How Long to Store Fresh Icing

I have spent a vast amount of time on the net, and also asked people personally, about how long icing stays fresh. The answers are everything between "a couple of days in the fridge" to "several weeks at room temperature". Which leaves me very confused - and still in lack for an answer.

 

Surely it depends on the recipe used, e.g. with fresh egg whites it seems to make sense to only store it a very short time and also chill it. Egg whites are a pretty sensitive ingredient after all. If powdered egg whites / meringue powder are used, and best also distilled water, what could possibly turn bad about it? Sugar is one of the oldest methods of making food long lasting after all. But still, several weeks without chilling? To be honest, I would have a weird feeling about this.

 

I personally store my icing (with powdered egg whites and boiled water) in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for a max of two weeks. Twice a month is tabula rasa time and all left over icing goes to the bin.

 

How long and where do you store your icing? Is there any scientific rule, anything proven, or is it just something decided by feel rather than rationality?

Original Post

I make my RI using meringue powder and it stays good in the fridge for weeks at a time - the longest I have had it in there is 3 I think and it tasted and performed as good as ever.  There is really nothing in there that will go bad since it is sugar, meringue powder, water, and flavoring.  I see no reason to throw it away!  I have read of people putting it in the freezer, too.

I use pasteurized egg whites and I keep it on the counter for a day or 2. If I need to store it longer than that I put it in the fridge or freezer. Between the pasteurization and the sugar it doesn't go bad. 

 

I try really hard to make only what I need, I really don't want to have leftovers. I find that the hardest part of decorating.

I make royal icing with fresh egg whites and icing sugar and nothing else. I started off keeping it in the fridge, but ran out of space so keep it now on the counter. At times, I have kept it for several weeks (for those cookies I think I will get to the next evening, or the next, or the next ...) and the only thing that has happened is that the icing separated and in the end starts crystallizing. We have made biscuits with it and no one has gotten sick so far. Admittedly, those were "play cookies" for my daughter to decorate, but they did get eaten. When I make biscuits for other people I do use fresh RI because I  don't want to take any risk.

Also with with keeping iced cookies (sealed) for weeks after I have no problem as I have sent them to Belgium and they got stuck in the post, but when they arrived they were still fine. 

And now I will cross my fingers that nothing happens with the next set of cookies!

 

I agree with Robin H that it is hard to figure out how much icing will be needed.

It has been interesting to watch what people say.  I use meringue powder and I feel the icing works the best the first day.  I will freeze icing and defrosted icing works better for flooding, but for me is a disaster for fine work.  But after watching and thinking about the posts I keep asking myself why am I keeping small amounts of icing.  the cost of the small amounts of icing is pennies.  This leads me back to something said at Cookiecon, that you shouldn't cut corners in decorating.  I know that when I cut corners is when something goes wrong and I don't get my best results and I'm disappointed in the final cookie.  So why save pennies of icing that my mess up my result.

Thanks for all your replies! I start to get the feeling that there is no absolute truth about icing *lol*

 

The comments here pretty much reflect what I have read elsewhere, the storage time seems to depend on intuition

 

Though I also find that for fine detailed work, for piping letters, etc., fresh icing works best. For flooding I can see no difference, only exception is when I use edible markers afterwards - the become kind of translucent when applied to older icing.

 

For the best before issue I'll take your word Liesbet, that even when fresh egg whites are used it keeps for almost ever. Which should be even more true when made with powdered or meringue powder.

laegwen    i think many use it until its gone       

i do     but sometimes i'll just toss it because of age    not that it isn't usable

i may be wrong but many rework the icing to restore it   

 

i thought about your post and kept going back to rework restore it    

my icing is over a week old         since no one is eating it it doesn't matter if its old   to me    lol             i rework rebeat   restore it       if i don't do that i just use it for flood     but not without stirring it in its container

 

i rebeat my week old icing     got it to consistency and was able to  pipe   words  lines   anything and everything

 

also    any icing    will separate    all it needs is reworked    (hopefully i'm not wrong)           btw  i've used fresh whites   and    pasteurized   whites       if i give away cookies   and using whites   i'll use pasteurized  

i mainly use  meringue powder though       

First time poster.  I have searched this site using all the key words I could think of and came up empty.  This was the closest to what I needed.  I also have trouble figuring out how much icing I will need for each group of cookies.  When I bake I use multiple cookie cutters so I have four or five different shapes that may not be for the same event.  When I make icing, using merengue powder, I make with two lbs of confectioners sugar.  My problem comes in when I don't have time to ice all of anything at one time.  I have leftover flood icing in my bottles, with color mixed in, that I want to continue to use until it is gone.  All that said, my question is with the flood icing color settling between uses.  Any ideas on an easy way to "remix" it in the bottle? I don't want to pour it into another container, mix, and put back into flooding bottle. I lose too much icing that way. I don't know of a stirring tool thin enough and long enough to be able to remix in the bottle.

Loco_Meow: I wrap my RI in cellophane squares, twist the ends and then put it right in the decorating bags, so it's very easy to massage the RI pouches to reincorporate the color back into the icing. You might give that a try instead of the bottles. There is also a good topic on storing icing on the discussion board that has good information on freezing RI. That's one way to save your leftover icing. That discussion also talks about other ways to store your RI. Hope that helps!

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