Preserving eggs for a longer time might sound like a difficult task if you’ve never done it before. But in reality, there are many easy techniques that can help you to do just that.
There are a lot of other methods that have historically been used to preserve fresh eggs. But they are not recommended or are challenging to achieve at home. Our modern understanding of food preservation means we have a much better idea of food safety. It is not a good idea to take any chances. If in doubt, err on the side of caution. But here are ten ways to preserve eggs without refrigeration that you might like to try:
Keep Eggs Cool in a Root Cellar
The simplest way to preserve eggs without a fridge is to find another way to keep them cool. A root cellar or cold storage area can allow you to provide cooler temperatures for egg storage without power.
Eggs laid by your own chickens can be kept for longer if you avoid washing them and keep their protective coating intact. Unwashed eggs should last in a root cellar or cold store for 2-3 months.
Of course, how long unwashed eggs will last outside a refrigerator will depend on the temperature and humidity levels you can achieve in your storage space. Ideally, you should aim for a temperature below 50 degrees F ( 10 degrees C.) and humidity of around 75%. Of course, maintaining these conditions can be much more challenging in warm and arid climate zones.
The reason that eggs will begin to spoil is that the outer coating will begin to dry out. Shells become more porous, and bacteria can get in.
Turning your stored eggs over regularly in their cool storage can also help to preserve them since it will stop the upper part of the shells from drying out so quickly.
Freeze Fresh Eggs
If you do not have refrigeration (or don’t want to use modern appliances), freezing fresh eggs may not be right for you. But if you have access to a freezer, then freezing eggs can be an excellent way to go.
You can freeze whole eggs or keep yolks and whites separate. Either way, it is best to scramble the eggs before you freeze them. Once thawed, three tablespoons of scrambled egg mix equal one fresh egg. Frozen eggs do not taste the same as fresh, but they will keep much longer, and you won’t notice the changes in texture and taste if you use the frozen egg in baking.
Freeze Baked Goods Containing Eggs
In my opinion, frozen eggs usually cannot provide the taste and texture of fresh eggs. Another thing to consider is that you can make baked goods containing your fresh eggs and freeze these instead. I prefer this option because the food comes out of the freezer with little alteration in taste.
Make cakes, brownies, muffins, and more to use up your glut. Then freeze them so you can bring them out as and when they are wanted. You can also freeze things like gnocchi (typically made with potatoes, flour, and eggs) for later use.
Preserve Eggs In Slack Lime
Many of the age-old suggestions for preserving fresh eggs involve coating them in different substances to slow down the process of the shells drying out and to give them a new protective coating.
Many different coatings have been suggested and tried – with variable results:
- mineral oil
- butter or lard
- sodium silicate
- isinglass (from the swim bladders of fish)
But one of the better options seems to be using slack lime (or lime hydrated with water). Slacked lime is still available at building supply stores, and mixing it with water gives a solution that can be used to coat the eggs without affecting their flavor or causing any negative health effects.
Preserve Eggs in Beeswax
Another way to coat the eggs and seal the pores on fresh eggs to preserve them longer and prevent spoilage is by coating them in wax. For a more eco-friendly and natural solution, I feel it is better to use beeswax rather than a paraffin wax for this purpose.
Eggs coated in lime water or beeswax should keep for several months. However, it would still be best to try to keep them in a root cellar or another cool space.
Make Dried Egg Pasta To Store
Another traditional way to preserve eggs is to dehydrate them. Dried egg powder can be used in a range of different ways and is certainly shelf-stable. Unfortunately, dehydrating eggs at home can be rather tricky. Those who have tried it often report greasy, grainy, unpleasant results.
If you have a freeze-drier, freeze-dried eggs can keep for years and years at room temperature. But freeze driers are expensive, and most of us don’t have one on hand.
One easier solution to use up and preserve your fresh eggs is to use them to make some shelf-stable dried egg pasta.
You can use up a lot of eggs, make a big batch, dry it, and store it in your pantry. In drier climates, you can air-dry your pasta. But it is best to use your oven or a dehydrator where there is higher humidity.
Salt Cure Egg Yolks
Fermented eggs can be created by salt curing. Hard-boiled eggs can be fermented in a saline brine along with a little sauerkraut juice or whey. But they are usually refrigerated to slow down the process and should usually be eaten within a couple of weeks.
Making salt-cured egg yolks, however, could be an interesting way to preserve fresh eggs – if only for 3-4 weeks. The salt-cured yolks can be grated and used as a parmesan substitute. Cure them in salt and sugar, and you can create something a little different that can be grated over salads or used to top a range of desserts.
Salt preserved whole eggs, which are then hard-boiled, are a traditional Chinese delicacy but are not always appealing to a western palate. But if you are looking for something different to do with your fresh eggs, salt-cured yolks could be an interesting thing to try.
Pickle Eggs In Vinegar
Pickled eggs are a love-it or hate-it type of food. But pickling eggs in a vinegar solution can allow you to preserve them, in theory, for up to around 3-4 months at cold temperatures.
Botulism is a risk with pickled eggs as the acidic vinegar may not entirely get to the heart of the eggs within it. So canning pickled eggs is not recommended. So it is best to eat them quite quickly. But there are plenty of recipes out there to consider.
Preserve Eggs in Alcohol
Vinegar is one substance typically used to preserve food, and alcohol is another. Another way to preserve your eggs is to use them to make egg nog or another traditional egg-based alcoholic drink. The key is to use a lot of alcohol, which will kill off bacteria and stop the fresh produce in the drink from going bad. But it is important to keep it in a cool place if you want to keep it for any length of time.
Make Curds For Canning
Eggs don’t usually work well for canning (unlike so many other products on a homestead). But one egg-based product that you can can is citrus curds. Lemon or lime curds are a delicious way to use up some of your fresh eggs. Without canning it, citrus curds will have to be used quite quickly. But canning means they can last for several months at least, and perhaps even up to a year or so. As long as you follow the correct canning procedure, this is a safe and sensible way to preserve some of your fresh eggs.
There are many ways to preserve fresh eggs. Considering the options above could help you find new ways to avoid waste and make the most of the eggs your chickens provide.