Here at the Grace-Filled Homestead, I love teaching everyday people how they can raise chickens in urban neighborhoods or in their own backyard farms. Raising chickens is no longer just for the homesteaders. But once you get those chickens and they start laying, you can quickly get up to your eyeballs in farm-fresh eggs! So I will show you several methods to preserve eggs so you can save them for those times when your chickens are molting or laying less in the extreme summer or winter months. 

 

The Benefits of Farm-Fresh Eggs

Farm-fresh eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, E, and they are lower in cholesterol than store-bought eggs. When you buy eggs directly from local farmers or raise chickens in your backyard, you know you’re getting the freshest and healthiest eggs possible. Those hens get to roam freely, munch on nutritious foods, and soak up the sunshine – and that makes all the difference in the world. Once you’ve seen that deep yellow yoke from health eggs, you won’t want to go back!

The age of store-bought eggs might surprise you! From the farm to the distributor, to the grocery shelves, and finally to our homes, store-bought eggs can take weeks before they reach us. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still safe to eat. The Food and Drug Administration requires that eggs sold in stores be refrigerated and have an expiration date of no more than 45 days after they’re packed. But let’s be honest, it’s not quite the same as those rich, golden, just-laid eggs from the farm.

Let’s not forget about the storage and transportation process for store-bought eggs. During their processing journey, those eggs may encounter temperature fluctuations, which can affect their internal structure. Store-bought eggs can pick up unwanted odors from other items nearby, like onions or fish – not exactly what we want our eggs to taste like, right?!

How can we ensure we’re getting the freshest, most flavorful eggs possible? Raise your own backyard chickens if you have the space. By doing so, you’ll get eggs that are laid just a day or two before you enjoy them and that’s as fresh as it gets! As for those store-bought eggs, just check the FDA-mandated expiration date on the carton. It’s essential to keep an eye on that date to ensure you’re using them while they’re still at their best. 

 

Are Farm-Fresh Eggs Seasonal?

Like seasons of harvesting produce, there is a cycle to gathering farm-fresh eggs. There are times when you will have an abundance of eggs and want to preserve them for later use and there are other times (usually during the winter) when the hens slow down their laying and you’ll be thankful you’ve preserved your eggs.

Egg production can slow down during seasons of extreme temperatures. Extreme heat can cause your hen’s egg laying to slow down, but you can support them with ice treats and plenty of ventilation in the coop. In the winter the biggest thing that can slow egg production down is the decrease in sunlight. You can winterize the coop and add artificial light to give them a boost. 

There are other times though, especially when the daylight hours are long, that your chickens can give you so many eggs you feel like you’re drowning in them. Some breeds are much more productive than others as well! If you don’t have a farm stand or another method to sell your eggs, you’ll want a method to preserve your excess eggs to use during the winter months with their short days. 

 

Preservation Methods for Farm-Fresh Eggs

If you find yourself with an abundance of farm-fresh eggs there is a way to keep and preserve them. Here are 4 methods you can use to preserve your eggs. They all have their pros and cons, but my favorite is water glassing, so let’s start there. 

Method #1: Water Glassing Eggs

Water glassing, also known as water glass preservation or egg glassing, is a simple and effective method to preserve eggs using a solution of water glass (sodium silicate) or pickling lime and water. This method has been used since the early 1800s! Water glassing keeps eggs fresh for up to a year, and it is probably my favorite method I’ve tried.

You’ll need water glass solution (sodium silicate), filtered or distilled water, fresh and uncracked eggs, and a clean, airtight container with a lid or a food-grade bucket with a sealing lid. Instead of the water glass solution, we simply use pickling lime, so that’s a good option as well. 

Clean eggs are essential in this process. Make sure the eggs are clean and free from any dirt or debris. The eggs that you will be water glassing need to have the natural bloom coating still on them, and therefore, you can’t wash them before you put them in the pickling lime solution. Set aside the clean ones to water glass, and the dirtier ones, you can wash and store them like normal in your refrigerator. Avoid using eggs with cracks or damage, as these won’t preserve well and could ruin your whole batch.

Fill a clean container with enough water to cover your eggs but not overflow. Add 1 ounce of pickling lime per quart of water and whisk to dissolve the lime solution. It is normal for the lime to settle on the bottom. The lime solution forms a protective coating around the eggshells and prevents air and bacteria from entering and keeps the eggs fresh. Gently add the eggs with their pointy end down. You can fit approximately 16-18 eggs per half-gallon jar.

Once all the eggs are submerged, seal the container tightly with the lid. The airtight seal is crucial to the preservation process. Place the sealed container in a cool, dark place, such as a cellar or a refrigerator. The ideal temperature for storing water-glassed eggs is between 32°F to 45°F. Periodically check the eggs to make sure the water glass solution is still covering them. If you notice any evaporation or a drop in the solution level, add more of the diluted water glass to cover the eggs adequately. To keep track of the preservation time, label the container with the date the eggs were water-glassed.

When you’re ready to use the preserved eggs, carefully take them out of the solution, rinse them under cold water to remove any remaining water glass, and proceed with your desired recipes. They can be used in baking, cooking, or any dish that requires eggs. 

Water-glassing eggs is an excellent method for extending the shelf life of fresh eggs, especially for those with backyard chicken coops or access to farm-fresh eggs. It’s an age-old technique that has stood the test of time, and it’s still used by many people today to preserve their egg surplus. Water glassing may be an old-fashioned method, but it’s incredibly effective. 

Just imagine the joy of cracking open a preserved egg months later, and it’s as fresh as the day it was laid. You can use these eggs in any recipe that calls for fresh eggs, from fluffy scrambled eggs to mouthwatering cakes and cookies. It’s a game-changer for those of us who want to enjoy farm-fresh eggs all year round!

 

Method #2 Dehydrating Eggs

Dehydrated eggs are an incredible option for those who love backpacking, and camping, or simply want to experiment with egg powders in their recipes. This is very popular with my prepper friends. 

To start, you’ll need to whisk your eggs together in a bowl, just like you would if you were making scrambled eggs. Then, pour the mixture onto a dehydrator tray lined with parchment paper. Spread it out evenly to ensure uniform drying.

Set your dehydrator to about 135°F and let it work its magic for 6 to 12 hours. The time can vary depending on your dehydrator and the humidity in your area. Once the eggs are fully dried and crispy, grind them up into a fine powder using a blender or food processor.

Now, here’s a little pro tip that can be controversial: add a small oxygen absorber packet or vacuum seal your egg powder to keep it fresher for even longer. The last thing you want is to invest time and effort in dehydrating eggs, only to find them spoiled when you’re ready to use them.

Dehydrated eggs have many perks. They’re super convenient, lightweight, and have a long shelf life. Just think about all the outdoor adventures you can embark on without worrying about your eggs going bad! But it doesn’t stop there. Rehydrate the egg powder by adding water when you’re ready to cook, and it’ll be almost as good as fresh eggs. Use them in your baking, sauces, or even as a protein-packed addition to your smoothies!

 

Method #3 Freezing Eggs

Freezing eggs is a fantastic option for those who might not have enough eggs to water glass or who prefer to keep their egg yolks and whites separate. It’s a breeze to do, and you’ll have those eggs ready to whip up a delicious omelet or scramble at any time.

The key here is to crack those eggs open first. Grab an ice cube tray – one with compartments that will fit whole eggs – and gently pour each egg into its own slot. You can add a pinch of salt or sugar to the yolks to help preserve their quality. Once the eggs are safely tucked into their icy beds, pop the tray into the freezer.

You might be wondering, how long can you keep these frozen eggs? Well, the good news is that they can stay good for up to a year in the freezer! Just imagine the convenience of having eggs always on hand for those last-minute breakfasts or baking emergencies. Plus, you can label the tray with the date so you can keep track of its freshness.

The versatility of frozen eggs is remarkable. From frittatas and quiches to custards and pancakes, you can use frozen eggs in almost any recipe that requires eggs. They may not be suitable for dishes where you need a runny yolk, but for most other culinary adventures, frozen eggs have got your back!

 

Method #4 Freeze-drying Eggs

Freeze-drying chicken eggs is a process that removes moisture from the eggs while preserving their nutritional value and flavor. The resulting freeze-dried eggs can be stored for long periods and rehydrated when needed. This method can preserve the eggs for up to 20 years! That is double the average lifespan of a backyard chicken. I don’t personally have a freeze dryer, but I have a close friend and immediate family members that do and swear by it. I didn’t want to leave this option off the list, because it’s a really good one as well. Freeze drying is one of the healthiest food preservation methods because it maintains the majority of the nutrients.

Start by cracking the eggs into a bowl and gently beat them to ensure the yolks and whites are well mixed like preparing scrambled eggs. Line a freeze-drying tray with parchment paper. Pour the beaten eggs onto the tray and spread them out evenly to create a thin layer. The thinner the layer, the faster the freeze-drying process will be.

You can pre-freeze the eggs in a regular freezer first to help speed up the freeze-drying process later on. Once the eggs are pre-frozen, transfer the tray to a freeze-dryer. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific freeze-dryer model. Set the freeze dryer to the appropriate temperature and vacuum level for freeze-drying eggs.

The freeze dryer will slowly remove moisture from the frozen eggs through a process called sublimation. Water molecules in the eggs will transition directly from a solid (ice) to a gas (water vapor) without passing through a liquid phase. Depending on the quantity of eggs and your freeze-dryer’s capacity, the freeze-drying process can take several hours to a day or more. The freeze-dried eggs should be completely dry and brittle, with no visible moisture when done.

Once the eggs are freeze-dried, transfer them into airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags. Adding a small oxygen absorber packet can help extend their shelf life. When you’re ready to use the freeze-dried eggs, simply rehydrate them by adding water. The eggs will absorb the water and regain their original texture and taste, making them ready for cooking and baking.

Egg preservation isn’t just about keeping food from going to waste; it’s about savoring the taste of fresh eggs in every season. Why not try out one of these preservation techniques and have fun with your food? Whatever you do, don’t let them go to waste. 

Gathering your own eggs every morning, even in a small backyard, is fairly simple to do. If you’re ready to increase your food security by adding a feisty flock of backyard chickens, take our FREE Start Raising Chickens 4-day video course.

You can also purchase my comprehensive video course on all things backyard chickens: The Raising Chicken Course

Thanks for stopping by today. We are honored to have you join in the fun. Blessings to you my friend!

Lana XO

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