Spring brings on the egg laying which can quickly lead to an abundance of fresh farm eggs. What methods work for fresh egg storage? One method called water glassing has been around since pioneer days and probably earlier. Is this method of fresh egg storage safe? Let me share with you what one of my friends learned using this method. Barbara Whitford Fox wrote the following guest post for this site. Barbara and her husband farm in Utah and she can be messaged through Facebook or Instagram.
Guest post by Barbara Whitford Fox
During the late fall and winter, our chickens don’t produce quite as many eggs as we would like. One of the things I love about the homesteading lifestyle is the self sufficiency. It bothers me when I have to buy eggs. Food preservation is a key aspect of homesteading and self sufficiency. I began to look at different ways to preserve eggs. Freezing eggs individually is one method. Dehydrating cooked eggs is another but the amount of work seemed daunting to me. Pickled eggs are also good but not for everyday. None of these methods gave me the fresh egg satisfaction that I was seeking.
Water Glassing for Fresh Egg Storage
In my research I learned about a way to preserve fresh eggs. There are numerous ways to get longer storage of fresh eggs. This method uses no electricity and no fancy equipment. The water glassing method was used in the 1800’s. Deciding I had only the risk of it not working and ending up with rotten eggs, I set up my experiment.
The following describes the method I used for water glassing fresh eggs storage. Here are the items you will need.
- three gallon food safe plastic bucket with a lid
- pickling lime-https://amzn.to/3mZAzxS (calcium hydroxide) often found where canning supplies are sold Other names may include slaked lime or hydrated lime.
- clean water. If your water is high in iron or other mineral content, you may want to purchase distilled water.
- scale for measuring the lime. (8 ounces of lime by weight for each quart of water)
- eggs! 7 or 8 dozen will fit in the bucket but you can preserve the amount you choose. Do not wash the eggs. Use eggs clean of dirt.
The bucket can be found in the paint department of home improvement or hardware stores. A large crock can also be used for water glassing fresh egg storage, but the crock will be heavy once filled.
Using the clean water, and weighed lime, stir to mix the two together and dissolve the lime. Some people suggested boiling the water before adding to the lime for easier dissolving. I used cold water and the lime never fully dissolved. Next time I will boil the water first. Cool the water to room temperature.
Collecting the Eggs to Preserve
You will want to use fresh eggs that you collected recently. (Within the past few days) Do not wash the eggs as that will allow the lime to seep into the eggs. Washing the eggs will remove the bloom on the egg that is added as the egg is laid. It protects the egg from bacteria. For this reason, do not use store purchased eggs for water glassing!
Start adding eggs to the bucket of lime water. As you add eggs, try putting them in pointy side down. When you add more eggs it’s easier to get them to stay that way! I ended up with about 80 eggs in a 3 gallon bucket. Honestly, I lost track of how many but this is a close estimate.
Did it Work as a Method of Fresh Egg Storage?
I began the experiment at the beginning of September. I left the eggs at room temperature until the middle of February. It was time to try the eggs. Did this fresh egg storage method work?
First, I broke a fresh egg from that day’s collection into a glass bowl. Taking a second glass bowl, I broke a water glassed egg into it. Side by side the eggs were identical. Both eggs smelled exactly the same. Now it was time for a taste test! The water glassed egg was dropped into the frying pan and a little salt and pepper added, just as I do with our fresh eggs. I took a bite. Amazing! It tasted just like the fresh eggs we had for breakfast that morning. Six months in the water glassing solution and the eggs are as fresh as they can be. I am super excited to have found and tested this method.
What You Need to Know…..
A few things you should know when you have your own water glassed eggs.
- If you are going to hard boil the water glassed eggs, first do a pin prick through the shell. After sitting in the water glassing solution, the egg shells are no longer porous, and will quickly pop when you start to boil or steam the eggs.
- Rinse the water glass preserved eggs well before use. The lime water will cause the eggs to curdle if it drips into the bowl of fresh egg.
- The eggs will feel very smooth when removed from the solution.
- Store the bucket or crock in a cool area of the house, out of direct sunlight. This is true of any preserved food.
The water glassing method is said to preserve fresh eggs storage for up to two years. I am not sure I want to do that. For our family, keeping the eggs fresh for six to eight months is plenty of time.
Editor note: The recommendation is to store and use the eggs within the same year. Older water glass preserved eggs can start to rot.
A Word About Using Lime
It isn’t expensive. If you’ve found yourself with quite a bit of lime left over after this process, you can use the lime in the creation of other pickled items. Although pickled eggs do not call for the use of pickling lime, here’s a tasty recipe for pickled eggs should you want more than one fresh egg storage idea.
If you are looking for a lime product specifically made and safe for chickens and livestock, look for First Saturday Lime.
I love the connection to the past that this method brings. I was talking to my father who is 84 years old. He remembers going into the pantry when he was young and getting eggs out of a big bucket of water. Of course he had no idea at the time that it was lime water. This was just how they preserved eggs on the farm. I love that we can use this method and bring back some of the old ways to our homestead.