Why would you want to preserve eggs for future use? Well if you’ve noticed like many that the price of eggs keeps going up and you keep hearing about the avian flu on the news, you might consider buying some eggs for another day. Or maybe you have your own little backyard flock and are overwhelmed with the amount of eggs you’re currently getting. If you have chickens, you know that it can be feast or famine. We’re going to look at three common methods to preserve eggs starting with my favorite ending in my least favorite.
Water Glassing Eggs
Water glassing is actually an old tried and proven technique that people used to do to preserve their eggs through the winter prior to refrigeration. Here at Beyond Mere Survival, we have just begun using this technique over the other two options we will look at. Our research has indicated that many people are currently doing this and are having a lot of success with it. They’ve reported that the biggest issue is that not every single egg ‘survives’, and some people report that they think the yolks tend to be thinner than fresh from the hen eggs.
The process of water glassing is actually extremely easy, and the supplies needed are minimal.
- Hydrated lime
- Filtered water
- Farm fresh eggs
- A good grade bucket with secure lid or glass jars
About the supplies needed, any hydrated lime works. You can get the small bag of canning lime, or you can get a much larger bag of lime in the barnyard or gardening section. Make sure that it is fine powder though and not bigger chunks – lesson learned the hard way. As for filtered water, we’re looking for water that does not contain bleach or fluoride that often comes from your faucet in the city. Farm fresh eggs refers to eggs that are not from the store. This is very important! Eggs from the store are washed which removes that protective layer that comes right from the chicken. When the protective layer is removed, the egg becomes porous which can absorb bacteria as well as water. If you have your own chickens, choose the clean eggs, but if you purchase them from a local farmer make sure to ask him for clean but unwashed eggs.
The Process of Water Glassing Eggs:
The process is really quite easy. The ratio of water to lime varies from resources, but the majority says that for every quart of water, you want to use 1 oz of lime (1 oz is equivalent to two tablespoons). This is the ratio that we use.
Step One: Add one ounce of lime to a quart of water and whisk until completely mixed. The water will be cloudy.
Step Two: Try to add the eggs into the water small side down. As you place more and more eggs into the water, you can slowly try to arrange the eggs so they are pointed downward. There is debate as to whether or not this is important, but we’ve not seen any reports where the eggs are ruined if they’re not pointed downward.
Step Three: Cover your eggs with the top, place in a cool, dark location like a basement if possible, and wash your hands. Simple as that!
We continue to add eggs as we get them and add more water into our bucket as needed. Please know what that the lime will settle to the bottom. That’s okay and normal. Eggs can last a year in your container, possibly even 2 years. When you remove your eggs for eating, wash the lime off of the shell before cracking. If you get some lime into your food, it would not taste very good.
If you prefer to freeze eggs, there are several ways you can do it, but we’ve always chosen to crack the eggs 2 at a time into a bowl and whisk them. We then put them in storage zip bags and freeze them so they lay flat in the freezer. I would always know that each bag had two eggs in it. They thaw out fast, and being that they lay flat they don’t take up as much space as they could in the freezer. When thawed out, you can use them in baking or scramble them up. Although I have always appreciated this option, I don’t feel they’re quite as tasty and versatile as a “fresh” egg from the hydrated lime bucket. Also, if you do get a lot of eggs, they can start to take up quite a bit of space in your freezer, even if they are laying flat in bags.
The third option dehydrating eggs is my least favorite. It’s more work, uses electricity to prepare, and does not taste anywhere near as good as the other options. Plus, it’s more work for you when you’re ready to use them. On the positive side, it’s shelf stable and less heavy than water glassed eggs.
You can dehydrate eggs in a standard oven as well as a dehydrator. We have only used a dehydrator.
You can separate the whites and the yolks If you’d like. This will depend on how you plan to use the eggs once you reconstitute them. Regardless of whether they’re separated or whole, you will want to whisk your eggs prior to dehydrating. You can dehydrate cooked eggs or raw eggs.
Using a Dehydrator:
Make sure to use the tray when you’re dehydrating eggs in a dehydrator. Pour out the eggs evenly. If you’re using a cooked egg, spread them out evenly.
It can take about 8 to 12 hours to dehydrate your eggs. You’ll want to make sure they are completely dry before packaging.
Using a Standard Oven
If you’re cooking in an oven, preheat it to the lowest temperature, ideally 115° f. Do not coat your trays with any spray. You’ll want a baking sheet that has a rim. Pour or spread the egg evenly in a thin layer and bake until they are completely dried and brittle. This can take up to 12 hours as well.
When you are finished dehydrating your eggs, you can grind them up into powder and store in an air tight jar. Place the jar in a cool and dark location. When reconstituting, you will need to add almost an equal amount of water to powder. If you use raw eggs, please remember to cook them.
Each individual needs to decide what method would work best for them, and maybe even a combination of two or three of these methods would be ideal. Storing eggs long-term can be very easy and may be very important for your diet in the future.