Learning different ways to preserve eggs allows you to extend your pantry to feed your family for longer than a couple of weeks... Let me show you how:
Eggs are usually never a food associated with stocking up a pantry unless you're ready to invest in the #10 can dehydrated eggs. Unless you doctor those up, they aren't all that egg-septional to eat. When you have an overabundance of eggs from a new store sale, Easter clear outs (check out the sales cycle list here), or just not eating as quickly as your hens are producing, you need to find ways to preserve those eggs without wasting the poor chicken's hard work.
But you don't have to rely on simply hard boiling eggs as a snack when your family is feeling little peckish. You have a variety of ways to make eggs work for you beyond a quick scramble for dinner or egg salad forever. Let me help you hatch a few ideas to make your eggs work better for you!
Before we get started, let me tell you a little bit about where I am coming from with this article. I believe preserving covers more than just the raw material in its original form. There are other ways of preserving for use later, that may mean transforming the egg a little to make it more versatile in use. So let's look at all the ways you can preserve eggs to help extend your family's pantry!
How to Store Eggs
Before we start, if you have fresh farm eggs from your own chickens, you can just store them on the counter. The membrane coating on them called “bloom” keeps the egg naturally protected in the nest, and it works on your counter, too! Simply brush off any debris before placing on your counter. If it's any dirtier than that, follow these cleaning steps.
To me, this is the easiest way to preserve eggs. Little fuss or muss.
Ice Cube Tray Method to Freeze Eggs
- Crack eggs into bowl
- Lightly scramble
- Pour into ice cube trays. I'm loving these silicone ice cube trays I recently purchased from Amazon.
You will want to test out your particular ice cube trays to make sure that your conversion is correct. In a standard tray, 1 "cube" equals 1/4 cup of scramble equals 1 egg. However, ice cube trays are coming in all sorts of sizes and shapes these days, so test yours first to make sure it will fit. The silicone trays that I listed above only hold about 1/2 an egg per square - but I'm good with that* - I just make sure to label my zip-top bag with the equivalent measurement in the bag.
*Turns out, I wasn't good with only 1/2 egg. I switched to this silicone ice cube tray (in the photo above) and LOVE it. 1 cube = 2 eggs, but I generally do just 1 egg per cube now. It also works great for freezing herbs and more!
Muffin Tin Method to Freeze Eggs
Put your eggs into muffin tins!
- Crack eggs into a bowl;
- Lightly scramble;
- Pour into muffin tin trays.
This example is my smaller muffin tin which is 1 egg = 4 TB = 1 puck. However, if you have larger muffin tins, you may be able to do 2-3 eggs if that's a better number for you.
I freeze the trays, then double seal the egg pucks in zip-top bags (removing all of the air with a straw), and place in the freezer.
TIP: Just remember, while store-bought eggs may be listed as large, sizes and volume do still vary. I still use the 1 large egg = 4 TB rule to help me pour into molds. In general, it won't matter if you are a little off in your baking, unless you're working with an egg-specific dish, in which case I wouldn't use frozen eggs. These are more for quick scrambles, baking, etc.
This is one of those things that I have never done. I’ve never been comfortable with the process, never been assured how safe they are for the home (freeze-dried eggs are a whole different ball game), and just have never bothered to try. However, there are folks out there who have, and here are a couple that I trust enough to share their way with you:
The National Center for Home Food Preservation says:
"...eggs are not recommended for home drying because of the high risk of food poisoning. Commercially dried milk and egg products are processed rapidly at temperatures high enough to prevent bacterial contamination. Home dryers cannot duplicate this process, and the safety of home-dried milk and egg products cannot be guaranteed."National Center for Home Food Preservation
- How to Dehydrate Eggs (or not) by The Prairie Homestead
- How to Make Powdered Eggs by One Good Thing by Jillee
Now, the difference is…. dehydrating raw eggs vs dehydrating cooked eggs. With raw eggs, you have issues with where the eggs are sourced from, whether they are pasteurized or not, and the risk of salmonella poisoning, etc. You run less risk with cooked eggs, but they aren’t as versatile as doing raw eggs.
► Looking for a dehydrator or other tools that you might need? I've got a lot of recommendations here.
3. Mineral Oil Preserved Eggs
There was a way to preserve your farm fresh eggs if you coated them in food-grade mineral oil, put them back into a container and let them sit. Who knew it could be that easy? But does it work? Check out Jamie's year-long experiment to see.
However, you’ll want to read this information to see the ramifications of this method.
- Warm food-grade mineral oil slightly (you can pick it up from Amazon here. This is an affiliate link)
- Coat eggs in mineral oil
- Put egg pointy side down in carton
- Rotate monthly - flip the carton (not the eggs)
- Store for up to 9 months in cool (65-68F / 75%humidity), or in fridge for longer storage
Freeze Dry Eggs
Granted, to do this one, you're going to have to own a freeze dryer. But if you do, you can freeze dry both raw and cooked eggs.
"[...] raw eggs can be whisked, freeze-dried and kept in their powdered form to used in all baking and cooking recipes (2 tablespoons of egg powder equals one egg). Or, eggs can be freeze-dried in their scrambled state and easily re-hydrated with a little water in a hot skillet." Check out this post by Harvest Right on 4 unique foods you can freeze dry, which includes eggs!
Cook then Freeze Eggs
A great standby for almost any food is to cook it and freeze it so that it is ready to eat after a warm-up. This is a super easy way to preserve eggs and build your ready-to-eat stockpile for meal planning.
You can lightly scramble eggs and freeze them in serving-sized portions, then gently warm them up (slightly undercooking them will allow them to taste better one heated up). You can also create omelets, breakfast casseroles, and breakfast tacos, and egg muffins (try this tasty recipe from She's in Her Apron).
TIP: If you don't like how soggy tortillas can be after coming out from the freezer and microwaved, consider freezing only the 'guts' of your breakfast tacos, then adding a freshly toasted tortilla to the thawed mixture for breakfast tacos that are awesome!
6. Hard Boiled Eggs
While hard-boiled eggs aren't as versatile as frozen raw eggs, they are still good to have handy for
- Salads - just chop up and add to your salads
- Eating as protein shots
- Egg salad
- Deviled eggs (step up your game with these Fermented Jalapeno Deviled Eggs from Traditional Cooking School).
- 25 Ways to use up hard-boiled eggs
7. Water Glass Storage
I’m gonna put this caveat out there. If sodium silicate is so dangerous to mess with, I’m not really sure I want to preserve MY family’s eggs in it, but I know me and know how big of a klutz I am! Also, the price of the preservative is pretty hefty. Here is a version that is not already mixed with water, so you aren’t buying water. However, this method has been used a lot, and maybe the best idea for you.
8. Pickling Eggs
I’ll be really honest, I've been too chicken to try pickled eggs (I have a gross visual of the guy in Dances with Wolves digging into a jar full of pickled eggs. Besides, I’m not a fan of the taste of most pickled things. It’s something I need to overcome, but I’m not going to start with eggs, trust me!) BUT…it may be a preservation method that you’ll learn to love! Here are 4 ways to pickle eggs that you might want to try!
9. Salting Eggs
Preserving eggs in salt is a technique that comes from China that preserves eggs outside of the shell in salt to use for cooking methods later. You crack open an egg into salt, preserve it in layers of salt and wine and let it sit for months. It’s intriguing and I know there are people doing it in the food industry commercially for restaurants, etc. On Hunter, Angler Gardener, Cook, he does it with egg yolks and adds it to noodles. Here's another version on how to salt cure egg yolks. Will this work for you? You’ll have to decide and give it a try.
Even More Egg-tastic Egg Knowledge:
Learning to read the labels of any product in the store can be a little daunting. According to Alton Brown in a discussion on how the 'natural' and 'organic' labels often are very misleading, "As an example, a “free-range” label means that the poultry has access to the outdoors, but for no minimum time." Meaning a chicken producer could get away with opening the door for a brief period of time, and still get away with calling his chickens free-range, even though they may never have left cage area.
So remember, learn labels and what they actually mean! Become a more educated consumer. And whenever possible, buy locally from someone you know -- support a local, micro-economy!
Use Egg Substitutes for Baking
- Powdered Eggs – While powdered eggs may not be the best at replacing scrambled eggs in a meal, in a pinch they can. They’re best used to replace eggs in recipes where they can blend in with the local crowd. You can get them here on Amazon or try any of the other food storage companies like Auguson farms, EmergencyEssentials, etc.
- Flax Seed or Chia Seed – you can soak flax or chia seed in water to create a gelatinous ‘goo’ that is a good egg replacement, especially for baked goods.
Here are 50+ Ways to Use Eggs with The Prairie Homestead that can help you focus your recipes to using up your abundance of eggs.
Crossing the Road to Preserve Eggs
Hopefully, you'll forgive the fowl puns, but I just couldn't help myself!
Remember that in your quest to extend your food storage with eggs, find a technique that you're comfortable with, get some eggs stored. Some of the techniques listed here may be a little outside of your comfort zone, but they are methods that have been used for years by others. I happen to be partial to freezing eggs to make them most versatile for me in cooking and baking down the road, but I do have a stash of #10 cans of dehydrated eggs saved for a rainy day.
Do you have a way that you preserve eggs that I haven't listed? Which one do you think you might try? I'd love to hear your comments or maybe even join in our discussion here.