumpy grains, making your eggnog smooth again.
Stirring is the simplest one of all the methods listed here. You simply break the lumps mechanically without modifying the composition of the eggnog. However, mechanically breaking the lumps isn’t always possible because lumps will likely be left in the eggnog.
The mechanical breaking of the lumps works only if the lumps are large. If the lumps are smaller, you must combine two or more methods listed here.