Weather events. Supply chain issues. Pandemics. Hackers. There are many reasons why someone would want to make sure that they have food stored. Within the past year we’ve seen all of these things happen around us making the store shelves empty quicker than they were able to get product in. I remember going to the store in the beginning of 2020, when the pandemic had just hit, and not even being able to buy oatmeal. It was so eye opening to me and inspired my goals toward bulk food storage. The other thing I did was learn more ways to be able to preserve food. One of the things that I decided to try most recently is waterglassing eggs for storage.
Egg Shelf Life
Eggs can last around a month on your counter if they are left unwashed. Once they are washed they should be put into the refrigerator and can last up to five weeks. If you think about it, that really isn’t a long shelf life at all. If you have a lot of eggs and a small family it may be difficult to get through all of those eggs before they go bad. Sure, you could try to sell them to get rid of them that way.
The other option that you have is to store them using a technique called waterglassing. Waterglassed eggs can last from 1 year to 18 months! Who would have thought there was a way to save eggs for an entire year! With that long of a shelf life that makes these a great candidate to add to your long term storage for any of those crazy events that may be listed above.
- Gallon Glass Jar (I get mine from Azure)
- Pickling Lime
- Fresh Eggs
This is actually a really simple process too. In fact, it’s much easier than any of the other food preservation that I do. Typically that involves a water bath or pressure canner and some extra time as well. For this method you need to first start with lime and water in your jar. The measurement to remember here is 2 TBSP of lime per each quart of water that you use. I like to start my jar with 1 quart of water and then continue to fill it from there. Once your jar has the first batch of water and lime in it you are ready to add eggs. As you get your eggs you can simply add them to the jar. Stack them carefully because if you just drop them in they will crack.
I suggest that you don’t put dirty eggs in your jar. I know sometimes that can be difficult because it seems like you are getting all dirty eggs but you don’t want your water to get gross. It’s important to remember that this jar is going to sit for up to a year so the poop or dirt on the eggs will be in the jar. I realize the shells are protective so ultimately the choice is up to you but it’s just something that I personally wouldn’t do.
You also should not wash your eggs first. You want the bloom to be on the eggs when they are put into the lime mixture. The bloom is the outermost covering on the egg. The hen puts this layer on right before she lays the egg. It’s just a little added protection for the egg but it can also be easily washed off. In fact, the reason eggs need to be refrigerated after washing is because they no longer have their bloom. For this reason the fresh eggs should be put directly into the jar without washing.
Other Egg Storage Options
The only other option that I know of for eggs is to freeze them. This would require cracking them out of the shell to be able to freeze them. Honestly, frozen eggs can be stored for approx. 10 years. I say approximately because once frozen they can last as long as you want them to, providing they stay frozen the entire time. Personally, I don’t love frozen eggs. It’s still worth keeping them if that is your only option. After all, in some sort of emergency a frozen egg is better than no food at all.
My sole reason for waterglassing eggs is because our chickens stop laying in the winter. If you are in a warmer climate you may not experience any sort of issue and your chickens may lay year round. In the north, where we are, the days get really short and really cold. I don’t like to supplement extra light for our birds either because I’ve found that it can lead to boredom and cannibalism. Now we are going to have eggs all winter long without having to buy them!
It’s always so embarrassing to have to go to the store as a chicken owner and also a little frustrating to feed them all winter with no reward. The eggs we store should be enough to get us through and remind us how valuable the birds are when it’s -10 outside and we are hauling water out to the coop in the cold.