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April 9, 2018

6 Ways to Preserve a Surplus of Spring Eggs


6 ways to preserve a surplus of spring eggs

While my two-year-old hens took a break over the winter, the six young Rhode Island red pullets began laying in the fall and continued to supply us with eggs all winter long. As soon as the days began to lengthen in spring, the older gals also resumed laying and soon we were overrun with eggs. I mean, the 8-12 eggs-per-day kind of overrun. For two people.

And while I use a lot of eggs during the spring, I still have more than several dozen eggs in the refrigerator. Lots more.

I've tried selling them - in our state it's legal to sell eggs from the farm, but the buyer must come to our home to purchase them. I only have one occasional customer, a neighbor who no longer has chickens of her own. We still have a whole lot of eggs.

What do you do when you're overrun with eggs? There are several accepted methods of "preserving" eggs and I've tried nearly all of them.

Before trying any of these methods, do the "float test" to weed out the too-old eggs. Put eggs one at a time in a deep pan of water. If an egg lays on the bottom of the pan it is a good, fresh egg. If one end stands up in the water but the other end is still on the bottom of the pan, it is not as fresh but still good. If the egg floats on top of the water, get rid of it - very carefully!

6 ways to preserve eggs


Refrigeration

Eggs are laid with a natural coating on them which is called "bloom." The bloom seals the shells and keeps bacteria from entering the eggshell through the pores. As long as you don't wash the bloom off the eggs, they will keep quite well in the refrigerator. (Of course, if an egg has a crack it should be discarded; cracks allow bacteria inside the egg.)

By the way, the eggs that you buy at the grocery store are already 4-6 weeks old. I'm sure you know from experience that you can keep a carton of store-bought eggs for quite some time after you bring them home.

6 ways to preserve eggs


Pickled eggs

Hubby suggested making pickled eggs, thinking that they could be canned and the eggs would last longer. I've looked into recipes and methods, but even if you can them after pickling, they only keep for a few months. Since neither of us has ever tried a pickled egg and they don't sound very appealing to me I'm not even going to try, but if you want to give it a go you might want to try this recipe.


Dehydrated eggs

I've read about dehydrating eggs. I've been told repeatedly that it's not safe to dehydrate them at home - that the eggs don't get hot enough to kill any bacteria. But I tried it anyway, stirring up a few fresh eggs and spreading them on the plastic dehydrator sheet that's meant to be used for making fruit roll-ups. It took a really long time to dry the eggs, and they were oily when they were "done" so I wasn't entirely sure that they were dry enough to store. I decided I wasn't going to use this method, but if you want to give it a try, here are directions to safely dehydrate eggs.

6 ways to preserve eggs


Freezing eggs #1

Eggs can be frozen. And while the freezer isn't my first choice for keeping anything (every winter some place in Oklahoma is without power for days or even weeks, it seems, from an ice storm or blizzard or some other disaster), some things are best kept there.

Break a dozen eggs into a mixing bowl. whisk them very well and add 1/4 tsp of salt to each dozen (not to each egg). Fill ice cube trays with the whisked eggs and freeze them, then pop them out and store in a gallon-size zip bag in the freezer. The main downside to using ice cube trays is that one egg equals more than one cube, so figuring out how many you need for a recipe is a bit of a guess.

When ready to use them, let the egg-cubes thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then add to your recipe or make an omelet or scrambled eggs. If you know you'll be using them in a baking recipe, you might want to add 1/4 tsp sugar instead of salt.


Freezing eggs #2

A friend of mine says she freezes eggs whole in the shell. She places washed eggs in zippered bags and puts them right in the freezer. When she needs an egg or two, she removes as many as she needs, runs them under warm water, removes the shells and places the eggs in a bowl to thaw. She says it usually takes 15-30 minutes to thaw on the counter, or a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

I thought I'd give it a try. I was convinced that the eggs would crack in the freezer, make a mess and be unusable, but I could spare a few considering I was overrun. So I washed half a dozen eggs and put them in the freezer in a zip-top bag, labeled with the date.

6 ways to preserve eggs

The next day I checked them out. Yes, they had cracked, but evidently the egg inside was already frozen when that happened so there was no mess.

It was easy to peel one of the eggs after letting hot tap water run over it for a few minutes. It's a strange feeling to hold a shell-less, raw egg in your hand, still holding its frozen whole-egg shape. I put the egg in a bowl and stuck it in the refrigerator to thaw. By the next morning it was thawed and ready to use. The yolk stood tall just like a fresh egg should. I used it in a batch of cookies.

If you have room in your freezer, this is a viable method of preserving eggs. It's less time-consuming than freezing them in ice cube trays, and you aren't limited by the number of ice cube trays you might have - I have four ice cube trays but it's never enough for whatever I'm freezing.

Frozen eggs should be used within a few months, so it's not a long-term solution. Because our glut of eggs happens in spring, the frozen eggs would be past their prime use by the following winter when eggs are scarce.

6 ways to preserve eggs


Coating eggs with oil

This quick, easy and simple method has become my go-to way to keep eggs fresh longer in the refrigerator.

Pour a small amount of oil in your hand and roll the dry eggs around until it's completely coated with the oil. Set the egg on a kitchen towel while you coat the rest of the day's eggs - don't set them back in an egg carton yet, as the oil will make them stick to the carton. Then polish the eggs with another clean towel to remove excess oil. The oil seals the pores and keeps air and bacteria from penetrating the shells, keeping the eggs fresh longer.

I use cooking oil, but some people recommend using mineral oil. I haven't read anything against using cooking oil so I plan to stick with what works for me. The eggs last a good number of months in the refrigerator. I use eggs sparingly during the winter, rationing them so I won't run out, and now I usually have enough to get us through till spring.


6 ways to preserve a surplus of spring eggs


How do you preserve eggs when they're plentiful?


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16 comments:

  1. Love the ice cube egg idea... now to find an ice cube tray that truly is "egg size"! Thanks Kathi!

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    1. Let me know if you find one!

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  2. I've never heard of using oil before. Interesting! I'd really like to try the "water glass" method, since it doesn't require a refrigerator, but, we'll see. It's sold as a "concrete sealer" but is a chemical called sodium silicate.

    https://www.lehmans.com/product/water-glass-liquid-sodium-silicate/
    https://www.britannica.com/science/water-glass

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    1. Thank you for the info on that, Danielle. I had no luck finding "water glass" when I was looking!

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  3. Thanks for the tips, Kathi! Hopefully I will have a surplus of eggs again someday. :)

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    1. I hope you do too, Lisa.

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  4. We don't wash our eggs because of the bloom. You don't have to store them in the refrigerator. In Europe you will not find eggs refrigerated. They don't wash the bloom off. Found you on Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

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    1. I don't wash most of our eggs, but when I'm so inundated with them I do want to preserve them in some way, and that means washing, oiling, and refrigerating. :-)

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    2. Diane9:05 AM

      Do you wash before oiling?

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    3. Diane, if the eggs are clean it isn't necessary. No matter how often I add straw or shavings to the nest boxes, my girls aren't very good housekeepers and their eggs aren't as clean as I'd like. I do wash the eggs before I oil them.

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    4. Anonymous6:12 PM

      I'm guessing that those in Europe use what they have every day. So leaving them on the counter is OK. But what about when, like in this post, you have a dozen or so every day? You can't really leave them all out on the counter for weeks? Just would like to know, how many eggs are left out and how soon they are consumed in Europe.
      Carol L

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    5. That's my guess too, Carol. Maybe they have more restraint than I do and don't have more chickens than they need. :-)

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  5. I too am over-run with eggs right now! I can sell them in my area, but EVERYONE sells them, which can make it a bit of a challenge. I was worried about freezing them whole because, like you I thought there would be a huge mess. I will definitely have to try it this fall before my girls egg production drops off. My in-laws used to season and scramble a bunch of eggs, put them in a gallon freezer bag, freeze and take them camping. Worked well and saved them space and they didn't have to worry about eggs breaking in the cooler. Thanks for all the great tips!

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    1. You're welcome, Jessie. Scrambling them and then freezing is interesting!

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  6. Kathi, I had no idea there were so many ways to preserve eggs! I had heard you could freeze the whites separately but not much else. Love these ideas. Although I don't keep chickens, I sometimes over-buy by mistake so these ideas will definitely come in handy. I'm featuring this post at the Hearth and Soul Link party this week. Thank you so much for sharing it! Have a lovely week!

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    1. They all work on store-bought eggs too, April. :-) Thank you for featuring the post this week.

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