Preserving Fresh Eggs

By Kellene Bishop eggs As I’ve been writing and researching recipes for my Emergency Preparedness cookbook, I’ve had an aversion to using any of my recipes which include eggs except for baking recipes.  While you can use the old egg-substitute concoction of gelatin*, or dry packed eggs, these alternatives are really only good for baking.  Dog gone it.  I KNOW that I’m going to crave real eggs in the midst of a crisis.  So I wanted to figure out a way to preserve fresh eggs for me and my family.

(*Note: Egg substitute for use in baking—Before starting a recipe for cookies, cake, etc, combine 1 tsp. of unflavored gelatin with 3 tbsp. of cold water and 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. of boiling water.  This mixture will substitute for 1 egg in a baking recipe.)chicken

chickens

Raising Chickens for Eggs

Recently I noticed a solid movement of urban communities demanding that their city allow them to raise chickens on their lot for the purpose of having access to fresh eggs.  In fact there’s even an organization formed online that is booming with hundreds of thousands of members specifically to promote this cause.   Personally, I think that a city that would discourage independence of its citizens by forbidding a couple of backyard chickens is an enemy of freedom, but that’s just me.  However, recently a neighboring town just approved a few backyard chickens for residences, and my city is pushing for the same.  So I have hope that I will be raising a couple of chickens in my backyard soon.  (I never would have even entertained such a thought a few years ago.  I’m a far cry from a farmer or even a tomboy.  It’s obvious that I have come a long way in my journey of embracing of the idea that I really DO need to be prepared and as independent as possible.  So there’s hope for the rest of you. *wink*) OK.  So if I can raise the chicken, what good is it if I can’t consume the eggs everyday?  At some point I’ve got to find a way to preserve the eggs without poisoning my family, right?  I’m quite certain that families in “the olden days” had ways of doing so.  So off I went on a mission to discover exactly how this was done.  I’m excited with the information I found and thought I’d pass it on to you.

Here are the basics of preserving eggs:

  1. Be sure to use only fresh eggs.  If any decomposition occurs, you will be unsuccessful.  Also exposure to extreme heat or cold will hinder your preservation process.
  2. eggsYou can use an oil as well, but the oil can go rancid… not exactly what I would want on my eggs.
  3. Store the eggs in a finely ground preservative such as salt, bran, or an equal mix of finely ground charcoal and dry bran or finely ground oats.  You can also store them in finely ground plaster of Paris, but that’s not exactly something that I plan on having on hand regularly.  You can store the eggs layer upon layer, so long as you they don’t touch each other, metal, or wood.  Be sure you have enough finely ground preservative to pack them in.  (You can feed the salt and bran to the cattle afterwards.)
  4. Store the eggs small side down.
  5. Store the eggs in a covered container and keep in a cool, dry place.  You don’t want to store them in freezing temperatures.
  6. Eggs will keep “fresh” for up to 9 months.  In fact, some countries are known to have stored their eggs like this for up to 2 years.

I’ve also read of preserving eggs by placing them in boiling water for 5 to 20 seconds.  I don’t recommend this way as even though they will keep, the texture of the egg is altered a bit from what I want to see when I fry an egg.  And even then they subsequently need to be stored in the salt, etc.  So I see no reason for this particular extra step that would alter the texture. I’m so relieved knowing that this “foodie” doesn’t have to go without her fresh eggs even in a time of crisis now!  Yippee!

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Comments

I used that site to check my local laws, which apparently have changed recently. Now Houstonians need to get a note from their doctor to have chickens:

"written certification from a licensed physician that in the opinion of such physician the applicant has need of fresh unfertilized chicken eggs for serious reasons pertaining to said person's health."

Then we'd need to be inspected before obtaining a permit.

Kellene,
What a treat to find your site! Thanks for stopping by mine so I could find you. I never knew about this way to preserve eggs... fascinating and useful, thanks! No matter how you save or preserve them (or don't in my case but still wait a long while before using them), here's a trick for testing eggs before use to make sure they are not "bad." Put the egg or eggs in a pan of cool water. Any eggs that pop to the top are bad - remember, the gas of spoiled eggs is what makes them rise in the water. The good eggs will stay flat in the bottom. Any eggs that raise part way up, I tend to feed those to the dogs...
Best,
Gin

I'd say it's worth the doctors trip. If there's a doctor that's worth his salt, he'd agree that chickens and egg without pesticides, etc is better for you!

Wow! This information, and the information in the comments about testing eggs to see if they are still good, are going in my emergency notebook so that in the event that I can use it, I will have it. Thanks for finding the info and then sharing it!

ditto on that. thanks so much for this post:) love your tips. do lots of writing to go in my book.

(I personally LOVE the Mother Earth News.)Here's something interesting. In Swizterland, they did a farming study in which some farmers were keeping eggs for TWO years! (I'm still scratching my head wondering why it took them so long to eat their eggs, and I'm hoping that they didn't try to sell them after a long storage time.)

Heh. Stupid HOA gets mad at us for having the GARAGE DOOR open (only allowed for egress or ingress of vehicles; children, bikes, and skateboards don't count)

And our landlords wonder why we aren't interesting in buying this house from them...

We are thinking about rabbits, which are allowed... but no eggs there! I did tell the children if we get rabbits, they're going to have to name them Pork Chop and Chicken Wing, cuz they'll be food.

Just so a search on this blog for preserving eggs...specifically it's in the article "10 Things I Wish I Had Known." I use just mineral oil and put them back in the carton they came in.

I just had an idea: What do you think about coating the egg with cheese wax? Then you wouldn't need vasoline or oil.

Yes, you can do that just fine. Here's why I don't though. A)too much more time and energy required. B) Cheese wax is much more expensive C) I use the eggs much more often than the cheese thus removing the wax from teh eggs is more arduous. D) Removing the wax from the eggs and then recycling it for more is very challenging.
By the way, the only reason why I know all of this is because I once had an "idea" much like yours. *wink*

1. What do you think of coating the eggs with Vaseline? (I read that somewhere.)
2. I can see how a lubricant covering would block air from entering the eggs. How does placing the eggs in salt or bran, etc. block the air?
Thanks Kellen. (All)Your posts are spot on!

Yes, you can use vaseline. I tried that method as well. It works fine. Again though, I find the mineral oil easier to slather on the egg, less mess when I use the egg and less mess when I store them.
The bran gives them a cool air flow and mimicks hay as well--the method that folks used to use when storing eggs long term to keep them cool. Vaseline and bran don't mix so well if you're planning on using the bran.
If you read my 10 Things I Wish I had Known, you'll see that I've come to "see the light" when it comes to using the mineral oil. I use that almost exclusively now.

So, do you use mineral oil AND salt (or whatever) to pack them in?or do you use one or the other. I have chickens, but I would like to preserve extra eggs...

Mum mentioned to me the other day they used to preserve their eggs using water glass (sodium silicate). And this was only in the last 40-50 years. I have no idea if it's still available but it's interesting to think how quickly things change - this was common practice a generation or two ago & now is almost unheard of.

I have successfully preserved my home grown eggs in waterglass for many years now.. They last well over a year. I use a crock with a 10% waterglass/water ratio. Do not prewash the eggs, but place perfectly clean gently wiped eggs in the solution. Keep the crock in a cool dark location. I use my basement. Just take the number of eggs out that you need, give a quick rinse and they're ready to use!

Oh, I forgot to tell you where I GOT the waterglass! At Lehman's of Kidron Ohio. Great mail order service there!

I thought I saw somewhere that you indicated your could easily preserve eggs coated in mineral oil in their styrofoam or cardboard containers. However, I can't find the article - help!
Thanks so much for your wonderful site. Also, If I wax cheese, can I alternately layer them in an open 5 gallon bucket and store them in my basement safely? Do I need to flip them over or keep them from touching like with parchment or something? Would love to see a photo of how you store your waxed cheese. :)

I beleive that was on Doomsday Preppers on National Geographic Chanel at least where I've seen it recently mentioned.

Of course if you get country fresh eggs (not store bought) they can set around in normal tempature for 9 months easy (not sure how long they last in 100 degree weather)

Hi,
This is such great information from everybody. We have been keeping chickens for 2 years now. When we have too many eggs, we sell them at church. But we will be getting more chickens and I want to make sure our family is covered first before selling them. It is great to see the different personalities of the different breeds of chickens. They are a lot of fun!

Love all your info and your perspective on being prepared. I agree 100%! Wondering if I try this way to preserve fresh eggs with salt, if I could reuse the salt over and over again? I don't see why not.... But I'm no expert. Thanks!

since the shells are technically non-porous, I wouldn't try it with salt. It won't serve the purpose that mineral oil does. Besides, the mineral oil is cheap and a little bottle goes a long, long way.

I have had to start a notebook with all the information I am learning about! You are awesome Kellene and those who post here are awesome as well and ask the questions I am asking!

So excited to find you! Do you oil eggs, put back in cartons, and THEN put in bran or salt?

Wow what good information. I just found your website and will be a regular reader now. I'm definitely going to try the mineral oil for eggs. Thank you for a great post.

If they are fresh eggs that haven't been washed, is there a need to coat them with mineral oil? Wouldn't they still have their natural coating?

Yes, you most certainly CAN use this method on eggs which have already been refrigerated. Stick with what I specifically write and you'll be fine. I'd have to eliminate half of the comments if I deleted every one of them that was mistaken. However, you should know that I only use Waterglass/sodium silicate now instead of mineral oil because it's not a petroleum product.
The time to put the mineral oil on the eggs is when you first purchase them and the whole reason to preserve the eggs NOW is so that you don't have to take up refrigerator space.

Okay, I've read through the article and the comments, but I'm still unsure of something. Can I buy eggs that have been refrigerated at the grocery store and then use the mineral oil for long term storage? One comment said no, can't shelf-store an egg once it has been in a refrigerator, but another post discussed buying eggs for sale at walmart and doing this, and I know they will be stored in the frig at wallyworld. I have my mineral oil and have room in my frig for six dozen eggs, so I was planning on just keeping them there and then if the power goes out, put the mineral oil on and store them. Will this work?

So I can put mineral oil on my fresh eggs as long as they havent been wash. At what temperature should the room be?

Thank you,
Kellie

They can be washed. There are other articles that expound on this method too. Best storage conditions though is cool, (less then 70 degrees), dry, and dark.

Ashes is one of the many ways

Ashes is one of the many ways that folks used to store eggs, however, they won't store as long though. Sawdust is another way as well. These are both alternatives to mineral oil. I find that the oil is the method that is easiest and more realistic for me to use, though nowadays I use jojoba oil instead of mineral for health purposes.

Read that eggs that you buy

Read that eggs that you buy in the groceries refrigerated section have already been washed. With that, the original nature-made protective coating is lost. That's why it's best to get eggs before they ever get refrigerated. Then I suppose storing them in salt is probably best. That coating is like a water-proofing, so I bet oiling them is unnecessary.

3 reasons why I'm not sure if

3 reasons why I'm not sure if you read the article... 1) nowhere do we mention keeping the bloom ON the eggs. Yes, they have been washed an refrigerated at the store, but I don't' suggest anything on here that I haven't already tried or have been doing for a long time. 2) Even fresh eggs that I purchase have the bloom washed off. The bloom naturally expires after about 10 days anyway, so when you're talking about keeping eggs for 9 months, the bloom is irrelevant. 3) "Storing them in salt" is NOT the best. The measures I've suggested are the most tried and true methods, many of which are STILL in practice in 1st world nations that don't have a government that puts its nose into matters that they have no business or authorization to do, and definitely are those which have been practiced for centuries.

3 reasons why I'm not sure if

3 reasons why I'm not sure if you read the article... 1) nowhere do we mention keeping the bloom ON the eggs. Yes, they have been washed an refrigerated at the store, but I don't' suggest anything on here that I haven't already tried or have been doing for a long time. 2) Even fresh eggs that I purchase have the bloom washed off. The bloom naturally expires after about 10 days anyway, so when you're talking about keeping eggs for 9 months, the bloom is irrelevant. 3) "Storing them in salt" is NOT the best. Oiling is best because only OIL can fill in all of the micro sized pores in the egg shell. Salt, of course cannot do that. The measures I've suggested are the most tried and true methods, many of which are STILL in practice in 1st world nations that don't have a government that puts its nose into matters that they have no business or authorization to do, and definitely are those which have been practiced for centuries.

3 reasons why I'm not sure if

3 reasons why I'm not sure if you read the article...

1) nowhere do we mention keeping the bloom ON the eggs. Yes, they have been washed an refrigerated at the store, but I don't' suggest anything on here that I haven't already tried or have been doing for a long time.

2) Even fresh eggs that I purchase have the bloom washed off. The bloom naturally expires after about 10 days anyway, so when you're talking about keeping eggs for 9 months, the bloom is irrelevant.

3) "Storing them in salt" is NOT the best. Oiling is best because only OIL can fill in all of the micro sized pores in the egg shell. Salt, of course cannot do that. The measures I've suggested are the most tried and true methods, many of which are STILL in practice in 1st world nations that don't have a government that puts its nose into matters that they have no business or authorization to do, and definitely are those which have been practiced for centuries.

I just found you site, LOVE

I just found you site, LOVE it! I am just confused, have searched through these comments and the different posts, after all the years of preserving eggs, which is it that you would recommend today. I found different things you recommended on different years.
Sept 2009 Mineral Oil
Dec 2012 Sodium Silicate
Aug 2014 Coconut oil or Jojoba oil
Did you try the coconut oil? did you find it to work as well as other oils? And from this post I can not quite understand how exactly to store in salt or bran?
Thanks for any clarification you can give me! I really want to start this!

ALL choices are viable. I

ALL choices are viable. I prefer sodium silicate or jojoba oil now as they've altered the chemical makeup of the mineral oil and the fact that I actually am better informed about the use of petroleum products which mineral oil is.

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