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Food and Drink
August 05, 2010
Egg Storage & How To Preserve Eggs For the Long-Term

Eggs! I love eggs. My wife and I affectionately call them "eggies."  We usually eat eggs every weekend, and we cook with them in various ways.

Our first summer in Alaska (2011) will be the most difficult as we'll be building and preparing our home as well as getting stores of food ready for the winter.

We eventually want to get some chickens for meat and eggs and the poop they can spread around the homestead.  I'm not sure but we probably won't get any chickens until our 2nd or 3rd summer in Alaska.

So, egg storage is probably at the top of the "to preserve" list for future homesteaders like us.  Keep reading for the best long-term egg storage ideas:
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First, here are the possible ways we'll acquire eggs in Alaska before we start raising chickens on the ol' homestead:

Buy eggs from big named stores
Buy eggs from local farmer's markets or farms
Trade stuff with the neighbors in exchange for their chicken eggs
Buy dehydrated egg powder from online or off-line
Buy liquid egg substitutes - umm, fake eggs!

Since it might be more difficult to get fresh eggs during the snowy times, we want to have eggs available for omelets and baking.

Can eggs be frozen?

Yes and no. So here are the basic rules you can use for freezing your yummy eggs:
Freezing your eggs for long-term storage
Type of "egg" Refrigerator Freezer
Raw eggs in shell 3 to 5 weeks Do not freeze. Instead, beat yolks and whites together; then freeze.
Raw egg whites 2 to 4 days 12 months
Raw egg yolks 2 to 4 days Yolks do not freeze well.
Raw egg accidentally frozen in shell Use immediately after thawing. Keep frozen; then
refrigerate to thaw.
Hard-cooked eggs 1 week Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, liquid
10 days 12 months
Egg substitutes, liquid
3 days Do not freeze.
Egg substitutes, frozen
After thawing, 7 days or refer to “Use-By” date. 12 months
Egg substitutes, frozen
After thawing, 3 days or refer to “Use-By” date. Do not freeze.

I don't wanna freeze my real eggs or my fake eggs!  What can I do???

Here's where it gets interesting.  Many folks need raw eggs for cooking and baking.  So what are some possible ways to store eggs for several months?

Anything from completely covering the egg shells with fat to vaseline to paraffin to varnish are some possibilities.  Here's one easy way to store raw eggs for the long-term:

Water Glass

Here's what Wikipedia says
about water glass in regard to long-term egg storage:

"Sodium silicate was also used as an egg preservation agent in the early 20th century with large success. When fresh eggs are immersed in it, bacteria which cause the eggs to spoil are kept out and water is kept in. Eggs can be kept fresh using this method for up to nine months. When boiling eggs preserved this way, it is well advised to pin-prick the egg to allow steam to escape because the shell is no longer porous."

One online store says this 1 gallon bucket of water glass will preserve 50 dozen eggs.  It costs $19.95, so that comes out to about .39 cents a dozen.
Water glass can increase your egg storage time

Here's how "
The Boston Cooking School Cook Book" by Fannie Farmer instructs on how to preserve eggs for long-term storage with water glass:

Only use fresh eggs which have been wiped clean, but not washed
Mix eleven parts water with one part water glass in an earthenware crock
Place eggs in solution leaving about two inches of liquid above the eggs
One quart of water glass will treat about 16 dozen eggs
Cover crock and store in a cool, dry place
Mix one part water glass with ten parts cooled, boiled water
Pour into a large, stone crock
Wipe off fresh eggs with a flannel cloth
Place in solution (eggs should be covered with 2 iches of liquid on top)
Cover crock and store in a cool, dry place

I like the idea of having water glass (sodium silicate) in the house because it can be used for a lot of other different things: dilute water glass for use as a transparent sealer for cement or concrete floors, use full strength as an adhesive, dilute for general cleaning purposes.

What's another long-term egg storage idea?

Preservation With Limewater

Add 3 gallons of water in a bucket
Then dissolve 1 pound or 1 pint of salt in the water as well as...
1 quart of finely slaked lime (calcium hydroxide)
Stir the solution at frequent intervals for a day or two, and then allow the liquid to settle
Place the eggs in tall stone crocks or food-grade plastic containers with their pointed ends turned down, filling the receptacles to within a few inches of the top
Pour the clear limewater over the eggs so arranged, allowing it to rise an inch or two above the top layer
I'm not sure how many eggs can be done this way, so I'll have to get back to you on that
Any way, then stand the vessel in a cool place where the temperature will not exceed 50 degrees Fahrenheit
Eggs so treated will keep for at least 6 or 8 months
Eggs preserved this way might acquire a slight lime taste

I wanna keep my eggs for years!  Maybe my great, great, grand kids wanna eat my 100 year old century eggs.  Is this possible?

Here's a recipe I got from Wikipedia.  Enjoy the century egg!

Century Egg
The process starts with the infusion of three pounds of tea in boiling water
To the tea, three pounds of quicklime (or seven pounds when the operation is performed in winter)
Nine pounds of sea-salt,
Then seven pounds of wood ash from burned oak is mixed together into a smooth paste
While wearing gloves to prevent the lime corroding the skin, each egg is individually covered by hand
Each egg is then rolled in a mass of rice chaff to keep the eggs from adhering to one another
Finally, they are placed in cloth-covered jars or tightly woven baskets
In about three years, the mud slowly dries and hardens into a crust, and then the eggs are ready for consumption
Read more about the century egg at Wikipedia.

In conclusion, the homesteader has several options, but I personally think freezing eggs and using water glass (sodium silicate) are the best options.  It will sure be nice to eat some delicious eggies on a cold February morning in Alaska.

Some External Links:

Home Preservation of Eggs
Inexpensive, Non-Refrigerated Egg Storage
Storing Eggs

Sodium Silicate on Wikipedia
Sodium Silicate at Amazon

Sodium Silicate at Lehman's ($19.95 per gallon)
Calcium Hydroxide (pickling lime) at Amazon

Please leave a comment if you've ever experimented with long-term egg storage (either by freezing them or using water glass or by some other method).

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