You’ve made omelettes, egg salad, scrambled eggs, quiche, even your own mayonnaise! You’ve sold eggs, given excess eggs to family and neighbors…and still, you have an abundance of eggs! The refrigerator shelves are filling up and there isn’t room for much of anything else…what’s a backyard poultry raiser to do? And, hey, what about winter? Today the refrigerator is teeming with eggs, but will you have a supply of farm fresh eggs to sustain you through the winter months? I believe I have the perfect solution to your dilemma! You CAN store farm fresh eggs without refrigeration up to 6 months and more! I know, because I have done it with excellent results!
But first, let me regress just for a minute. If you are fortunate to be raising your own chickens and benefitting from their delicious eggs and have plenty of refrigerator space, great! Eggs will store in the refrigerator for many months. Or, if you are a breeder who “provides” artificial light during the shorter winter days so your chickens will continue to lay, fine. Personally, I have heard that chickens who lay all year round “burn out” quicker than those who are given a nice winter’s rest. And, due to the fact my family has limited solar power, we opt not to provide artificial light for our chickens during the winter months. Which, for my family was a dilemma since we really craved our own organic eggs during the winter. I say, “was a dilemma” until I came across an “old time” system of preserving eggs without refrigeration. This system requires the use of something called “water glass”. Water glass is a simple name for sodium silicate which is basically liquid glass. By diluting water glass with water and submersing your eggs into the solution, the water glass apparently seals the pores of the eggshell thus preventing oxygen to penetrate the egg. With oxygen unable to penetrate the egg, the egg is thus preserved…all without refrigeration!
I have used water glass for the past 2 years, and I am very pleased with the results! The eggs hold up very well for the first 4 months. Once the eggs hit the 4-5 month mark, I am careful to crack each egg individually and “smell”. If the egg gives off a sulfur smell, it is tossed. As time goes on, the whites of the eggs will get rather runny, but these eggs are still great tasting and perfect for scrambled eggs and cooking. This past year, we had our own egg supply throughout the winter and I only had to toss less than a dozen eggs! The trade-off was certainly worthwhile!
Here are a few steps I have gathered along the way to help you successfully preserve eggs without refrigeration:
1. When using water glass, use the freshest eggs on hand. Collect your eggs often so they do not get dirty and soiled! DO NOT WASH the eggs before putting them in the water glass solution! When laying, the hens provide a natural film of their own on the egg. If you wash the egg, you remove the film. If the egg is dirty, gently brush off the dirt or “poop”.
2. To dilute your water glass, use 11 parts water to 1 part water glass. It is recommended that you boil the water first, then let it cool, then add the water glass. I don’t know why…and I think I forgot that part last year, but it didn’t seem to affect the results adversely.
3. It is recommended you use a earthenware crock to store your eggs. I have used a crock and a 5 gallon bucket…both worked fine.
4. Leave at least 2 inches of liquid above your eggs so you ensure they are completely submerged.
5. Enjoy your own home grown eggs throughout the winter months! Save money and eat healthy!
I hope you have enjoyed this bit of information. If you would like to find out the best place to obtain water glass (and trust me, I looked high and low), please follow the links below.
C.L. Carr lives off the grid and enjoys a “homestead” type life. For more tips and information on food preservation, self-sufficiency, animal husbandry, please visit http://emergencyfoodpreservation.blogspot.com/ or http://survivalcentral.blogspot.com/
By C.L. Carr